Here's a curious note for January 2024. I have a voicemail from my late husband Josh still saved in my phone. Originally, I received the message on January 11, 2019. I like to play it randomly. Last week, I re-listened to it and realized that it was left about the same time of year as now. Winter. A few months - and five years - before all the conversations of brain cancer began.
The recording is odd in many ways. It sounds somewhat distorted, and the contents of the message are unique. He called to tell me he had just finished up with a funeral and couldn’t meet me for lunch like he had hoped. It ends with a casual, “I love you . . . give me a call when you have a chance.”
It wasn’t the last message or text he ever left for me, but it seems to be the only voicemail saved on my phone. Curious indeed. Why this one? And why did I save this one particularly?
When walking in grief there are often odd tidbits that linger or appear. Re-discovering this message recently also made me realize that I had not written or posted much about grief or Josh in the past couple of months. The lack of posts doesn’t mean I stopped missing him or ran out of conversation topics, I just simply didn’t take the time to share my heartache. These lyrics fit the idea: “I haven’t forgot to miss you, though it might seem true.”
In December, for example, I could have easily written about:
Maybe I focus on the whole concept too much. I have heard people say things like, “I don’t want this to define me” or “There is more to me that just grief and sorrow.” These are true statements, but personally I also know it is important to acknowledge that this major event (and important person) has shaped me and will continue to do so. The deep sorrow within and the longing for a love no longer physically present are both key factors.
I expect this is why here in January 2024, I find myself listening to a five-year-old voicemail. And I still don’t want to delete it because it continues to offer a strange piece of encouragement and comfort.
As I have said many times before, grief is unique and different for everyone. There are odd things and there are deep sorrows that are hard to explain. There are times when you might wonder, “Do other people feel this way?” The answer is yes. And it’s ok. You’re ok.
I hope, as always, that this post offers some encouragement for you. It seems I still have words to share - if only for myself. When I wonder if the grief blog season is wrapping up, I find there is yet more to say.
p.s. If you are reading this and haven’t left your loved one a silly or nice voicemail in a while, I challenge you to do so and make them smile today.
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.