The Pain of Grief – Raking Leaves


I was raking leaves and began crying over the fact that I was raking alone – the first time in 16 years I had to rake alone. I don’t mind raking, but Monica always wanted to do that together and now she left me to do yet another “together thing” alone. I thought about how the seasons were changing and was a little anxious about the fact that I would be facing a beautiful spring and summer without her. 

Last year our spring and summer were so very hard. And now, I get to enjoy the beautiful temperatures and sunshine, the blooming of flowers and budding of leaves and the grass going from brown to green – all the wonderful signs of rebirth. Last year every day, every moment was geared around keeping Monica as comfortable as possible and that was a full-time job. This year, I have no caretaking ahead, but I’m worried it will be no less hard. I thought about how my emotions are under better control as I raked the left-over leaves. 

I looked over at what I had done the day before and noticed there were more leaves where I had already raked and yet there were no leaves left in the trees. I walked over and realized it was because they were the ones that had gotten wet and stuck to the ground. Yesterday, I could have raked harder and gotten them up, but the earth would have come with them, so I didn’t. Today, given the time to dry, they were ready to be easily raked. Under them was another layer of wet ones that will probably be easy to get tomorrow. 

That is how life is, or at least how it is for me right now. I want all those leaves (my sorrow) up and up now, however; in order to do that, the wet ones (deepest hurts) won’t have time to dry (heal) and the ground (my emotions) will be raked up. Instead, just allowing a little time in between ‘rakings’ allows yet another layer of grief to dry and be raked up more easily. That’s my definition of patience now.