Getting off the Grief Boat


The sounds of the storm woke me up around 5:40 this morning. The rain was pounding; the wind was whipping and I’ll give you one guess what thought immediately popped into my head:


Of course, we’ve all heard the story about how the Mayan calendar predicted the world would end today. And then yesterday, I heard that it would be at specifically 6:21am. So when the howling wind woke me up, I did what any rational person would do: I immediately calculated that we had about 40 minutes left, got out of bed and started planning for doom (oxymoron?).

At one point, I actually considered waking up the kids and bringing them into bed with me so that we would all be together (because in a cruel twist of fate, this morning was the first time in a loooong time that all three of my kids sleep past 6:00am). I’m not kidding. I REALLY thought about doing that. And then I realized KJ would be seriously pissed off if I woke him up for this. And if it so happened that the world DIDN’T end, well, then that would be a bummer because he’d be cranky all day. And I’d be all, I’M SOOOO SORRY… I THOUGHT THE WORLD WAS ENDING.

I’m hoping the fact that 6:21am has come and gone means we’re safe, but I’m going to knock some wood just in case. (What if the “am” was just a typo and it’s really 6:21PM? That’s going to put a serious damper Fruit Loops Night.)

But looking back, was it SO CRAZY that I assumed the worst (don’t answer that)?

After the week it’s been? After this past horrible, tearful, HEAVY week we’ve had, spent hearing about funeral after funeral for children and heroes… the end of the world just didn’t seem that far-fetched.


Well, damn if I didn’t eat more Cadbury Mini Eggs right then and there.

Hello again!

Hello again!


I let the Loud One go to school today. Despite all of my world-may-still-end concerns. And more importantly, despite the fact that it is the one-week of anniversary of the Newtown tragedy and I spent this morning thinking, how can I let her out of my sight?

But it’s Pajama Day at school today so there was NO WAY she was going to miss that.

So she went. And now I’m holding my breath until she’s home again. Then she will officially be on Winter Break. And in a few days, it will be Christmas. And then it will be a New Year. A fresh start. A clean slate.


It’s 9:30 right now, so I’m pausing for a Moment of Silence.  

Oh God.


Like I said, a fresh start. A clean slate. WHAT ARE WE GOING TO DO WITH IT? 

After I posted my thoughts on Newtown on Tuesday, I was truly overwhelmed by the number of people who contacted me to say, “I AM HERE WITH YOU.” And it helped.

I really feel like we have all been in one enormous Grief Boat this week. We’re all together on a giant, mourning cruise where everybody feels sick and just wants it to end. But now we’re back on land, getting our sea legs back and we’re ready for action.

(Oh my, that was a TERRIBLE metaphor. Please don’t think that I for one second thought that was poetic or literary.)


Back to action… here are some things we can do. This is by no means a complete list, but it’s a start:

  • Create colorful snowflakes to decorate the halls of the new school which will be used for the students of Sandy Hook Elementary. Returning to school – new building or not – will probably be difficult for many of these kids. Let’s help to make it a happy, joyful place. Take out your Glitter Pens and go crazy.
We did not make these. Ours may be slightly less perfect.

We did not make these. Ours may be slightly less perfect.

By the way, have you read THIS? I would say grab your tissues but I know they’re already right next to you. Make sure you have one – or ten – ready.

  • Educate yourself on the gun control issue and take a stand. (That Wiki link was the closest thing I could find to an “objective” source.) Google it and read both sides. As always, be open-minded and respectful.
  • And lastly, we have Ann Curry’s #26Days initiative. Ann’s project encourages people to perform 26 Random Acts of Kindness to honor each of the 20 children and 6 school administrators that died at Sandy Hook last week. OK. I know. I have been very vocal about the fact that I am not the biggest Ann Curry fan in the world (#UnderstatementOfTheYear  #IMissMeredith) BUT I am a HUGE fan of what she is trying to do here. So, bygones. Check it out HERE and be sure to scroll through the photos at the end. And if you don’t tear up, I’m sorry, but we are not soul mates.

Let me tell you something about performing a random act of kindness. It feels good. REALLY good. When you surprise someone with kindness, you walk away with a feeling that’s hard to articulate… it’s like a JOY BUZZ. They’re happy, you’re happy, they’re hopefully going to make someone else happy…  and then RAINBOWS shoot out of your ASS. (<– that part is a lie. Sorry.)

Please participate in #26Days. Or if you dislike Ann Curry even more than I do, call it something else. Or don’t call it anything. Just do nice things.



There are so many ways to spread kindness… here are just a few ideas (you can find a full list HERE):

  • Give care packs to the homeless. (Toothbrush and toothpaste!)
  • Pay the tab for the person behind you at the diner or Starbucks or the barber shop. (I heard about a guy who paid the highway toll for the 26 cars lined up behind him… isn’t that awesome?? Bummer if you were car #27, but still cool.)
  • Thank your police or fire department. (Verbally. With a note. With brownies. With skywriting. Whatever works for you.)
  • Write a letter to someone who has made a difference in your life. (Bonus points if you haven’t seen or heard from that person in a long time. Bonus bonus points if it takes a little bit of effort to track that person down. Please note: I am NOT encouraging you to stalk your ex. I know some of you will read this that way. That is NOT what I said. Do NOT put words in my mouth.)
  • Say something nice to someone. (So easy! I talked about the power of a compliment HERE.)
  • Help a coworker with their workload. (Then you can BOTH make it to Happy Hour. Win win!)
  • Pay off parking meters.
  • Pay off someone’s Target layaway.
  • Pay off someone’s students’ loans. (OK, I’m kidding. Unless you were considering it. Then you should TOTALLY do it.)
  • Make a positive comment on a website or blog. (AHEM. I swear this is on their list. Not self-serving at all.)
  • Bring coffee or treats to a place where people are working hard right now (the post office, perhaps?).
  • Basically, identify someone who makes your life a little bit easier or safer or happier. Reward that. Or pick a totally random stranger and brighten his/her day. That’s it!

I’ve done the hard work for you. Now get to it.

PS. After you commit your act of kindness and you’re feeling all aglow, take a pause, whisper one of the names below and say, “That was for you.”

Charlotte Bacon  –   Daniel Barden  –   Rachel D’Avino  –   Olivia Engel  –   Josephine Gay  –   Dylan Hockley  –   Dawn Lafferty Hochsprung  –   Madeleine Hsu  –   Catherine Hubbard  –   Chase Kowalski  –   Jesse Lewis  –   Ana Marquez-Greene  –   James Mattioli  –   Grace McDonnell  –   Anne Marie Murphy  –   Emilie Parker  –   Jack Pinto  –   Noah Pozner  –   Caroline Previdi  –   Jessica Rekos  –   Avielle Richman  –   Lauren Rousseau  –   Mary Sherlach  –   Victoria Soto  –   Benjamin Wheeler  –   Allison Wyatt

We’re getting OFF the Grief Boat people. The families of these angels deserve our action.

Let’s start with kindness and go from there.

“Say hello” is a little weak… you can do better than that. Just saying.

9 responses »

  1. Thank you for this. I heard about the #26acts, and have done 3 so far. (Used the Starbucks one today!) I appreciate the suggestions and will do as many as I can. You have a way of tempering your humor with your grief that I find comforting. I am always eager to get the email with your new post, so I hope you don’t take a hiatus during the next 2 holiday weeks! Merry Christmas, Happy New Year, and know that ALL of us feel the same way about dropping our kids off at school…wishing we could just keep them home, hug and kiss them all day and tell them how much we love them…but know we have to keep moving forward and get back to some normalcy. If nothing else, to feel normal since we are blessed anough to be ABLE to. If I could write as well as you, I’d be writing the same exact things. And eating Cadbury eggs.

  2. I’ve run out of tissues! Can’t see these tiny letters on my phone through the tears.
    Thank you Kris. Wishing you and your family a merry Christmas.
    Let’s hope the new year brings in some positivity.

  3. I found your blog a few months back and have really been enjoying it. I’ve never commented before, (I always feel silly about commenting on blogs. I don’t feel like I have much to say aside from “Yeah! What you said! Ditto that!”) but your post today inspired me to do so. Thanks for being such a wonderful, honest, emotional, and funny (so funny!) writer. I really enjoy reading your peces and am thankful that you share your life and thoughts with us. Merry Christmas!

    • Mindy! Another friend sent me that same poem this afternoon. I bawled my way through it, but loved it. Thanks for commenting! Enjoy the holidays with your beautiful family! xoxo

  4. Kmac, I just want to THANK YOU for doing all that you do. As I’ve always said you have such a wonderful gift of wordsmithing! You really are so amazing and truly inspirational.

    I have to admit, I am still finding myself crying when I’m running around solo with no distractions or kids in tow, but your emails have helped me so much. I also panicked a little when E took the girls to a music show this week and was all texting her to make sure they made it back safe and sound. Hate that feeling.

    The act of kindness thing is a great way to feel better – especially this time. I do feel myself feeling guilty being happy and then I do something like that and feel so much better. You are the ultimate giver Mac – thanks for being so amazing and awesome! I love you!

  5. Pingback: Forward Progress… « Who Needs a Nap?

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