The seven-year-old daughter of some dear friends, when told to hold someone’s hand while walking through a parking lot, said: If it’s so easy to DIE, why aren’t there dead bodies everywhere?

She and I could commiserate. I find that as I watch life around me, I’m stunned by how many people aren’t dead. How are there so many couples walking around–complete pairs—in their 40s, in their 50s, in their 60s, in their 70s? How easy it was for Chris to die. The most eventful thing to happen in my life happened so uneventfully: the slowing of a pulse, its disappearance. How do so many people still have a pulse? 

I find that as I talk to someone—anyone—I check the whites of his eyes, searching for a yellowish hue. 

I find that if someone’s upper stomach is filled out, I want to warn: Your liver appears to be swollen with tumors. You should get that looked at.

I find that I’m amazed and comforted by seeing pale yellow urine in the toilet. And I’m unsettled when bubbles rest on its surface.

I find that my heart often feels as if it’s going to beat out of my chest, and that alcohol seems like the only thing that can calm it. 

I find that I can’t remember things. Information floats in and out of my brain without ever finding secure reception. There’s no accounting for it; it’s just gone. 

I find that when a kind man talks to me, I might walk briskly away, because I want so much more from him than he is able to give me. 

I find that I’m tired. 

11 thoughts on “Phenomena

  1. Rebecca Thompson

    I think of you and pray for you and the kids often, even though I’m over a thousand miles away. However feeble you may feel, keep holding onto Christ as He firmly holds on to you and knows your pain and longing. You are dearly loved.

  2. Catherine Heinzerling

    Dear Sarah, I am sharing this prayer with you. Having walked over the past 16 months the path you are walking, I can identify with those moments of angst, memory loss, sense of unfairness, and sorrow. The following mourning prayer is from the Union Prayer Book, Volume 1, The Central Conference of American Rabbis. You may wonder why I am sending a Jewish prayer? This prayer was just said at my cousin’s funeral this past Sunday. It’s words are universal and spoke to me. The last sentence says it all to me and I have come to understand, slowly over time, the gift of God’s lending. In time, I pray you find comfort in its words. In Christ’s Love,
    We are assembled with our friends in the shadow that has fallen on their home. We enter sincerely into their grief, and raise our voices together in prayer to the Father above, beseeching for them His comfort and His strength. They need light in the gloom that has gathered around their hearth ; whence can it come but from the Father of light? They need fortitude, patience and resignation under the chastenings of the Lord; whence can they receive these gifts save from Him who hath laid the burden of suffering on them? Who among us has not passed through similar trials and endured like visitations? Some bear fresh wounds in their own hearts, and therefore feel more keenly the human kinship of sorrow. Others, whose days of trial are more remote, still recall the soothing comfort that sympathy brought to their broken spirits. And those who have not yet tasted of the bitter cup cannot know how soon they may be called upon to drink of it. We are travelers on the same road which leads to the same goal. All that we prize most highly is but lent to us, and we must surrender it when the Power above demands.

  3. Cindy Kross

    Dear Sarah, I continue praying for you! I grasp for words to lighten your burden. What comes to mind is just letting you know a great cloud of witnesses on earth and in heaven are holding you up, crying out to the great I Am on your behalf!
    Don’t give up Sarah! Keep writing!

  4. Betsy Kopecky

    My Dear Sarah,
    Your words…your suffering felt… mere words ring shallow. He sees you…He is near….He weeps with you. My love and my prayers continue ❤.
    Betsy K

  5. Annie Parsons

    Thank you for this raw honesty, Sarah. You have suffered such a huge loss. No wise or poignant words from me – just the acknowledgement that these days really are terrible, that I honor the pain, anxiety, and numbness, and that I, along with so many others, love you fiercely.

  6. Betsy Rogers

    Your thoughts are very familiar. Praying for you and your sweet children continually throughout each day. Please know God will get you to the other side of this heavy grief, but it is a hard and slow journey.

  7. Anonymous

    I love your rawness and vulnerability. Keep pressing on. One day at a time. One breath at a time. The Spirit is WITH you.

  8. Anonymous


    wish i had known about lamenting. a church mentor told me to read the Psalms. but when i tried it, it just made me more sad to know that people in the Bible, too, were feeling hurt/pain like i was. i didn’t understand the part where the psalms change from groaning, telling the Lord our complaints to praiseworthy trust. feel like it definitely takes work. i know you do hope in Him and have probably already been lamenting. praying truth in this blueprint pulls you to the surface, keeps you buoyant, finding hope and even joy-rkb

  9. Anonymous

    Dear Sarah, May God comfort and encourage you. I have no special credentials to say this, being just a fellow Christian on the journey, but I would say that it’s understandable, how you feel and what you’ve said. Going through a very difficult valley, difficult for anyone. And many of us have had those very same thoughts and feelings and fears, maybe most of us. I pray God will increase our faith and trust in Him, that He enables us all. We all need Him to help us, because we are weak.

    Where shall I go from your Spirit? Or where shall I flee from your presence?
    If I ascend to heaven, you are there! If I make my bed in Sheol, you are there!
    If I take the wings of the morning and dwell in the uttermost parts of the sea,
    even there your hand shall lead me, and your right hand shall hold me.


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