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This summer, we decided to visit Mississagi Lighthouse on the furthest tip of Western Manitoulin. We looked at pictures of beautiful views of the property and the third floor platform. We read detailed descriptions of the resident building housing the set of steps leading to the visitor’s powerful telescope. In past years, the purpose of this lighthouse was to direct boats away from rocky terrain and rugged shoreline. We could understand the need for such a structure after viewing the shore.

What took us by surprise were the many miles of washboard road leading to the lighthouse. When we realized the scattered gravel was laid over stone, the rough ride was understandable. Did we turn around? No, we didn’t even consider it. Why? Because we wanted to see the lighthouse that had protected ships from dangerous water and built trust betweenship captains and the revolving beacon of safety and life.

Unpredictable emotions of grief can feel like a ride over a washboard road. Noise strips peace and tranquility. Vibrations mentally shake off self-confidence.  Jarring motions separate stability from intentional purpose.

Grief can do all that and more. This is often the way we feel when grieving — life becomes unpredictable as we experience vibration and jarring of what may have been a satisfying life. And yet we continue to walk the path. Because we know that we go through it, to get through it.

Furthermore because grief smacks us in our tear ducts when we least expect it, calls out our sobs at the most inappropriate moment, and robs us of all opportunity to say and do what we would in ordinary time. For in grief, we do not answer to normal anymore but to the new-normal before us that draws us step by step into an unknown journey.

In our desire to reach the peace and tranquility of the old lighthouse, we had to drive the washboard road from the highway. Going out seemed to be easier — we knew what to expect.

Did some thoughts come to you during this time? Take a few moments and write about a few of the bumpy roads you travelled in the grief.