Oh the places widowhood might take you. Today I found myself encountering two different topics within my grief journey.
Grief Takes Bravery
As a naturally independent person - on the introvert side - I don't mind doing things solo. It's easier to hike, explore or even kayak without feeling awkward but eating out or grabbing a drink solo takes a uncomfortable step of bravery.
For some it might be easy to go out but for me it's different and I'm still exploring it. So tonight, I had a few moments and thought why not go out and have a beer. The funny thing is I am not really a beer drinker but in the past year I have been trying out doing things as a independent person.
It’s not that I am out there hanging at a bar hoping to meet anyone but more the fact that I am taking a step to do something that pushes me to be confident sitting in a space solo.
It’s different from hiking, exploring or kayaking and feels a bit more uncomfortable. It also not that I don’t have friends who could go with me but it’s just that it’s a step.
As sit at the table for 2-3, I can’t help but imagine Josh’s smile face across from me. We went out to many meals of the years, sometimes with drinks but really rarely at a pub - not typically the go to place for someone in a pastoral position (and yes there’s a whole lot of conversation that could happen on that subject but it’s not the point of this post). A couple times my eyes started to tear up as I imagined having my spouse, my friend sitting across from me smiling recounting his stay or latest success of woe of life. I blinked them away, trying to focus on the jazz music playing.
Sitting in this space solo, with no agenda except to try and live in the fact that I am in a new chapter takes bravery. Maybe I am bragging about this fact but it’s really just an acknowledgement. It definitely would be easier to be at home but it also wouldn’t have been as interesting. I enjoyed the live band, the coffee stout beer and watching the crowd around me. I didn’t enjoy the fact that my bestie wasn’t there but did also think about who might be there next time with me (probably a good friend who has been there with me recently also!)
Grief Takes Grace
My brave outing tonight did finish with an interesting grace challenge. Just as I was about the leave I spotted a long-time friend sitting across the room. He was a good friend of myself and my late spouse now almost 20 years ago. We shared many memories together, he was even in our wedding. I hadn’t seen him in a while and I knew that the distance of friendship was something that hurt my late spouse much.
I had expected to hear from this friend after Josh passed but never did. But he was a friend so why not go say hi tonight. I did and yea it was a little weird. He said, “Great to see you, thanks for saying hi!” Oh do you live here now. And we chatted briefly about him having a kid. He asked how I was doing a couple times and that was it.
I walked away feeling so frustrated.
I had placed the nice card that offered grace but really I wanted to say -“Why!?” Why didn’t you ever reach out again? You were a great friend who disappeared. And even now - you don’t even acknowledge the fact that you new my beloved? Almost like he never existed to you.
Now to give credit, my new friend - who doesn’t know these people - did say, “Maybe he just doesn’t know what to say so he doesn’t acknowledge it.” Maybe. But I don’t buy it. My grace is so challenged in all of this because I want so bad to define my last love. I want this friend to acknowledge that he indeed did miss him and that he was sorry he isn’t here any more.
This is part of my own grief process and I know it is a “thing” to want to almost avenge your lost love.
So how do I walk away In grace? Well I did walk away but I know I can’t harbor these feelings. I have to let them go and know that I make step to say hello. And that step is something my late spouse would have wanted to. The time lost over the years between this friend and me (and us) would have felt weird, even if Josh had been in the room.
And that still is the big challenge. My grief has changed my reality - it has changed so much.
With God’s grace, I am able to continue forward and open my heart to try and understand that grief impacts everyone differently. Some can’t even put one word out to address it and even if I don’t like that fact - I can as gracefully as possible accept it.
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.