I read an article recently that described grief as a shaking box with a pain button on one interior wall and a ball inside. Initially, the ball is so large that it’s constantly bumping up against the pain button. As time goes by, the ball gets smaller so that it hits the pain button less. But, when it hits it, the pain is no less intense than that first hit.

This feels like the perfect description.


On Saturday, I went to my parents’ home to put Rosie’s grave marker on her brick-covered grave. It was raining and cold, and Pawley and my dad and I walked down to the edge of the garden where we’d buried Rosie under a cherry tree on the sunny Wednesday that she died last month.

I felt sad then, as I placed the bright daffodils on her small stone. But the ball is shrinking and the pain button wasn’t being hit. Later though, when it was time to go home and for the first time in 12 years leaving my parents’ house didn’t involve a dachshund rushing out the door ahead of me and barking with excitement, the ball hit the button. And it hurt just as much as that sunny Wednesday.

It’s a good image though—the ball and the box—because it reminds me that the pain comes less often. And there’s a lot of promise and hope in that.

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