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Grief Is a Heck of a Thing

Written By: Lauren Howard

I did not have sobbing on Spaceship Earth on my April bingo card. 

But there we were. 

Both of the kids ended up on the ride with other adults, and I found myself sitting alone as Judi Dench greeted me warmly. 

I know the script well. I’ve been on the ride a thousand times. 

That was basically the problem. 

It was one of the first rides that I remember going on with my dad even though it wasn’t particularly sentimental to either of us. 

That said, grief is a heck of a thing. 

All of a sudden I was fighting the ugly cry without any warning.

I don’t know why it hit me right then when it hadn’t really all day. It was April 19th, his birthday, and we had gone to EPCOT very deliberately because it was his favorite place. 

The morning was spent finalizing plans to launch the mental health company that was developed in his name. It’s another iteration of the practice that we built together many years ago. It introduces fully virtual, nationwide treatment to the system that we created in-person and hybrid before we even really understood the power of telehealth. 

It’s in his name because we wouldn’t be here without him. 

But none of that was news. It was all very intentionally woven into the story. 

I could have picked a few places where I might get emotional walking through the park. His favorite spot in France where he wanted to have his office. The bench in Nine Dragons where we waited for our table on his birthday years ago, in front of which my oldest took her first steps as if he was holding her hand. 

There are places where I could have imagined feeling the weight of all it. 

This wasn’t it. 

And yet, there we were. It's funny how, even almost eight years in, I still think I have some semblance of control over this process. 

You process when the brain wants to process, which sometimes happens in the middle of Disney World without any warning. 

If you replay the photos from the ride that day, you will find one of a sweaty, seemingly unhinged woman failing to wipe away tears that wouldn’t stop on a ride about history while contemplating my own. 

I was riding without him while realizing we were going on this big ride without him. I didn’t think that would be the moment, but it was absolutely the moment. 

There wouldn’t be LBee Health without Lawrence B. Erlich, or as we called him, LBE. 

There wouldn't be any of this, honestly. 

So tears inside a giant golf ball in Orlando with British-near-royalty in my ears because we get to participate in grief, but we don't get to control it. 

Image by Brandon Mowinkel via Unsplash.


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