Sometimes When You Grieve, It’s a Purple Day

Last night I had another dream about Anthony, but this time I knew it was a dream and that my son is dead and that I had only a little time with him. We talked about all kinds of things. I asked him if he was ok and he said, “I’m Gucci,” which is slang for “I’m good.” And he smiled at me. I woke up crying because I tried so hard to stay asleep to have as much time with him as I could.

So because of that, I didn’t play music while taking my daughter Flea to school. Instead I let her talk my face off and I soaked in every second with her.

The Truth About Grief

The truth about grief: you just wake up sometimes and it’s a purple day. My therapist and I came up with that label for my bad grief days, because I often feel bad for having them, which leads to ignoring my feelings. Saying “It’s a purple day” helps me with that.

Anyway. I’m happy, I’ve had a great week, my three youngest kids make my life amazing, and I am grateful for everything I have. But still, grief is taking this day. I miss Anthony. I have cried off and on since I woke up. I will probably cry all day. I sense the hole in my day where he should be.

And I’m supposed to be on the radio this afternoon. Grief is unpredictable and it threatens to take you all the way out when it hits like this. This is level ten purple.

I don’t think people realize what it is like to function at level ten purple. What people see is me drinking this latte, typing on my phone, and reading this status, but on the inside I am on my knees next to my son’s dead body screaming for him to please come back to me. That moment is what I’m living on the inside even while on the outside I’m ordering lattes and reading a book.

This is why we have to be kind to people. We never know who is inwardly living the worst moment of their life, who’s at level ten purple, even if what we see is a person just doing normal life things.

On level ten purple days, I always ask: Who needs prayers? I’ve got to offer some of this up.


Leticia Adams is a writer living in Texas. Her personal website is Leticia Ochoa Adams and her Patheos blog Through Broken Roses. She is working to create the Red Door Foundation and writing a memoir about her life and how she found healing through therapy and Catholicism even as things kept crashing down in her life. Her previous article is My Son’s Grave Reminds Me

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