An image of a diamond on a black background.

GriefSPEAK: Beyond a pain too beautiful – Mari Nardolillo Dias

By Mari Nardolillo Dias, contributing writer                                                          

She “wears her pain like diamonds” (Alpha), although she told me that she feels like she is on fire, and drowning, simultaneously. She wears a little black dress interrupted only by the glare of the jewels: the cabochon drops like a single tear from a fragile filigree chain around her neck. No one knows this cabochon was crafted from her husband’s cremains. No one can imagine.  

The days before and after the funeral are the same. The alarm rings early, yet still gives her little time to wake and help dress the children, ensures they eat breakfast, and double checks the lunch boxes that will travel on several different buses to several different schools. She toggles her time so that she is able to be at each bus stop. Next is the most difficult part of the day. She returns home to an empty house. She is alone from 8am to 2pm, when she lays on the living room carpet. Sobbing. For hours.

There is only one task that drives her out of her pain.  She rolls over on the floor, pulls herself up on her hands and knees, and reaches to the couch for support. She stands, grabs her keys and sunglasses, and strides out of the front door. She loads up the car with cleats, skates, knee and shoulder pads, and after school snacks. It’s 2:15. There are buses to meet, children to drop off at friends, and sports practices. She returns home to cook dinner. She puts on her coat, grabs her keys, and sets out to pick up the children. 

Once home, they sit around the dinner table, each sharing one thing about their Daddy. Next is homework, baths, and story time. Once heading to sleep, she is exhausted yet wide awake. She pours herself a glass of wine and falls into a deep slumber. She leaves the television on all night long for company. The next thing she knows the alarm rings. Early. Again. 

The only time she has to grieve for her husband is with me. Once a week. Here she sheds her diamonds. Shreds of glitter lie on my office floor. She misses him. She worries about each of the children, now without a father. She’s sad. Afraid. It happened in an instant. The unexpectedness. The suddenness.

Here it’s too much to handle. I wonder how she will heal when she spends so much time wearing her pain like diamonds. 


To read more articles for RINewsToday by Mari Nardolillo Dias, go here:

Dr. Mari Dias is a nationally board-certified counselor, holds a Fellow in Thanatology and is certified in both grief counseling and complicated grief. Dias is a Certified death doula, and has a Certificate in Psychological Autopsy.

She is Professor of Clinical Mental Health, Master of Science program, Johnson & Wales University. Dias is the director of GracePointe Grief Center, in North Kingstown, RI.  For more information, go to:

Dias is the author of GriefSPEAK, Vols. I and II.