I wrote this piece last fall but am feeling it today….

Sinking in quicksand.

Can’t breathe.

Can’t move.

Barely keeping my head above ground.

It takes every ounce of energy not to give up and give in and allow my entire being to be sucked down into the suffocating depths.

And yet life goes on all around me and no one seems to notice my peril.

Voiceless screams emanate from the deep recesses of my soul,

“Can’t you see I’m dying??!!”

But no one hears.


Fucking grief.

It’s always there –

the constant stabbing pain in my heart exaggerated with each breath.

And most days I can continue to function, or at least pretend to.

But not on the quicksand days.


Simple tasks become impossible.

Take a shower?

I can’t, I’m buried in quicksand and can’t get out.

Send an email?

I would, but I can’t feel my arms or legs.

Make small talk to friends and acquaintances?

The choking sand compresses so tightly around my lungs and chest I open up my mouth and nothing comes out.

Words and thoughts are jumbled in my brain and I can’t make sense of anything.


The worst part

is not knowing how long I will be here

Or how I even got here in the first place.

I brace myself with expectancy

for the familiar triggers –

Claire’s birthday

My birthday

Mother’s Day



March 1 – the date she left us

June 21 – the date I took her to the ER and our lives were changed forever.

But this one caught me unaware

and unprepared.

I am crippled by its relentless, debilitating grasp.


I sift through memories,

wondering what my body is remembering

that my mind is not.

Perhaps it’s the temperature of the air

or the position of the sun,

just like that cool September evening

when Claire looked at me with horror in her eyes,

asking, “what is this lump?”

even though we both knew deep down

the evil rhabdo beast had returned.

Or the crisp October morning

I received the unexpected news

that tumors were also growing

in my body.


And then there’s back to school…

Claire should be starting her second year of college.

Ben should be returning to become a diesel mechanic.

Instead their ashes keep us company

As we hear stories of sobbing parents moving their kids into dorm rooms,

anticipating painful separation…

Until Thanksgiving or Christmas, I suppose.


So here I sit

Two and a half years

Into this thing called grief.

Paralyzed once again.

And angry.

So angry.

Rage comes out sideways.

I feel resentment and disdain towards a young family

Who block my running path

As their photographer captures images

Of their carefree existence.

I realize I am not really angry with them,

But rather with the fact that I will never

Be afforded the luxury of taking more pictures

Of my child

Or the grandchildren who will never be.

The pain overwhelms me

And no one knows

What a great feat I am accomplishing

By merely continuing to put one foot in front of the other.



3 thoughts on “Quicksand

  1. Jane,
    I know you have loved ones there to be there for you and quicksand is the toughest place to be. No one can move it along for you and all of it seems so unfair to me. I’m so sorry you are feeling this awful, dreadful, sludge of despair or whatever feelings are attached. Thanks again for sharing from the depths of your soul. Dorothy


  2. Dear Jane: I lost my 14 year old daughter last August, 2014. This description of grief is so unbelievably accurate. Almost line to line I feel these same emotions…fucking grief.
    Thank you for sharing your story. I’m so sorry for the loss of your beautiful daughter.


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