The SUBS – and Grief

Last week I heard a knock at the door. I got up from my desk hurried down the stairs and opened the door, and there stood my next-door neighbor, smiling, holding a plate of warm cookies.

“I thought you might be needing these – they are for the SUBS.”

She saw my confused look, and continued: “ ‘Sudden Uncontrollable Bursts of Sorrow’! They’ll come, trust me!”

She hugged me, and was off down the driveway.

How had she known? She’d been through it before. Years before, she had sent sons away for their 2-year church missions. Just that morning I had dropped my son off for his mission in Taiwan, and I have to admit I had already shed some tears. And I knew they wouldn’t be the last. I’ll miss him! 

These tears, however, would be different. I know he is coming back. When my husband drowned, I had no such comfort. Those first months – even the first couple of years – I would find myself, at completely random times, and for no apparent reason, dissolving into tears when I hadn’t even been consciously thinking about him.  I came to expect that to happen, and to know that I was completely out of control for the time being. I just had to accept that fact!

I was SO grateful for the people in my life who let me know that they understood that the SUBS are part of life and it’s OK! When they saw my eyes fill with tears, instead of turning away in awkward embarrassment, they’d reach out, give me a hug, and reassure me that they loved me and that better days would come.

It was all I needed, just to know I had a friend who accepted me, and that I could look forward to better times.

As time went on, I learned that their reassurance had been correct – the days ARE better now, and I’ve learned many things that keep making each day better and better.

Marta Felber, in her book, Grief Expressed, shared a list of things that help her know things are getting better. One of them reads: “NOW I don’t cry as much as I did…BEFORE, a song, a sight, thought, ad, or item in the grocery store would trigger tears.” 

Oh, yes. It has been the same for me.

The SUBS will subside – and like I always say, although life will never be the same as it was before your loss, it CAN be good.

May you keep moving toward that time! 

(If you are ready to move forward in life, and overcome sorrow and embrace joy again, but would like some help making that transition, Roslyn offers one-on-one mentoring to help you through the grieving process and on to hope and healing as you build a new life. See details at the “Personal Mentoring” tab, or email Roslyn at

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