This Opportunity Keeps Staring at Me
Sometimes something falls on your lap, and it’s hard to ignore. It’s like a puzzle piece right in your face, staring back at you. More and more puzzle pieces fall and curiously fit with the first one. My name is Katherine Webb and joining Julie and the Grieving Together team is one of my can’t-ignore puzzle pieces.
This feels like the beginning of my writing journey, for public eyes at least, and I’d like to give some context for why I’m drawn to contribute to Grieving Together.
My husband, Brad, died July 2014 from metastatic melanoma. He was 45, I was 43. We didn’t have children mostly because I was the sick one. For the duration of our marriage, we dealt with my multiple autoimmune issues that lead to frequent ER visits, hospital stays, procedures, and the odd spattering of major and minor surgeries. My healthy, fit, rock, and compass died before me. How does that make any sense?
Brad’s death triggered my existing health problems and instigated new ones. Grief becomes physical for many of us and I was a shining example of brokenness inside and out. As I approach the three year mark of widowhood, the fog is clearing, I’m getting a loose hold on my precarious health, and my resilience muscle (thank you Sheryl Sandberg) is stronger than many people I know. I used to think that sounded presumptuous–as if I had any idea what others have gone through. I’m not claiming that. I also used to think ‘I am one of the strongest people I know’ was an egotistical thought but it has morphed in my head and heart. It is now the glue that holds the haphazardly placed pieces of me together—those slow crawling shards drawn together in an attempt to form a functioning human again.Through learning to carry my grief, I’ve also been drawn to how others carry it or, more likely in our North American society, how they aren’t allowed to or simply don’t. Somehow, I found motivation to reach out for support that eventually led me to Julie and other like-minded, ridiculously resilient women. Listening to and feeling the passion Julie has for her website–how she wants to grow a forum and recognizable symbol to wear while we ride the waves of grief–fanned the spark already in me. This is what I want to do. My health losses compounded with the mindboggling death of my husband have drawn me here. The days I’m suddenly overwhelmed with how my life looks now, I wear my black Remember wristband or ribbon. Those are days I want a visible symbol acknowledging and respecting my grief and maybe then I can guide others to give themselves permission to do the same.
Take time–Acknowledge your loss–Grieve together