Thursday, August 25, 2016


My habit most mornings, as I'm letting the first cup of coffee work its magic and turn me into something resembling a human being, is to turn on The Weather Channel. I do this in the Summer in hopes of some freak cold front invading and magically turning the temperature to 60 degrees. I do it in the Winter in hopes of seeing snow in the forecast - hence, knowing when to do the Gimme Snow Crazy Ass Dance. The rest of the time, I tune in just to see that regular old 50-60 degree, damp NW weather on board. Because that's the stuff I like. Watching that forecast is like tuning in to a news station (if only it could be thus), that offers nothing but good news.

The past few mornings that I've tuned in, as The Weather Channel breaks to go to local weather, a little slogan has appeared on the screen. "It doesn't end with the storm." That's been sticking with me; tapping on windows; sitting in the corner and clearing its throat when things get quiet. It doesn't end with the storm.

And it doesn't.

I think of that campy movie, Twister - mostly ridiculous, but worth the price of admission just to see the cow fly by. Twister ended just after the storm. The two main characters came out of the pile of rubble with a couple of scrapes and bruises. The sun was shining. They kissed. The implication was that the storm had passed and everything was glorious. And it probably was, until it wasn't again. Maybe that kiss was the one that said, "This is it. We've found the long sought after Us." Or maybe it was a holy-fucking-cranberries-we're-still-alive kiss. Maybe they went on loving each other for years. Maybe they decided the kiss was kind of the big moment and it was best left at that. Maybe one of them got hit by a truck and died an hour later. Maybe they lived together long into their eighties and that moment was simply a snapshot in a box packed with hundreds of other snapshots.

It doesn't end with the storm.

My mother used to coin one of my most loathed phrases. "This, too, shall pass." Meaning, the bad time you're having won't last. Well, duh. But even knowing that doesn't help at all in the moment. Hearing it helps even less. And, you notice? Nobody ever says that when good things are happening. "Hey! Congratulations on winning the lottery. You know, this, too, shall pass." Nobody says that on an average Tuesday as you're eating a bowl of chicken noodle soup for lunch and mindlessly flipping through a catalog. "You know, this tiny moment of ordinary? This, too, shall pass." So, do the world a favor and don't say it when someone is going through a tough time. Because it's bullshit and it doesn't help and we all know that all the moments pass. M'kay?

I digress. Where were we? Ah.

It doesn't end with the storm.

Life is a series of storms and good weather, and seasons, and stuff dying, and other stuff coming to life, and dark and light, and things being ripped apart and things being rebuilt, and average ordinary days of bringing a light jacket "just in case". It has always been so.

It's hopeful to think that it doesn't end with the storm. In fact, it's a sign of the ever resilient human spirit. Even if we also know that it doesn't end with the perfect 75 degree, sunny day either. The truth is, it ends wherever and whenever the fuck it feels like ending. It's up to us to prepare and adjust accordingly. Don't wear a raincoat to a pool party; don't bring golf clubs to a lightning storm; take extra care with cows when you see funnel clouds.

It doesn't end with the storm. Sure. Notice that nobody ever said it would end without the storm.


  1. Exactly. I did some volunteer training at hospice when I first moved to where we are now. My plan was to be a volunteer for the program that helps children with grief over parents who have died. One of the hallmark ideas I learned there was to communicate without judgment. It was one of the hardest things I've ever had to adjust in my life and even though I did not make it through the end of the training (for reasons of my own grief), I took that lesson away with me and I still use it today. I like to think it makes me a better listener and an overall better person.

    My least favorite phrase is ... "it is what it is". I can't really tell you why. It just rubs me the wrong way. I suppose this too shall pass. Ha!

    I think denying people the experience of feeling cold on a rainy day doesn't help them. Or to just experience grief in whatever they need to. To always try to save people from the storm when it might be exactly what they need to go through is, in my humble opinion, a good way to thwart their growth. I don't know. Perhaps I'm wrong. Deep.

    love, susan

  2. My niece is going through a dark storm. I am there just to listen. I care. She is getting feedback like, "You always make bad decisions!" Or "Nobody is going to help you!"
    She has made bad decisions. She has been in denial. It is catastrophic for her now and I can't do anything to help. I now have a tick in my left eye that is threatening to become permanent.
    When she calls, she says "I don't know Mackie".
    Well, I don't know either. I think she is going to die.
    No, this too shall not pass. I am there to to the only thing I can...listen.

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