Hey, did you know my husband died?
I sometimes just want to start the conversation like that so we won't awkwardly just end up there after starting with a simple question such as, “What have you been doing?” or "What's new?" or "I haven’t seen you in a while, where have you been, etc etc..."
From there it gets awkward quickly. There is not “soft way” to deliver the news that I often expect everyone knows. It’s a fact. Not one I want to share so bluntly but sometimes I just have to say it.
The conversation happened today and yesterday and might tomorrow. I also had to email a death certificate to someone today as part of the “things you have to do after someone passes “ - also weird.
Basically, my life is weird right now. Yet I am still doing some regular things like work, going to basketball games, the store, etc. It’s like a fruit smoothy with a mint sprig in the middle - just not quite right. (And yes, I know that’s really random but it's the weirdest thing I could think of right now).
Daily, I ask for God’s help and wisdom in this new chapter. To know what to do with this new experience, how to show hope, light, truth, love and Christ with grace. On days that I don’t feel like having grace, I pray God’s goodness still shows up through the grit and weirdness.
Watching the news tonight, there was a story about a widow who decided to finish her husband’s book that he had worked on for 13 years before being killed. It was sad but inspirational to see this process. The anchor finished the story with a quote by Mitch Album, “Death ends a life, not a relationship.”
How true this is. My relationship with Josh is still part of me but it’s different and makes a lot of others things and relationships look and feel different too. Navigating the difference is another layer of complicated grief. Oh boy!!
As I wrap up the day a few tips in case you know someone experiencing grief.
1) If you know that someone has lost someone close to them, consider sharing this information with those they might interact with (once they return to work, a Bible study, etc). Always, make sure the information is public news but sharing the basic info will help avoid those hard, weird conversations on both sides.
2) Pray for family and friends who have lost someone close to them. Losses cut deep for family but also for friends and coworkers - this grief sometimes isn't seen as clearly. I know this is so true for me and many of my dear friends. I'll take all the prayer you want to send but honestly, we each need more prayer and encouragement.
3) It's okay to talk about it. Not always easy but still good. Grief shouldn't be a secret.
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.