Monday, February 9, 2015

Guest Post: When It’s Divine to Mourn

One of the things I'd like to do more of this year is to have guest bloggers here. So if you would like to send me something (an article, a poem) for Writing the Heartache, please email it to

Today's guest on my blog is Kit Tosello. Welcome, Kit!

When It’s Divine to Mourn

For everything there is a season, and a time for every matter under heaven. -Ecclesiastes 3:1

If you ran into me in town lately and I told you I was fine, I was sort of lying. Please don't take it personally; I was lying to myself too. I see now that I've been in a bit of a funk. As usual, I didn't recognize it until it was half-way into the rearview mirror.

Something happens every fall. Grief sneaks up on me silently, like bare feet on a soft forest path. I pride myself on my Annoying Perkiness (seriously, I've been told that I have AP), so I turn the music up, raise my chin a little higher, and say I'm doing fine until it's clear I'm deceiving myself.

This time of year, I identify with words like taciturn and melancholy. I lose track of time scrolling through old photos, text my adult children more often, and take longer naps. I'm not depressed. I'm just melancholy. That's okay, right?

I'm grateful . . . I've never dealt with clinical depression. Just this old, familiar ennui that slips its arms around me from time to time. Especially at this time of year. I've learned not to fight it. Those arms are not going to crush me. It's more than okay to give in, to mourn things lost, to wait for the cleansing tears.

It's like a deep longing for something beyond my grasp.

If I allow myself to put a face to it, I see my dad smiling at me with squinty, mischievous eyes, cigarette-stained teeth, and gray cheek-stubble. I see my sweet mom wearing her pale green blouse, giving me that one look. The one that says, "You are so indescribably special to me." I want so badly to reach out and touch her on the shoulder.

I see my kids when they were young. Sean has colored up his face with my berry lipstick. Marissa is picking out a song by ear on the piano.

It's clear to me now that grieving a loss is never a once-and-for-all process. It's a slow shedding of leaves that you had hoped to keep forever. Every time the breeze carries a few more away, you feel a little more uncovered and vulnerable. We say we're learning to let go, but do we really have a choice? You can do this the hard way, or you can do this the easy way.

Each day, more speckled leaves coat our lawn and driveway. They're lovely, reminding me that death and loss and change can be hauntingly beautiful. And the rotating seasons affirm that it's not an end. Just another new beginning.

Solomon wrote that there are divinely appointed times for mourning. I'm okay with my divine funk. Laughter will follow soon enough.

~ By Kit Tosello
(This post first appeared at on Oct. 2, 2014)


  1. Alice, wonderful post. I admire the way my husbands family and culture mourns. He is from India. They really mourn-cry, wail, let their emotions flow. They give themselves 40 days to morn then they cook a large meal, feed the poor, and have a service in the church to honor the person who died. After the dirty days of mourning as they wish, they start the process of moving on. I think it's healthier than blocking emotions.

    1. I agree with you, Holly! When my son died, I wanted to be in a culture that knew how to mourn!

    2. Thanks for stopping by, Holly.