I made it! One year! I have to admit, in some ways it does feel like I completed something, yet I am not quite sure what it is, exactly.
This October 1 feels very, very different than last year when the grief was so, so near. I was at a loss - months of caretaking had ended and there was a void so large. Some things from that first week I remember, many things are still a blur. This same can be said really of the whole past year. There was a lot of movement and emotional waves.
Here and now, my mind continues to process - all the things. While driving late tonight on my way to Dallas for a quick visit, I encountered a construction zone. The road narrowed, got pretty winding, and then suddenly concrete partitions appeared on both sides - seemingly too close. (To me, this makes driving quite stressful.) As I cautiously navigated this scene in the dark - there came a sign that said, “Use caution, water on the roadway!” I actually said outloud, “What! - like this is not already dangerous enough!” Seriously! Narrow curvy roads, in the dark, with barricades and now water on the roadway?
As I spoke aloud, I thought about how the scene so much parallels the grief process. At times, you can be cruising along the grief highway navigating somewhat ok, but then you encounter a construction (or reconstruction) zone where you have to work hard to get your heart and mind somewhat back in order or stable - then the emotions plow in and amplify everything even more - making for a very tenuous situation. The work keeps going from day one to day 365 and beyond. From my experience, so far, I know the roadway does open up again for easier cruising - but navigating the hard parts still takes patience and grace.
Heading into year 2, there's still a lot of work to be done in my heart, mind and soul. There will be challenges, maybe some set backs, but hopefully a lot of opportunity to grow and trust in what's next. There is a lot of good in this.
If I have learned anything this past year, it is that God is with me - no matter how tricky the road gets at times. At the end of a hard year, I still believe God is faithful. I still wish for a different story at times but I know that God is still at work within this chapter.
Let's keep drivin'!
I intentionally took off work on Sept. 30 because it was a special day and I wasn’t sure what it would feel like. I spent the day kayaking down a beautiful Missouri River (the Niangua) with a friend who lets me be honest with my grief in such a caring way - and then wrapped up the afternoon surrounded with longtime friends on a rooftop patio watching the sunset over Springfield. Even on a day, that has a hard memory tied to it - I found so much peace, joy and hope for my own future and a depth of gratitude for my life here and now.
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.