The Impossible Things in Grief, That Nobody Else Sees

Mar 18, 2023

Nobody in the pharmacy today knew what I was going through. 

But ⁣as I walked through those familiar doors, four years after Brian's death, it all came back.

It was coincidence that I ended up there. I'd been running errands in our old neighbourhood, when I suddenly remembered something, and dug my phone out of my bag. 

My daughter and I have matching necklaces, with Brian's ashes inside of them. Recently, the chains broke and I wanted to mail them back to the wonderful woman to made them, to have them fixed. 

I googled, “closest post office to me” and an address came up on my phone. ⁣

I didn’t realize until I was standing right in front of it, that it was the pharmacy. ⁣

The first pharmacy. The one that our doctor told me sternly yet kindly to get to right away, the second she saw the CT scan results. ⁣

I remember her words so clearly.

“Are you saying he isn’t on ANY pain meds? How is he not in the ER?” ⁣

The cancer was everywhere in his spine and she didn’t understand how he was managing. But until then, we'd been completely in the dark, with no idea what was going on.

I remember sobbing as I ran down the street, the prescription gripped tightly in my hand. I couldn’t stand for him to be in pain for another second. ⁣

My hand shook as I handed it over to the pharmacist. A look passed between us. These were medications for a dying person.

The look in her eyes was one that I got to know well over the next seven weeks until he died and have grown accustomed to over the past four years. ⁣

Pity. ⁣

Today I found myself back there again. I walked in with my head held high, my heart beating in my chest. ⁣

Past the pharmacy counter to the post office at the back, handing over the necklaces, our most prized possessions. 

Nobody knew. And isn’t this true for so many us of us so much of the time?

We do these impossibly brave things. And to outsiders, it looks like we’re fine. We’re just going about our day.

Today, I did another impossible ⁣thing. ⁣

You never know what someone is going through. You really don’t. 


(Photo by Sarah Bell Photography)

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