The Fickle Beast Grief

Grief. It’s a fickle beast who shows up when least expected, catching us completely off guard. Today was just such a day.

Jerry and I have been arguing for three straight days over the silliest of things. It’s unusual for us and it has been exhausting walking around one another on egg shells not knowing what was going to set the other off. Today my egg shell busted wide open and I came at him guns a blazing, spewing frustration and disappointment. He answered in kind.

Not our finest hour for sure but an honest one. How so? It lead us to a three hour very beautiful and very honest conversation about where we are as individuals and as a couple since the death of our Courtney. We shared our hurt based on our unrealistic expectations of the other. Then it got raw.

Our Broken Hearts

We spoke of our broken hearts over her absence. She always centered us and brought us out of our folly and into the light. But Courtney is not here to help us refocus on what is truly important and that hole in our hearts feels so much bigger this year than any other so far.

We apologized to our son for our short temperedness and he easily forgave saying “It’s OK. I know you’re hurting.” He humbles us with his forgiveness. Then we ask forgiveness of each other and it is given in peace.

We decide on a change of scenery so we can begin again and speak with love to each other once more. We go to where we know there is peace. Where we can see her face and read her name again even if it is etched in stone.

We kiss the stone, so cold and yet we know her body lies beneath. I weep for my empty arms and my broken heart. Tears stream down his face as he holds me close wishing he could hold his daughter one more time.

We are thankful for her life. We are thankful for her peaceful death. We are thankful for the beautiful soul who taught how to live in the present moment and love with all we have.


Let the tears come and the pain wash over you. They are signs that you loved well. And so we did.


Mary Lenaburg is a full-time author and Catholic speaker who has given keynotes at conferences across the country, including The Edel Gathering, the Diocese of Grand Rapids Women’s Conference, Mary’s Mantle Breakfast, and at the Northwest Catholic Women’s Conference in Oregon. A writer with Take Up & Read, her work has appeared in five meditation books. She and her husband, Jerry, live in Fairfax, Virginia, with their son, Jonathan. Their daughter Courtney passed away in 2014. For another article on her family’s loss, see Today She Would Have Turned Twenty-Six

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