Catherine Carlson uses her hands to describe the shifting states of her grief.

“Sometimes it’s kind of out there, like a cloud or a bubble,” she says, fluttering her hands above her head as she sits across the dining room table from her husband, Steven Carlson, in their Arden Hills home.

“Other times, it’s here. … Right in front of my face,” she says, moving her hand just beyond her nose.

When it’s right there, staring her down, Catherine Carlson has a trick to keep it from spilling into tears.