• Mari Hoaglund

Balance: a lesson on grief

Isn’t it crazy how the smell of a clothing item can transport us to some the most favorable memories? Almost unlocking those ones you have stored in the attic of your brain, only to be revived by one of your fives senses.

This year has taken 4 people from me. Typically, funerals have come to my door every other year, maybe every couple. But 4-in one year? I guess we would expect nothing less of 2020 when so many have lost so much.

This hit home though. Three of these deaths are family, each of which, have played an integral part in raising me.

Rhubarb will never be the same

Christmas Ham will never be the same.



Concession stands








It will never be the same.

That’s the point of it all though right?

There’s a lesson in this. We cannot have the good without the bad, the rise without the fall, the presence without the absence.

Grief has many lessons in it. Most of which we aren’t ready to receive however they come, like presents, gifts, when we aren’t looking.

It teaches us to pause, re-evaluate our lives, to reach out to those still here to express our love. Grief teaches us how to cherish each other, how to love in the present moment.

We can be so caught up in our society of the next step, the next goal, the next something that focusing on the present moment is almost uncomfortable.

Some say that grief is all of the love built up that we weren’t able to give that person now that they are gone. So to that I say, where can you give that love? What area of your life can you spread some love, a random act of kindness or a conscious act of kindness to someone in need?

Ultimately, we make a choice to honor that person and move through their passing. Moving through doesn’t mean that we don’t care about them or will forget them. It doesn’t mean our memories will fade away.

It means we are letting them rest. We are making an active choice to show up daily and continue to participate in our life like they would want us to. They want us to show up. They want us to do the work.

Reach out, you are not alone. Let’s heal.

To my pupa Hoagie: Thank you for my infallible work ethic and showing our family what a true “family man” looks like.

To my grams: Thank you for being the pillar our family, for showing me that courage, strength, and bravery can still exist despite adversity. I miss your rhubarb cake, my hand crocheted towels for the house, and listening to your amazing stories in nursing. I miss that sparkle in your eyes.

To my Aunt Gloria: to the woman who embodied the meaning of her name, thank you for the most amazing hugs. I fully believe they could cure any sadness no matter the level. I will forever be a “huger” because now, I know what it is like to lose them.

Resources to help:

-Terrible, Thanks for asking- a podcast on grief, sharing other’s stories.

-Grief Cast- a podcast on grief.


-Grief Tedtalk with Nora McInerny “We don’t ‘move on’ from grief. We move forward with it.”

-My Grief Angels, App for phones

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