The Grief Steps by Ashley G.

Posted by on Jul 17, 2015 in Other Writings | 0 comments

Today’s story comes from AYWI student Ashley!

The Grief Steps

The therapist has asked if I understand that I’m now in the fourth stage of grief, which is depression. This is her second time asking. I haven’t answered because I can’t stop picking at a stubborn piece of lint that will not come up off the couch.

“Rachel?” she says. She’s being patient. She’s kept her voice very soft. I know she’s getting annoyed, though, and this does give me satisfaction. “Do you understand what I’m saying about the stage of grief you’re in?”

“Yes,” I say. No.

“And do you understand that even though it doesn’t feel like progress to be depressed, that it is in fact progress?”

“Yes,” I say. Shut up, lady.

She sits back. “Well,” she says. “That’s fantastic.”


It’s fantastic for her. She’s not the one with the cancer. I’d wanted to tell her this, but I hadn’t had the energy to speak. Only to pick at that lint (which I never could get up off the couch.)

I shade my eyes, gazing down the street for the bus that would bring me from Dr. Smith’s office to my radiation treatment. The treatment that is supposes to slow down the process of the cancer. I wished it only cured it but I stopped wishing a long time ago.

Thunder clashed above me. The grey clouds rolls in shading everything. Great, rain.  What I need. I should’ve checked the weather report. Sprinkles of rain splattered on the concrete ground. I picked at the gum on the bench. Where’s the bus, I’m going to be late.

“Mommy,” a voice says. “Why does that lady look so sad?” I didn’t dare look up it was too much strength. I just wanted to be left alone on the bench waiting for the radiation that is my destiny.  This depression really sucks. And that lady wants to say its improvement or whatever she said. “Do you need a hug?” A hand sat on top of my picking hand.

I finally then looked up into a little girl eyes. The rain was coating everything with water. The little girl had her rain coat on. The wind rustled my scarf that hid the side effects of the cancer.

“No,” I say. I didn’t do hugs. I did before cancer.

“Yes you do.” The little girl wraps her arms around my hand. I stiffen. “Does it feel nice?”

I don’t know to do. I didn’t want to shrug the little girl off. It’s rude and probably makes her cry.

“Do you like the rain?” she asks. I down at her. Her face is hidden under the yellow raincoat that was the only bright thing around in miles. “I do. Daddy and I use to rain dance. It was fun.”

I remember rain dancing when I was younger with my older brother and younger brother. Mom would get mad for we had mud caked all over our faces. But she wouldn’t be mad long for it was memories for us all.

“You remind me of someone, I know.” I say.

“I do?”


“Why do you have a scarf on your head?” She asks.

“Bad hair day?” I can’t tell this girl about my cancer.

“This that why you look sad?”


“Well everything is okay.” She says. “Don’t look sad, everyday is a bright day. That’s what my daddy said to me when I was down.”

The bus arrives.

“Come on, Lucie.”

“Coming,” she says. She pauses in her step and turns. “Have a nice day.”

As the bus pulls off, I ponder what the little girl just planted in my not so happy soul. I wonder what the fifth grieving step is, because I think I just made it there.

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