Grief In The Rear View Mirror


I woke this morning to the distant sound of growling thunder. Like a watch dog separated by a door from a stranger on the other side, letting them know danger is waiting for them.

I love the quiet rainy day mornings like this. Like the world has been washed brand new.

The patio plants are busy sucking up nature’s own special brand of nourishment.

And Charlie is dozing next to me on his bed. From time to time, he gets up and lays down on the other side of me.

My sweet, sweet boy.


When I gaze into purple flowers, it is like walking deep into a forest with tall trees filtering out most of the sun.

Purple flowers just have a calming influence over me.

A delivery guy just knocked on my door.

Two books arrived: “It All Falls Down” by Sheena Kamal and “Splinter In The Blood” by Ashley Dyer.

two books

I finished a wonderful book last night. “Not Her Daughter” by Rea Frey.

I’m not familiar with this author, but I will be looking into other books she’s written. Because I so admire her writing.

A blurb from Amazon…


Emma Townsend. Five years old. Gray eyes, brown hair. Missing since June.

Emma is lonely. Living with her cruel mother and clueless father, Emma retreats into her own world of quiet and solitude.

Sarah Walker. Successful entrepreneur. Broken hearted. Kidnapper.

Sarah has never seen a girl so precious as the gray-eyed child in a crowded airport terminal. When a second-chance encounter with Emma presents itself, Sarah takes her—far away from home. But if it’s to rescue a little girl from her damaging mother, is kidnapping wrong?

Amy Townsend. Unhappy wife. Unfit mother. Unsure whether she wants her daughter back.

Amy’s life is a string of disappointments, but her biggest issue is her inability to connect with her daughter. And now Emma is gone without a trace.

As Sarah and Emma avoid the nationwide hunt, they form an unshakeable bond. But what about Emma’s real mother, back at home?


This is one of those books that, upon first glance, seems to stretch reality a bit too far.

But believe me, when you read it, it becomes quite real. The entire book is mesmerizing.

It shows the good and bad in two women. They’re not all good, and they’re not all bad.

I have never seen a writer working with this dichotomy express the duality of a conflict so well. While at the same time helping the reader to understand why each woman chose to do what she did.

And beyond that, how she could live with those choices.


I had several thoughts about grief this morning when I first woke up.

The first one is that, with time, loss, which turns into grief, eventually shifts from right in front of you to the rear view mirror.

When you’re driving down the street and something is right in front of you, it’s in full view. There is no getting around it. There is no closing your eyes because you’re driving a vehicle and must not crash.

But grief in the rear view mirror is a bit different.

You’re driving while looking ahead, being a careful driver through life. But from time to time you will look into your rear view mirror. And there it is.

Always there when you shift your eyes to the rear view mirror.

my garden

The other analogy that came to me: You walk with bare feet onto a surface covered in tiny bits of broken glass. The pain is immediate and unfiltered. Blood begins to flow.

But if you happen to have socks on, the pain is not as bad. There is a slight cushion. Pain with a bit of a buffer.

One of the definitions of buffer: a temporary memory area in which data is stored while it is being processed or transferred.

And isn’t that what the process of grief is? A temporary place where the pain is stored while it is being processed. And finally transferred to memory. Where the pain is always there but lessened.

I think perhaps I am moving into a place, another phase, that I will call “grief in the rear view mirror.”

The pain is real. It is there. A constant.

But I feel as though I have socks on, and it is not piercing as deeply into my skin anymore. It doesn’t draw quite as much blood.

my patio garden

Life is a journey. There are highs and there are lows. Loss hits you like a ton of bricks. There is no way to avoid it.

There is absolutely no way to avoid the pain that loss brings. You just have to endure it.

But life does not stop while you grieve. The clock keeps right on ticking.

What is that saying by John Lennon?

Life is what happens while you are busy making other plans. – John Lennon



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  1. Aw, Brenda…I’m so sorry to hear about sweet Abi. I’ve been moving and offline and missed what you’ve been through. It really is so hard to go through…so, so hard. I know it has left a big hole in your life and I know Charlie will comfort you. Give him lots of hugs…
    I am so very sorry for your loss.

  2. You are so wise, Brenda. Thank you for sharing your wisdom. Your blog has changed my life and given me a greater understanding about life. As always, thinking of you and Charlie. Hugs…

  3. I so enjoy your writing ! Have you ever considered writing fiction ? I think you would be good !

  4. You write so beautifully, Brenda and I ~ we ~ are all so grateful that you can put into words the heartache that wracks all of us at one time or another. The loss of that unconditional love is absolutely profound. I remember feeling as though I was slogging through the days, one foot in front of the other. Suddenly one day it was a bit easier but even so, I wouldn’t surrender the memories of my Tootsie for anything. After all this time they still bring joy.

    1. Me either. Sacrifice the memories. This morning seems Charlie may have another urinary infection. Was just treated for one last month. I’ve called the vet. This stuff scares me to death now.

  5. Love the signature? Is that what it called…….signing off xoBrenda & Charlie

    1. Yes, that’s what it’s called. I saw a reader do that and I copied. Carol and Molly

  6. Some years ago, when I was in a very dark place in my life, someone said to me that grief is three quarters nostalgia, that we have no choice but to ‘process’ it, and that, eventually, memories prove kind. We would suffer no grief if we did not love. Hang in there, Brenda, and give yourself all the time you need.

  7. I like a rainy morning too; my dogs let me sleep later!
    Enjoyed your thoughts on grief….
    Hope you and Charlie are having a nice day together.

    1. We are on the couch together. If we’re not out on the patio, or back in the bedroom, then this is our usual spot.

  8. Good afternoon Brenda and Charlie,
    I hope that you are inside relaxing and enjoying the rain. Sometimes a break from the hot sun is a good thing.

    Grief is a strange thing because it takes different forms day by day, some days you can smile and laugh at a funny memory without crying and other days everytime you think of your loved one your are crying. As if have said before, cherish the memories with Abbie that fill your heart, she was a special pup.

    Have a wonderful day!

  9. How wonderful to receive all the books free in the mail! Know you enjoy them! I love to read but have to settle for cheap books on kindle or slim pickings at our small library. I enjoy your reviews

    1. Just a thought, Susan. I also have a very small library, but they are part of the county library system and can get books that you reserve online and then pick up at your own library. So if I see a book I would like to read, I go into my account online, reserve it, and just wait for the email to pick it up. This is in Pennsylvania, Chester county, but you could check it out in your area. It’s wonderful! Love our libraries!

    2. I read them and then give them to my daughter. Once she’s read them, she gives them either to her church or place of business.

  10. I’m going to look for that book… sounds compelling and altogether different from any I have read before. Thanks for the recommendation.

    I keep hoping there’s a kitten adoption post here.. LOL.. I know, I know – pushing it, I am.

    1. I sure want to. I saw a pure white kitten on the shelter website today. Was so tempted.

      1. My fear would be ‘what if’. What if Charlie and the kitten did not bond, what if Charlie felt pushed aside again?

  11. I’m so glad you have Charlie. When I lost my kitty I had no other pet and my heart was so lonely. It did take me awhile to feel ready for another cat and I’m so thankful for her love and company. I like that, Grief is the rear view mirror. I’m still seeing it myself some two years later. Not as often, but it’s there. I love the reviews you do of books, so many good one’s to add to my long list!! Hugs!

  12. We have been having lots of rain these past few days with a few thunderstorms thrown in. I love the chance to slow down and listen to the rain and sit down with a good book to read. And after the rain, it is so nice to hear the birds chirping happily and visiting our feeders.

    It is good to read your post today — the message is comforting.

      1. I do not think I could handle the screaming children. Guess the tendency for most children is to scream in excitement or to be heard but it is sure hard on the ears! And it sure intrudes on quiet time.

  13. I know that “pain” will continue to lessen for you each day. It sounds like the two of you are enjoying your day, listening to the rain, with Charlie napping beside you. It sounds very relaxing to me. We too are having thunderstorms every afternoon; I just wish I could be at home when they come. I look forward to your reviews on the two books you just got in the mail. With all that rain, your flowers are looking very pretty and oh so vibrant. Stay dry!

    Carol and Molly

    1. I’m glad you like the reviews, Carol and Molly! Did you notice I added Charlie to my bottom signature? I did it because of you with Molly.

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