My week began ok but quickly derailed when I checked the mail after lunch on Monday. Opening a letter I expected to be informational, I found a life insurance check. My immediate thought, “I’d trade all of this in to have my husband back.”
What is the value of a life? Here and now, with this letter in my hand, I can easily say there is no value that could represent or replace my husband. It is more than monetary. 1 Samuel 26:24 speaks of this: "Now behold, as your life was highly valued in my sight this day, so may my life be highly valued in the sight of the Lord, and may He deliver me from all distress.”
Of course, insurance helps cover some basic needs as my life continues on and I am thankful Josh and I made these preparations before he got sick, but it doesn’t make it emotionally easier. In fact, receiving this letter had me shedding tears outside my house, in my car, by the mailbox. #flashfloodalert
This big iceberg of feelings sat right in the middle my heart the rest of the day as I returned to work and even went to a movie with friends. The movie: A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood, about Mr. Rogers.
It was truly a beautiful movie that hit on topics a bit close to home - life, death, talking about emotions, care-taking, etc. It's hard not to cry during this movie, even if you aren't already emotionally vulnerable but having cried about a lot of things in real life, movies don't always "get me," as I'm processing its relation to my life. However, one scene really resonated with me. Tom Hanks, playing Mr. Rogers, states, people don’t like to talk about death but “to die is human and anything human is mentionable. Anything mentionable is manageable.”
The official Fred Rogers quote goes like this, “Anything that’s human is mentionable, and anything that is mentionable can be more manageable. When we can talk about our feelings, they become less overwhelming, less upsetting, and less scary. The people we trust with that important talk can help us know that we are not alone.”
As I stumble my way through this grief season, through good days and hard days, many friends and family journey with me. Amazing encouragers who I can call and tell them about hard moments - like the day's mail or another grief trigger. We can agree that it’s dumb and hurts. Relationships new and old help to ease the weight of the grief ever so slightly.
Even though grief often feels isolating, I am also realizing it is a bit of a community sport. We're all still, figuring out how to navigate this, as it is a challenge for each participant, to know what role to play or what to say.
Here are six guidelines from my perspective, inspired by Mr. Rogers, for how to share in grief:
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.