Grief is like a Chameleon

It’s been a rough week. The week began with the discovery that my ceiling in a downstairs bedroom had fallen in. From there, I discovered a section of the wall which was so soggy, just pushing on it left imprints. I had to turn all water off at the main, and had to make numerous calls for help. Two different workmen came out to see the damage and quoted me anywhere from $2500-$4000. I’m disabled; I can’t afford such things.

Then, I finally was able to reach my eldest. He spent two hours on the phone with me instructing me to turn off this, then that, etc. He was able to narrow the leak down somewhat and was able to get me cold water operational for the downstairs…but none upstairs and no hot water. I was very grateful for any water at this point. All of this bending and reaching caused my body to rebel and I was at the point that even the slightest movement was painful. I had to move very slowly holding on to furniture, etc., as I walked.

Yesterday, after my son had arrived and began to tear out walls and run tests…which eventually led to some repairs…I had to use our hand pump to get some water. As I moved a pot of flowers by the pump, a bright orange but pale lizard appeared. He had black spots and sat there glaring at me since I had disturbed his little home. It could have been some sort of Salamander, but I had never seen such a creature before and the way he was looking at me was alarming. He was ticked. Seeing him, however, reminded me of a pet Chameleon I had as a young child. I loved that little guy. One day, however, he escaped and because of the way he could change colors, it was impossible to find him. His ‘color change’ was both a self-preservation attribute, as well as, a detriment. I found him dead a few weeks later on a book rack. He had taken on the color of a book. His camouflage caused his demise.

Chameleons tend to show brighter colors when displaying aggressively to other chameleons, and darker colors when they submit or “give up” (Wikipedia). My little buddy had given up. Some species adjust their colors for camouflage in accordance with the vision of the specific predator by which they are being threatened.

Image result for chameleon color change photo

We who grieve become experts at changing colors. We learn to smile when our heart is breaking; we learn to put on a ‘poker face’ when we are out in public and a ‘trigger’ gets switched. Sometimes, it works for us as self-preservation. We don’t want others to see ‘us’…to see our pain and have someone ask us: “What’s wrong?”. We do it to avoid feeling embarrassed by falling apart in a place not of our choosing. Although, we need never to feel any shame about our grief, we do. Society, for the most part, simply is UN-accepting of our pain. Sometimes, those that do ‘accept’ it will also pity us…and pity is not what we either need or desire. I read an article yesterday in which the so-called experts who have never buried a child have determined that if one is grieving after a specific amount of time per their determination are then considered ‘mentally ill’. They simply lack any understanding of real Grief so they have had to come up with ‘standards’ to make sense of it for their own satisfaction.

Grieving is NOT mental illness. Drugs they prescribe perpetuating their business and promoting their necessity may assist Grievers under certain circumstances, but they do not ‘cure’ grief. What we need most is support. Yes, talking about what we are feeling and experiencing with others who ‘get it’ validates. Talking about all of it with those who do not, and who will simply ‘diagnose’ us and prescribe drugs to suppress it is nothing more than a temporary ‘fix’. We don’t ‘get over’ the tragedy of burying our beloved child. The shame of Grief belongs to a society that is UN-accepting…not to the griever. What we need are more Grievers to become counselors…folks who ‘know it’ and haven’t only read and studied it. A Griever who has lived with it has greater ability to support another Griever.

2 Corinthians 1: (VOICE)

He consoles us as we endure the pain and hardship of life so that we may draw from His comfort and share it with others in their own struggles.

I am forever grateful to a counselor I found who was herself a griever. Her services were offered freely through a funeral home. She helped me understand that all that I was experiencing was ‘normal’. I didn’t need drugs, I was not losing my mind as I feared, I was not ‘mentally ill’. She also happened to be a Christian Believer who shared a verse with me that I laid hold of in my time of desperation: “The heart of the wise is in the house of mourning” (Eccl. 7:4a). It gave me Hope. No, it didn’t magically take away the excruciating pain, however it offered me the Hope that something good could come out of all of this hell I was living in. I didn’t have to ‘give up’ as my little chameleon had. I would/will see my son again. While waiting in this temporary holding pattern, there were/are good things I could tap into. I prayed unceasingly for this gem of Wisdom that God says exists in mourning. I wanted this heart to emerge from the shattered pieces of the heart that had been broken beyond repair. James tells us in Ch. 1:5 that if we have need of Wisdom…ask…and it shall be given. Daily, I ask.

Whether I need to fix leaky pipes or need a shoulder to cry on, I have learned to ask for help. It’s humbling, it’s revealing, it may be difficult to stand against a society of shame and predators. But we won’t receive what we need if we don’t ask.


(((HUGS)))  Jude Gibbs, Author of ‘Gifts from the Ashes’ available at: Xulon PressAmazon, Barnes & Noble and DeeperShopping. Additional international retailers:,jude-gibbs-9781498496728   Also, a Contributor on ‘The Mighty’:

Also, see a more complete list at: Please help spread the Word. TY! (((HUGS)))



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