The Sign

I remember the old wooden box

Its tarnished screen inlaid on top

That coveted elusive box

Such hallowed metal inside


Shimmering on the dresser, breathless, unopened

Ali Baba’s cave

Opened by magic

No one’s rightful treasure


Yet I heard stories whispered and shamed

The upstaged engagement ring

Guilt necklace bought in a rush

A silver bracelet from the cantina


Those jewels I secreted and wore

My own stories, invented

Though you always knew

It was your box after all


Now there’s another box

The same metaled memories in cardboard

But the ring, the guilt, the cantina

Still yours


And I’d give anything to put it back

Leave the box to rest on your dresser

To close the cave

And listen to your stories


Why does YouTube always put the most rubber-faced, funhouse-mirrory frame at the beginning of every video?


I started this video again and again, tried to make it flow, attempted to sound more polished, took a shot at not doing that “thing” with my eyes, but I finally let it go. Given that this video is about receiving signs from our loved ones, I took the fact that my Flip ran out of juice and fell flat several times may mean my mom didn’t want me to share what I did. So I almost stopped. And then I kept on. So maybe it was a sign.


I’ve found that with some people who’ve suffered loss – myself among them – that the emotion is so heavy and oppressive that we keep it in lest we burden someone with our grief. Who wants to hear that I held my mom’s hand as she died? Who wants to know that after she passed away, I crawled into bed with her because I wasn’t ready for her to leave? That’s a lot to give someone, so I don’t say it. I never say it.


But it needs to be said. Even to myself in a room where I’m alone and whether there are ears to listen or not. This is what this video is for me.


I hope, I hope, that if you are missing someone you love this year, or any year, that you feel in your smallest bones you’re not alone. And that this time of year especially is so damn hard and it never feels like it used to and it’s OK to say that out loud.


This video is part of an effort named “Hugs for the Holidays,” which gives everyone and anyone who is grieving a loss some ears and hearts and hands behind you to hold you up. Please don’t grieve alone. I’m here. I want to know how you cry at night or how you imagine hugging someone who is no longer with you or how you run away or how you numb or how you do what you do.


And what who you loved meant to you.


Today there are link-ups (below) where you can comment and/or link up a post you have written about your loss — of a son, a daughter, a spouse, a father, a sister; of a brother or a friend or someone you loved so much your grief will always yell into the vast distance, always echoing, always echoing.



You can share anything you want about your loss: a link to a Facebook photo/post, a blog post about a particular memory, a Pinterest pin sharing how you cope, whatever you would like others to read or see. If you are not a blogger, you can write your memory in the comments of the blog.


On each blog listed below, you can read individual stories of loss and share your own story.


Meanwhile: keep going. You have so much soul love behind and in front of you.


If you have had a miscarriage, stillbirth or lost an infant link here:

If you have lost your mom, link below!

Your dad, link here: or

Your sibling, link here:

A child, link here:

Your spouse, link here: g*funk*ified

A friend, link here:


There is also a special #HugsfortheHolidays Pinterest board with information for dealing with grief, and inspiration to help ease the pain during this season. Share your story.



Tell me. I'm listening.


(For days upon more days, I've cried about Newtown. There's enough people writing about it, I don't need to be another than to say I would gladly take the grief from each and every one of the moms and dads who lost their children, and from the sons and daughters and husbands who lost their mothers and friends and wives, and I'd carry it around for every day, if those killed could be here again.)


14 Responses to “The Sign”

  1. It will be a year on New Year’s Eve. I have wandered through this year in a semi fog, lack of attachment because I hold back the flood gates. I hold back the tears and the anger. The crawling in bed with her, do you know how many times as mom lay in her hospital bed I just wanted to lay in the crook of her arm with my head on her chest and cry?? I was wondering what I was going to write about today.. now I know

  2. Alicia King says:
    Here’s my contribution.

    I just want anyone dealing with the loss of their mom there is hope.

    Thanks for doing this!

  3. Alicia King says:
    Here’s my contribution.

    I just want anyone dealing with the loss of their mom there is hope.

    Thanks for doing this!

  4. Kim says:

    That video was as hard as therapy, but way more beautiful. THANK YOU for suffering through it for us. You are amazing.

  5. Laurie says:

    Thank you. Just thank you. Lost my mom 5 years ago. No signs no dreams and no “feelings”. There was much family drama surrounding the aftermath and I worried that perhaps she is disappointed in me. It was lovely to see that I am not alone, and perhaps I just do not recognize her presence. I will still my heart and listen in the quiet. I believe she is there.

  6. […] post is linked up with other posts discussing the grief of losing our parents and how it can affect us, especially at […]

  7. Megan says:

    Thank you for this, I used to wonder the same thing, why won’t she just come back to me. When my daughter was about 3 yrs old ( so about 6 yrs later) she started verbalizing that she was playing with her other Grandmom. I had never even told her she had another Grandmom. If made me realize she was probably there all along.

  8. Jessica says:

    I admire you for being able to talk through the grief. I can write and write about it but the minute I start saying it out loud I turn into a complete mess and just stop talking. I’m so glad you are doing this with us and hope we can all be of comfort to someone out there.

  9. vickie says:

    I cried with you, thank you so much for sharing. You see I am not quite there yet, my mom is currently in the final stages of colon cancer. I ache with what I know is to come, the wait and her decline is excruciating. You put words to my feelings.
    Warm wishes and hugs, Vickie

    My daughter started this FB page, we all contribute, the support has been so comforting.

  10. Kathleen says:

    This was so beautiful. Thank you for posting it.

    I’m so happy to have found your blog and you through this link-up.

    I hope you know you’re not alone either. Big hugs.

  11. […] If you have lost your mom link here: […]

  12. Me says:

    You are so brave and so beautiful to share your story with us. When do I get to meet you so I can give you a big hug?

    Much love to you!

  13. Ferd says:

    Deb, what a wonderful thing this is, on so many levels! I’m glad you are able to verbalize the loss. I can see and hear how much it still hurts. And I can also see and hear the positive message, meant for others who may be suffering like you did/do. Good for you, good for them, good for all of us. Wonderful. Brave. Beautiful!
    Have a glorious 2013!

  14. Thank you so much for letting us bear witness to this truth, Deb. I lost my mother to breast cancer that spread to her bones over 40 years ago. I’ve never forgotten the night she died, and have never stopped looking for signs of her in my life. Since then, I’ve lost so many people dear to my heart. Thanks to you, I’ll continue to keep my eyes and heart open.
    I wrote this one about my brother: a morning full of memories

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