Yesterday morning I got up particularly early. I had slept through the night, only to be woken up by this group of little birds outside my bedroom window.

I can’t blame ’em. I think they were waking me up for something big.

I made myself oatmeal with creme fraiche I had just made and some local honey. It was delicious and simple.

I woke up heavy with anger. Not at the birds. The birds were the only part of my morning that made sense to me. The creme fraiche I had made was perfect. Thick and tangy, and well, fresh.

All signs of the morning were leaning to a good day, and all of a sudden, everything collapsed. I started weeping hysterically. I don’t always enjoy talking about the inevitable breakdowns, but I think I need to talk about it.

Living in a different space takes time. Although Mississippi is my home, there has been such a shift in my heart.

If I’m honest with what I want to say, I don’t have enough middle fingers for things sometimes. When I start to feel sad for my loneliness, I point those middle fingers at a life I once had. I get so angry that I lost everything that I wanted.

Now I know better than that.


Life does move on. And the stages of grief are so f***ing blurry to me at this point. People will say, “Ah, well you’re on to anger now..” Well, certainly. Only I’m angry a lot in different stages.

Grief has no formula. Sure, there are some that will tell you (and me) what to expect next. But I have no clue. We are all so different in how we heal and move on. Some of us take longer. Some of us move to different places and are forced to reconcile two pasts into one. How does one do this?

I would be worried if I wasn’t having a hard time. I see people move through these things so fast sometimes, and I get jealous. Damn, I wish I could hook up with someone that fast! Or start to see people as an old friend, instead of the ‘ex’.

There is so much I want to bury.

Like my wedding ring that I buried in the roots of those tomato plants we grew. Because that’s where our love was good. That’s where it meant the most to me…and there those roots will grow strong again, with someone else getting to benefit from our careless gardening.

Good days and bad days, as always.

No, I don’t want your silver linings, but I do want to be useful.

I do know things will get better with time. I can see past my pain.

But to feel it, is a completely different story. I didn’t think it was possible to explore these depths of my heart. To see how resilient my heart has been and continues to be.

I’ll fight for it to find goodness again. To find some peace again…and I will hold it deep down with those still waters. I know what I want, and I know it’s going to take some time.

And I will cook it slow. Like them oats soaking up water and salt and spice.

They will absorb into something entirely different from its dry state.

It will nourish and expand.

A simple, good thing,

sometimes makes all the difference.



17 responses to “oats.”

  1. i wish i could find the words to respond to this. i feel it in my heart. i empathize on a grand level. i cry often, it’s my release. but lately i am just weeping and teetering between hope and fear and it’s a challenge some days to honestly get out of bed. the only things that ‘makes sense’ to me are the elk, the ravens, the birds, the cats, the foxes, the trees, the river… and this blogpost. thank you for it.

  2. What you say about grief is so true. Sometimes I think I’ve gone numb or forgotten her and then BLAMMO! It hits me like a flood, heart wrenching at the loss, hardly believing her pain is gone while mine endures without – her to share it with.

    It’s easy to say, “Everybody dies” until it’s time to walk through the grief.

    Take care, Josh. Sounds like we’re both moving forward slowly but surely.

  3. It’s so true. Grief doesn’t have a formula. I used to spend a lot of time trying to analyze which “stage” I was in. Like, to make sure I was grieving appropriately or something. I now look at the “stages of grief” purely as a list of all the things it’s absolutely okay to feel. In no particular order, and certainly not only once each. Here’s to creme fraiche, and middle fingers, and tomatoes.

  4. Oh, yes. Sometimes, I would go outside and just scream, in rage, at the top of my voice and then cry hysterically. People would say, “Time heals all wounds.” That is just a bunch of baloney. Time does NOT automatically heal all wounds. It is what we do with the time that heals us. Each of us is different. You are grieving in an “active” way, Josh. Grieving is not a passive thing, it is a working process. It is an active thing. Getting all that anger and sorrow OUT one way or another. As long as “getting it out” does not harm others, then there is no right or wrong way. You are incredibly mentally healthy, Josh. That is obvious. (Maybe not to you right now, but it is obvious to others.) I can’t speak for others, but my agonizing grief eventually turned into one of those “bitter-sweet” memories that quietly surfaces from time to time. Nothing painful. Just a tiny, “bitter-sweet” feeling that I wouldn’t trade for anything.

  5. Oh, yeah!! I forgot!! I kept a whole chicken in the frig and when I got REALLY angry, I would take it out and beat the @#$#@ out of it. Then, I’d put it back into the frig. At the end of the week, I would cook it and put a fresh chicken in the frig for future outbursts. Sounds crazy, right? Maybe, but it helped me get my anger and frustration out of my body and mind. Ha. Ha.

  6. I promise you it gets better. It has to, right? The bouts of anger, sorrow and self-blame get less intense and less frequent as time goes and as you process things in your mind. It’s a bit cyclical but an upwards cycle nonetheless. At least you worked out what to do with your ring. ….mine is still in the bottom draw of my jewelry box!
    Just riding it out and waiting for better days.

  7. EcoGrrl sent me over. Very effective combination of food and prose. Perhaps, they should always go together. Nourishing of body and soul. I recognize the process of grief you are describing, all too well.

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