What a week! I don't what it is that has me so emotionally crazy this week. The obvious answer is, "It's just grief!" But still I feel a lot more up and down than usual. I'm really missing everything about Josh and I've had to do some paperwork clean up lately that means I have to repeat what happened a few months ago. It's a new year, and I want a clean slate but that's not really possible. There's still a lot to figure out.
Tonight, I decided to take a big step and go to GriefShare. I know it's good for me to do. I know being around a community of people also grieving is good, and I know the material will help give me additional support in the process. Knowing all of these things, doesn't make it easy and in lots of ways, I still didn't want to show up. Yet, that is part of the process.
I have so often talked about grief being a community effort that it would be opposite encouragement to recommend avoiding GriefShare - so I won't. But, to provide some more honesty and perspective, here's an perspective of my experience. In bold are my main thoughts, followed by more details.
What do I say when it's my turn to introduce myself and my reason for being there?"
I thought I would be able to say more but only got out the words, "Hi, I'm Jennifer and my husband passed away in September ....." - then I began to cry so I was done talking. I did say more later in the group discussion but that first question really got me!!
People are grieving a lot of different kinds of relationships here (not just spouses)
I knew this would be the case, but I found I wanted to connect with people who have also lost a spouse because that is unique for me right now. Yes, I have walked through the loss of a mother, brother and grandfather and step-grandmother, but the one that's really rooted deep right now is my spouse.
The material was simple, but good
There were several things I connected with in the curriculum and in the video testimonials. But these were also so rapid fire, it was almost too much to soak in. I wrote down phrases that stood out like, "It felt like I was looking at life through jello," and "There's no timeline on grief." One line they used was "do the next right thing!" which immediately had me thinking about Frozen II and the blog post I wrote titled, "Grief on the Big Screen."
I am in this season, step by step. The next right thing for me this week included attending GriefShare.
More people should do GriefShare sooner
In the group, there were people who had fresh grief and grief that has been tucked away for years. That is the hard part of the group. In in some ways want to help the people who are just now dealing with it after many years of business and continued sorrow. The challenge is that I am attending seeing encouragement for my current story. Yes, I can help others in the process but how navigating this is a new kind of tricky.
I need ice cream
Although, I am on a diet. The moment I got in the car, I thought, "I need ice cream." So I went and got some. Maybe not a great choice but it tasted real good! Maybe it was like a reward, maybe it was just a weird way to cope with two hours of sitting in a room of emotion. But I am giving myself permission to not stress over that decision here and now.
I guess, I'll go again
I talked briefly to another lady who lost her husband even more recently. I even gave her a hug - which is not normal for me and said, "See you next week." I'm going to commit to trying this for the next few weeks - at least. It would be easy to not go back but better for me, and others, to keep trying to keep engaging in this grief process.
Hi! It's Jenn Brown, writing my story that is now slightly different as we enter a season of new grief. On September 30, 2019, my dear husband Josh passed away after battling brain cancer.