Tonight I embraced a new venture - a GriefShare class. This was a special one time meeting called "Surviving the Holidays," giving tips and encouragement for the first season (or even more) after a loved one passed away.
The whole way there I felt tense and panicky.
Did I want to go to this? No.
Should I? Probably. So I did.
I expect many other people attending felt the same. I was actually surprised but there were at least 40 people there for this special session.
The information was good and helpful, offering some practical tips and ideas for the holiday season. Encouragement to have a plan and an exit strategy if you find yourself in hitting a wall or "grief burst." I was also reminded that it's okay if you (or rather I) don't feel like putting up a tree or celebrating or doing all the same things - it's a different year. It's okay to do something different.
Following the video session, we broke into smaller groups to share a bit which as interesting. The group was good. - Honestly though, one of the harder parts for me was going upstairs to the second floor where Josh and I had been several times for meetings and gatherings because of his job – this was another layer of grief in the midst of participating in this event.
Before dismissing, all who attended joined back together for a special candle lighting. The GriefShare group leaders each read a small bit about a colored candle and item displayed on a table. I can’t remember all the words I do know the first candle was black representing the depth of our sorrow, there was also a pink one about our love for those who we’ve lost, and a final one labeled Hope representing Christ and our hope for the future. This whole moment had me and others tearing up. It was captivating and beautiful.
During the night, I shared a little with some people in group and in casual conversations but was really, really ready to leave - no energy left for lingering conversations.
On the way home, I stopped at Walmart and had to really hold my restraint from wanting to just kick overall the holiday popcorn tins that lined the entry way. I was kind of thinking, “I’ll show you how I’m going to survive the holidays!” Kick Kick Kick - at least that’s what was happening in my head.
Thinking about Christmas gatherings feels exhausting already. I don’t know what it will be like but do know that it will be different without Josh. It will be hard. It will be sad and tearful at times. There will be good moments and laughter still but a lot of things that won't happen. We won’t be serving together at church on Christmas Eve, he won’t be fixing a custom fancy meal that he loved doing, watching silly movies with me and so many more things. I'll be repeating some traditions by myself or with friends and also discovering some new ones.
For tonight, I took a step and survived the class along with so many others who are bravely walking in their grieve.
Whew…..Grief is hard work.
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.