A warm welcome to those of you joining our community, and a giant thank you to each and every one of you, no matter how long you’ve been in my circle of communication—I don’t take a single one of you for granted.
I’d also like to extend a giant thank you to everyone who came out to the Boulder Book Store a couple of weeks ago to hear me speak with my wonderful friends Kim Mooney and Wendy Black Stern. It was a powerful night, and I’m so thankful for you all.
Since that night, I’ve been thinking a lot about what it means to have inadvertently become a “grief expert” since The Secret Life of Grief was published. As Kim said to me over dinner that evening, we’re all grief experts. Once we lose someone, we become part of the club. It’s not the degrees or the fancy trainings that make us who we are, but our real life experiences.
I think that’s so true. I think there’s this tendency to put others up on a pedestal, assuming the “experts” have all the answers. But the truth is, we all have the answers we need inside of us. No one or no thing can tell us what’s right for us—we need to be the ones who decide that for ourselves. And it’s an ongoing process.
With my birthday around the corner, I’m once again reminded of that process. Yes, it’s been four years since my mother died, and yes, I still miss her. After all, she’s the person who gave birth to me, and it’s only natural for her to be on my mind and heart as my birthday approaches.
So here’s the funny part: a part of me thought I’d be “done” with my grief once I published my book. Ha! Kind of funny, right? A bit embarrassing, too.
After all, I’ve done the research: I know that anniversaries, holidays, birthdays are all big triggers in the grief world. I also know I’ve struggled with these markers in the past, wondered how to find the “right way” (as if there’s ever only one “right” way) to remember my mother.
But grief is a tricky thing, and it often catches us off guard in some way or another. As far as I can tell, there’s an ongoing rhythm to grief that we never quite figure out: a small memory here, a larger wave there, a friendly memory one day, a rogue wave the next.
Writing is part of the way I honor that, let the waves rise up and move through me. Writing is a large part of how I make sense of life.
What is it that does that for you?
Yoga, running, art or music fulfills that role for some of my friends. After all, each and every one of us is different, and what works for one person doesn’t necessarily work for the next. This, most definitely, is one of the biggest lessons I’ve learned through grief.
So even though dancing and meditating help me immensely, writing is what helps me shape my world. It’s what helps me come to terms with my past, as well as find my way forward.
As shame and vulnerability researcher Brene Brown says:
“Once you know your story, you get to write the ending.”
I find these types of containers to be so important, all the more so in our busy and often-overwhelming lives. For those of you who, like me, like to process life—with all its joys and challenges—through journaling and writing, I’m working on something new that I’m super excited about, and I’ll be sharing more about that in the coming weeks.
Is it drawing? Being outside in nature? Meditating? Running? Spending time with a loved one? We’re all different, after all, born with our own unique wisdom and knowing, experts in our own right.
As always, much love, friends. And happy start to Spring!