If you’ve ever spent time playing in the ocean, you probably know it is unpredictable. One moment you’re having fun jumping the big, yet manageable waves and then suddenly. . . a big one comes along . . . and smashes you right in the face knocking off your sunnies. The water carries you back toward shore or possibly knocks you deeper into the water.
It seems this is such a great example of the grief process, as well.
This week, I am on vacation with my late husband’s family. It’s been a beautiful time in many ways from the scenery to family fun and new memories. Of course there have been moments when I was reminded that the person who connects me to this family officially isn’t present, but these thoughts have been manageable. At one point on the trip, I even thought about how I have gotten somewhat used to the fact that Josh is no longer part of my daily life or the person I call and share stories with - other people get this attention.
Yet, a sneaker wave still hit midway on this trip during family picture time. I was doing fine for the initial large group shots by the back-porch pool, but then something changed inside me when the smaller group pictures involving Josh's brother and sister started -- and it must have shown.
My sister-in-law spotted the change, and asked the simple question, “You doing ok?” I immediately choked up and couldn’t speak. We left the scene, trying to find a distraction. A few moments later I landed on the front porch sharing more tears with a brother-in-law, along with the acknowledgment that, “Yeah, this is still tough at times. He is still missing.”
I miss him. We miss him. And our family photos will look different this year and every year from now on. Life in general will look different. (Even though I technically already know that!)
As I take strides toward health and healing, and feel stronger with each milestone, grief still follows me and hurts. There are times when I wonder if I will ever fully recover. Maybe not - but I’ll keep grieving on and enjoying life, knowing that there will be times when grief hits without warning. It might annoy me, but it is also a reminder of something beautiful.
The beauty that comes with the encouraging hugs and reminders that love is both deep and wide and is past and future. I also am not alone in my grief. And just like the spectacular sunset view that concluded this evening, there are new scenes being painted.
The final hours of my night conclude with me writing this in my solo oversized bunk-bed room - still feeling rattled by this grief wave. I know I’ll be ok, but am not feeling "top-notch!" Tomorrow's a new day. And God is still good.
I am thankful for this dear family that still sees me in the hard moments, hugs me, and makes sure I'm not wandering alone. Family that walks to see the sunset with me (sometimes literally and sometimes metaphorically).
It is a special thing when two families come together, sometimes complicated and layered but still special.
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.