What I’m learning about grief, faith and love.


Every day is different. Some days I’m ok. Other days I can’t quit crying. It strikes when it wants.

You think you know how people who have lost someone feel, but you don’t, not until you walk in those shoes.

I always have my brother on my mind.  I really miss him.  It’s still so hard to comprehend that he is not here anymore.

Where is he?  I know he is no longer physically here, but where is Paul?  I always feel like I want signs.  Signs of what?  I’m not really sure, but signs of him, somehow.


Some of my family and I have been witnesses to a red dragonfly.  I’ve never seen one before, but my sister had one sit next to her on a branch for 30 minutes.  It even shooed away another bug and flew back to be by her.  I wanted so much to see that dragonfly, for it to somehow be Paul.  It never happened, and then it did.  Out on a run, a red dragonfly flew right past me.  I couldn’t believe it.   Then my niece saw one in another location.  I wouldn’t think much of it, but I want it to be true.  I want it to be my brother.

My sister sent me this article she found on red dragonflies.


Today on my run, I was feeling really sad.  It’s hard to cry and run and try to breathe, but that’s what happens.  I can’t control when it will come.  I started telling him how much I miss him, how my heart is so broken, and how there is this unfillable space in me.  I told him over and over how much I love him. On the last stretch of the run, I ran through a cloud of dragonflies.  Not red ones, but there must have been 100 of them.  I stopped, threw my arms up in the air, and told my brother again how much I loved him and thank you for bringing all his friends to buzz around me.  You want so much to believe anything.  That everything is a sign from your loved one.  I have no idea if any of it is anything at all, but I’m believing that it is.  Lastly, when I was stretching, a lone dragonfly flew across my head and I swear I heard it say Lapsch.  That is a childhood thing we all used to say. And it flew off laughing.  That made me smile.

Thanks, Paul, I think.

I would consider myself a spiritual person, I do believe in something greater than me, yet that has totally come into question since my brother died.  Is any of what I ever thought true?  And why am I always wanting to know where he is.  Nothing seems to make sense anymore in regards to this:

I don’t believe in Heaven, or hell for that matter.  I do at times sense his energy around me, but what is that?  I talk to him all the time in my head and imagine conversations we are having.

I want to know he is ok, that I will be ok, that all who loved him will be ok.

  • Is he somewhere or nowhere?
  • Is he just now gone forever?
  • How is that possible?

It’s so completely impossible to wrap my head around.  There is some deep need to know, something.  Anything.  Are you ok, Paul?  That’s all I really want to know I think.  Did you know how much I loved you?  I keep telling you all the time.  Can you hear me?  I want so much to feel your touch on my shoulder, telling me, Speth, it’s all ok, I”m good.  I fantasize about that all the time.

I spend as much of my days outside as possible because there is life.  It’s all around me.  It’s not death.  Where are you?  How do I talk to you?  Why did you leave?  What the fuck is going on?
One day when I was out running I felt that you were in everything.  You were in the flowers, the mountains, the bird song, the wind.  I felt I was part of all that too and that’s how we are still together.  We are in it all.  But are we?  It makes zero sense.  Is it all made up in my head? Does it matter if it offers me comfort?

I imagine you fishing with Grandpa Arnie.  I see you running through fields with Pepper. I see you making everyone laugh. I see you smiling and pulling jokes on everyone.  I hope this is true.

I wish I had answers.  I have accepted that you are not here but I still don’t feel any better. Maybe I don’t need to know. But I feel like I really want to. I just miss you so much.

And I’m so very thankful I got to be your sister. Wow. That’s so great.

I’ve also felt that now I am understanding the depths of love. How could I feel so much pain, if I didn’t love you so much?  That is a gift.  The biggest, saddest, best gift ever.

I miss you Pauiliewogs and I hope you are having a blast, where ever you are.

Your sister,


For those who don’t know the origin of my nickname, it came because my brother could not think of anything mean to rhyme with Beth. So he came up with a specimen of a person + Beth = Speth.

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