Within my grief story, on any given day I float between finding hope, joy and strength to sorrow, gloom and doubt in a matter of days or sometimes hours. Even during the process of writing a blog post this can happen.
Often, the emotions are heightened when I don’t feel well or am a bit sleep deprived. Today, the sorrow hit during my 6 a.m. flight from California back to Missouri. I was sadly crying into my pillow blanket as I watched the most spectacular sunrise during the eastward flight. There was empty seat next to me and I was thinking about how Josh should have been sitting there. I also was going on maybe 4 hours of sleep – the perfect combo for in-flight crying risk.
I know. So sad.
The contrast was that I was returning from a truly wonderful trip seeing friends, having seaside chats with God and enjoying some creative musings. My soul felt restored and I was leaning into the new and good possibilities of 2020.
Flying straight into today’s sorrow makes me feel like I am regressing or losing traction. Some people would probably disagree and even say, “You’re doing great!” But am I? How do I know? How do any of us know?
Even as I strive to navigate my own grief honestly and head-on, there are times when I wonder if I should be moving faster or slower. At times, the rush of our world flying by makes us feel like we are grounded in grief (We probably are!) or that we've just swept it under the rug for another day.
Grief doesn’t have to move fast or slow. There isn’t a perfect speed as it’s different for each relationship or loss we grieve. Big losses can take much longer but even a seemingly small one might trigger a chasm of unexpected heartache.
Being a bit tired of a cruising altitude of tears, I decided to watch movie and found Ad Astra on the airline App. I had wanted to see this for a while – I mean who doesn’t enjoy a good Brad Pitt film – and surely it would be a good distraction. Once again, I wasn’t prepared for a movie with a big emotional ending. This isn’t really a spoiler but by the end my eyes had teared up again on this same flight. “Gah!!”
Two specific quotes from the movie resonated with me, the first:
“He could only see what wasn’t there and failed to see what was right in front of him.”
I want to see the grief that is front of me but don’t want to be held captive by it or only look back. I am taking steps day by day to see what my own future looks like. It’s complicated, messy, tear-filled and more.
The final quote of the movie really had me teary-eyed - just in time for landing.
“I’m unsure of the future but I’m not concerned.
I will rely on those closest to me and I will share their burdens as they share mine.
I will live and love.”
To me, this speaks of the continue importance of people in our lives during good times and hard times and especially during seasons of grief. It’s easy to isolate when you are hurting or just at a loss of what to do.
Personally, I enjoy being alone but still like talking things out. In this new season, knowing when I need people around me is still something I’m figuring out. I am thankful people are close to me sharing this ever-changing climate.
I continue to share because I know grief is messy for all of us. It’s okay to be confused on how to even behave, to cry on airplanes, to laugh with friends, and to say “This sucks!!”
If you feel like a total mess, it’s okay (So do I!)
Feel free to send me a note or message, let’s talk about it together! I still believe grief can be a community sport - individual players with different stories working together to navigate new normals.
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.