Awkward Grocery Moments (a day in the life #32)

Posted by on Dec 20, 2012 in A Day in the Life | 5 comments

What is it about kindness that can reduce us to honesty and vulnerability? There is still the occasional day my emotions feel so raw that I pray nobody will talk to me as I wander the aisles of the grocery store, getting a few extras for supper. Calvin can’t sit in a cart so I push him in his wheelchair which makes us objects of curiosity and sympathy. Not that I’m not grateful, it’s comforting that people care but it is hard to be reminded everywhere I go that something is causing people to stare at my son. Whenever I’m with him we can never float in oblivion, instead we are watched in every aisle.

I’d wandered all the aisles going about my business, trying not to be sensitive to other’s eyes and avoiding eyes so I didn’t have to make conversation. Normally I don’t mind but there’s times when the grasp on my emotions is too thin. We were waiting in the checkout line. Calvin had been fussing so I was holding him although with his lack of muscle tone he more or less just drapes over me. An older woman ahead of me looked compassionately at us and I smiled back as if everything in the world was just right.

“Honey, what’s wrong with him?” she asked curiously and with concern. Words always fail me. I feel like saying the unpolished truth, “He has massive brain damage,” and see if she has as much trouble as I digesting it. But labels make us feel safer, they draw the lines more clearly between  ‘us’ and ‘them’. He has that and she has this, it seems how society packages our brokenness in neat little packages and tidy diagnoses. And so I caved and gave the safe and acceptable answer, “He has a neurological problem.”

“Can you do therapy to fix that? Will he be okay?” she asked. I stared incomprehensibly at her. It’s not her fault, we always want a happy ending don’t we? It’s hard to end a story without the silver lining. But some days I don’t want to think about the silver lining. Some days I want to just bury my head in his crazy hair and hold him tight and dream of him reaching for me.

“No, he’s not going to be okay,” was all I could say. By this time all attempts to wall in grief were crumbled and the woman and cashier stared dumbly at me a mess of tears and tissues. They said nothing and proceeded to finish their transaction.

There’s a time to let grief linger in our souls. A time to taste the bitterness of brokenness. A time to acknowledge our inability to beat the sorrow. A time for letting others see our grief instead of presenting it in a way that glosses the deep crevices in the heart. Grief makes Jesus and His salvation all the more healing and hopeful for our broken souls. Are you overwhelmed by grief this season? Don’t hide your grief, run to Jesus with it. Again and again.

Crazy-haired boy :).



  1. Kara,
    He is so cute! Thanks for sharing your heart with us. I miss you and your family.

  2. Thanks for sharing your “crazy hair” boy! I can’t begin to imagine your struggles as you try to do “normal” things and are constantly challenged by all the extra challenges that are part of having Calvin in your family. I wish I could make it easier, but I can’t, so I’ll just offer another prayer that God will continue to hold you in His arms, and give you the extra measure of His strength that you need each day. I pray that this Christmas is a happy and holy time for you. I pray that your family is able to make special memories together this year, and that Calvin is well enough to enjoy, in his own special way, the fun, music, and celebrations.

    Christmas Blessings to the Dedert family. Love you all.


  3. amen

  4. This post reminded me of a song by Chris Rice – Come to Jesus. Weak and weary, we must keep coming to Jesus and resting in Him.
    I love your blog, and have really been blessed by it!

  5. I can relate to your shopping trip. I try to think that others are just staring at Gavin, because he is so cute…..but this thought never lingers, once the self-pity sets in. During one of our trips to the store, a guy asked me, “What’s wrong with him?”, and my response was less than proper. I said, “Nothing is wrong with him! What IS wrong, is that you were rude to ask that question!” It was “one of those days” and I didn’t have patience for someone who just doesn’t understand. I felt very bad about my response later, and wished that I had been more gentle…..but some days it is more difficult to deal with our reality than other days.

    Thanks for the remider to give our grief to Jesus, and to trust him to help us carry the load!

    Also, just wondering…..does Calvin ever find his feeding tube and pull on it? We have to put Gavin’s tube down the leg of his pants, or cute a hole in PJ’s for the tube to go through, so that he doesn’t pull at it. Gavin isn’t capable of doing much, but he loves his feeding tube, and tries his hardest to pull it out!

    Praying your days are filled with God’s grace, strength, and hope!

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