Sitting down to write a reflection of this September 30, and even now – two years later – it still seems unfair that Josh isn’t here. Of course, there's a lot about life that is unfair, so does saying this help? Maybe not, but it is a true statement that represents my feelings and others also.
Navigating grief has been and still is, an ongoing challenge. It’s like walking uphill in an elevation you aren't prepared for. It doesn’t escape me that today’s adventure outing with Erin (Josh’s sister) represents grief so fittingly.
On our moderate hillside Colorado hike, I found myself pausing way more than I wanted to catch my breath. We even deemed the term, " the mountain mosey,” as a way of walking extra slowly up the hill. I debated turning back at one point but powered through to the next level. In my mind, and out loud, I wondered often, “Why is this so hard?” Of course, there are some logical answers to this question, such as the elevation in Missouri is much lower, I haven’t trained for this, I ate a lot of carbs for breakfast, etc . . . but still it was frustrating; so is grief.
While you can gear up and train for a mountain climb - navigating loss is harder because it so often catches you off guard. Even if you have experienced grief before, each time and story is unique. What I have found is that once you are in it, there's work to do. Moving through grief slowly, with honesty and intentionality is helpful.
I still don’t believe our culture shares enough about grief. We tend to shy away from how we really feel, and how a loss can impact us so deeply. We tend to try and bounce back into our busy lives - without making much of a change. We quickly stop talking about how the loss of someone has impacted us or how it’s changed us - because it does change us at some level, always (or should.)
Navigating my own grief process ever still means continuing to step up that mountain. It might be slow at times and might feel selfish at times, but the reminder that self-care is not selfish is always good.
My grief and self-care “training regiment” is still a work in process, but today, it includes pausing for special occasions, writing, and taking time to be outside to explore and wrestle out the various emotions that still come with grief. It means talking with a counselor. And, it means continuing to remember the incredible, beautiful moments Josh and I shared while at the same time investing in friends and family who still surround me today.
This “training regiment” is still a work in progress, but so I am.
And I am sure of this, that he who began a good work in you will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ” - Phil. 1:6
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.