Heartbreak In My Stomach

(drawing credit: Sarah Warner, for MWAH2017)

Dear Friends,

There is a feeling I’d like to explain. For me, part of grief – not just sadness, missing Charlie, dashed hopes and dreams – is a truly visceral feeling.

For me, emotion has always been tied to stomach aches. Not the kind you get with the flu, or food poisoning, or anything like that. But a clenching ugh in your middle that says that something isn’t right.

There are triggers that bring on grief, for me, and one of the ways I feel the result is an absolute clench of my feelings in my belly. It can be a moment in a movie, a reminder of Charlie in the house or in something I’m reading, or even the grave of someone else’s baby.

(Statue in St. Louis Botanical Garden)

My husband and I like to occasionally explore old cemeteries or take walks in them, and when we come across a grave that has one date, or where the dates are in the same year, or worse if the name is also Charlie, it hurts my heart, and I feel it in my stomach, or sometimes in my chest.

(Cemetery outside of St. Louis, where we watched the eclipse. I think it says 7 years 9 months 1 day)

And if I need to cry, I can feel the clich├ęd “lump in my throat”, except it’s not the one that I felt when I was little… this one is further down, and aches, until I bawl.

I’m tempted to say I’m sorry this post is a downer, but I’m not apologizing. I’m just saying that I regret that this is a very real part of my existence now, and I wanted to let you know about this side of it.

With love,


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