Grief is a creeper. It creeps up on you when least expected with triggers that are unavoidable. The creep showed up on vacation in Mexico last Saturday.


It was 8 AM at the Reef Coco Beach as we entered the lobby to catch transportation for a day trip of snorkeling. An ambulance was under the car port with its lights flashing as Victor the attendant came to us. We looked away from the emergency vehicle as he began to tell us a tragic story.

A couple from my home state of Michigan had recently arrived on their honeymoon. The mid-twenty something husband woke to find his new bride unresponsive in the bed that morning. There were many unanswered questions at this point as to what happened but the details didn’t matter, she was dead and the paramedics couldn’t help.

I couldn’t bear to look outside and hoped we could catch our bus before they removed the body. I was affected, but not like my wife Stacey, I could see her tanned face pale as Victor continued to talk. We began to tell him of our story of losing our son Jacob unexpectedly. The driver arrived at the car port a little late but in time for us to miss the removal of the young girl.

There was a time that we would be curiously interested and indifferently saddened by such an event. After all, these kinds of things only happen to other people, never to us. But it did happen to us, and to my wife, who is a nurse but could do nothing to help our unresponsive son who lay dead on our basement floor. The grief creeper nabbed Stacey on Saturday morning and held her captive. She was visibly shaken most of the day and into Sunday.

The creeper pulled the trigger and grief crept back into our souls. Suddenly and unexpectedly it cut through her heart again. She felt the pain, the shock, the unbelief and the terrible emotions that come when you are the individual that discovers a deceased loved one. You remember, you realize, and you relive the moments that the young man was enduring. It is horrific and it affected her, she hurt for him and carried the grief once again for herself and for the hopelessly shocked man. What a happy and horrible experience to have the best day and worst days of your life only hours apart. Victor would later tell us how he spoke with the man who was visible absent and in total shock as he continued to stay in the room where she died.

The grief creeper showed up in Mexico casting a shadow on a day that was enjoyable but sad. We bounced back and we moved on but we will never forget what happened on vacation in sunny Mexico last Saturday morning. Especially my wife, who knows the pain firsthand and must occasionally relive the pain when the grief creeper comes from behind the shadows to show his ugly face.

This is life with the grief creeper. We don’t like it, we can’t change it, we just live with it. The creep even shows up on vacation in a wonderful place like Playa Del Carmen Mexico. Who knows where we will meet next.



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