How Are You Going?

‘How are you going?’

It’s a simple question, right? But the last 5 weeks it has been difficult to answer. Often I say ‘I don’t know…’ because that just feels honest. The last two weeks (apart from my first ever bout of Covid) I have felt quite stable and emotionally ok… I think… so my response has been ‘good’, or ‘fine thanks’.

And maybe that’s where it gets complicated for an INTJ… I think I feel ok. To say that actually feels callous, but if I’m honest I have been getting on with the stuff I have to do and trying not to get ‘bogged’ in grief. So while I’m deeply sad that Sam is no longer with us, I also know i can’t do anything to change that. It’s just a terrible reality of our daily lives. Much of the pain I feel now is from watching Danelle, Ellie and to a lesser extent, Cosi grappling with loss.

So I ‘think‘ that is where i am at… but perhaps I’m kidding myself? I feel like my hurt and pain is very real and raw when i choose to focus on it, or bring it into the foreground, but it also seems to be shielded from me, as if the most painful thoughts and feelings are still there, but ‘insulated’ in some way.

I intentionally chose this photo of Sam as a wallpaper on my phone – but the image I selected is one that only shows his back. There was something too disconcerting still in having a photo of Sam’s bright, energetic face lighting up at me. I simply didn’t want to look at that every time I opened my phone.

Anyway here’s a poem I wrote that speaks to some of the ‘aftershocks’ of an event like this and some of the complexity of working thru grief and pain.


It has been 36 days 

Since the ground quaked beneath us

Life exploded around us

In us…

Leaving debris and destruction

Of every kind

Much that is yet to be uncovered

or discovered

But I know it is there

Lurking and waiting to pounce

Growling and snickering

A constant taunting presence

Like an angry dog, unrestrained

Free to menace at will


And what is it to grieve and mourn?

By what means?

For how long?

And in which ways?

Grief has many faces

There is anger that snarls silently

Tears that invade mercilessly at any moment

The paralysis of anxious thoughts and fear

Raw, sad musings about what might have been

Had there been just one more breath…

(Really? Why not just one?…)

Then sometimes nothing…

Just once joyful memories

Seared with sadness

Leeched of emotion

Like blurred photos of an old friend

Is that kind of grief ok too?


36 days ago

I could still see the reddish stubble on your unshaven face 

Your head lying on its side 

Eyes closed and small bubbles frothing from your already blue lips

We knew it was your body

The body we loved and nurtured from young

The strong, muscular body you trusted to propel you around the ocean

It was you

But not you

Life was no longer

The lights were out

And you had left.


To where?

We can only speculate as to details…


Well yes…

But where is this?

And what is this place we speak of so glibly?

A different dimension?

A ‘good place’?

Where you live now oblivious of us?

A holding bay until the resurrection?

When we will meet again

We will meet again – won’t we?…

(“Mummy & Daddy and Ellie and Sam 

We’re a family aren’t we eh?”)#

My deepest hope is in this reality

Of which I know so little

Because I have not needed to know

This mysterious notion imbued

With centuries of church mythology

But very few hard, undisputed facts

A genuine hope of our faith

That on one hand feels so intangible

And on the other so rich and strong


36 days is all it has been

(Not that anyone is counting)

A wisp of time – yet it has felt like an eternity already

The new normal of our family life

Has not yet been cast

As if we are refusing to accept the constraints of this new reality

We do not form new patterns

We wake and hope the the nightmare will end

But every morning it is the same

Aftershocks pierce deep into our hearts

And out from us

Raw pain transmitted to friends

Who embrace it beautifully

Who love and care

Sincerely and honestly

Genuine friendship is a beautiful gift

In this worst of times.

Even then

Only we can truly know the depth of those aftershocks 


Now when I ponder my own inevitable death

It is with a different tone

I see a hand holding those I love

Here and now

A hand that is saying ‘goodbye’

But the other hand is reaching out 

To those I love who have gone before

And yours is the face I see

The first port of call in the new realm

You’re telling me to ‘jump’ into the new reality

The kingdom of God where one day

All will be made right

All will be restored

Until then we wait and we trust

# This was a little mantra Sam started when he was about 3 years old. It still generated laughs a couple of months ago…

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