The Visitor

By January 11, 2022 No Comments

To my mind’s eye, he is quite old and old-fashioned.

He wears gloves, a dark suit, a stiff top hat, and black, polished shoes. He is tall and skinny with a lined face and a dour expression. He comes unannounced, rings the doorbell, and then makes himself at home. Even if I were to try and force him out, he wouldn’t leave until his time was up. I’ve learned this from experience.

The first time I met him, I was young, maybe three, although I don’t exactly remember. There was a gate left open, a road beyond and a car that whizzed by at the wrong time. After that, there was emptiness, an awareness that something had changed and it would never ‘un-change.’

Over the ensuing years, he dropped in and out several times, but kept his visits short until I had just turned 18. On that sunny October day, he made an abrupt appearance at my college dorm. There was a John Deere tractor that went the wrong way at the wrong time. There was a rectangular hole in the ground. There was dirt.

As the decades ticked by, he continued to stop in, although his reasons for coming changed with the different seasons of life. There were many boxes, more holes, empty tables, empty rooms, ashes.

He came to call again last November, and he is still hanging around, off and on now. There are pressed flowers from a casket bouquet. There are colorful ties that sit on the ironing board where I write. There are two western shirts that hang in the closet, the last birthday gifts I bought for a beloved father. There are memories that twirl in my head.

I don’t know when my visitor will leave this time around.

His name is Grief.

Perhaps he is visiting you, too. If so, I am very sorry.

Growing up, when I was troubled or upset or anxious, my father would say to me, “This too shall pass.” I even made a little poster of his saying and taped it on the wall. It brought me hope.

Time proved my father right. Life does keeps going. Things do pass. Things do change. But how do you make it through another day when Grief won’t get off your couch.

I certainly don’t have all the answers, but this ‘saying’ of The Father brings me hope.

I will be your God throughout your lifetime—

until your hair is white with age.

 I made you, and I will care for you.

 I will carry you along and save you.

Isaiah 46:4(NLT)


A piggy-back ride from The Father is just what this old girl needs right now.

Be blessed, Friend.

Until next time…



Joy Cleveland is an author, histotechnologist, wife, mother, and shameless grandmother. She has published short stories, children's plays, and her debut novel, "To Call My Own." Best known for heartwarming and hope-filled stories, she calls Iowa home.

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