June 29, 2021 – Eight Years – 2,922 Days

I dread the end of June. Putting a layer of protection around my heart, I wish away the final days, hoping to leapfrog across to July.

Truth be told, grief is a lonely road. Traveling this long distance for eight years now, with countless bumps, sudden drops, and no posted speed limit, brings its own type of fatigue. This is a topic my dear friend and rabbi, Sissy Coran – her memory will always be for a blessing – and I would talk about at length. Trying to articulate the weight of this grief was often difficult – Ethan is still here with us; yet, is he? Sissy would periodically send articles, sometimes with the lead in of “I found this article” or “I think this says some things we have been trying to say.” She steered us to understand a type of grief known as unconventional, or ambiguous, grief. Today I searched once again and found an article that helps explain this type of grief—I wish I could share this piece with Sissy. Instead, I share this article with anyone who may find comfort in reading about ambiguous grief, which is a reaction to a loss that has no closure https://www.thehealthy.com/mental-health/ambiguous-grief/

About 50 years ago, noted psychiatrist Elisabeth Kubler-Ross shared her theory of the five stages of grief (denial, anger, bargaining, depression, and acceptance). We have learned over the years that grief is different for everyone, not necessarily a linear process, and that the stages a person goes through may include going backward, forward, skipping, etc. These descriptors don’t necessarily apply to those of us experiencing ambiguous grief. Since music is such a large part of my life, an escape that provides daily comfort for me, I’ve started a playlist of songs that reflect my own interpretation of stages involved in my ambiguous grief:

 1) Fix You by Coldplay https://youtu.be/k4V3Mo61fJM

2) Beautiful Disaster by Kelly Clarkson https://youtu.be/MmcdK9IKZsY

3) Esah Einai (I will lift up my eyes, Psalm 121) by Dan Nichols https://youtu.be/typXcJy-x4I

4) The Reason by Hoobastank https://youtu.be/fV4DiAyExN0

We continue to be amazed at the capacity of the human body—Ethan keeps his medical team on their toes, teaching them new things with each passing year. Witnessing Ethan’s daily smiles and hearing his infectious laughter help keep us grounded in the moment. He is a handsome young man, and we love him, all of him, eternally.