Our Story

We all have been impacted by the loss of a close loved one at one time or another, and most of us know what the dark days of loss feel like.

Back in 2011 our founder Julie Mjelve started her unwelcome journey of grief with the sudden loss of her husband.  What she discovered in the weeks and months following her loss impacted her deeply and caused her to work towards founding an important little company called Grieving Together.

Since it’s inception the dedicated staff at GT have had the honor of helping many people throughout North America and beyond as they walk though their grief experience.  With helpful grief support information and useful mourning products we at GT certainly hope you find a bit of help and support here while you’re on our site.

To learn a bit more about Julie’s story please read below.

 

 

 Julie 2Julies Story

 My journey starts…

Fam pic

“In July 2011 my husband passed away unexpectedly at the age of 42 and as the funeral came and went my precious friends and family moved on fairly quickly. As I continued to grieve I felt the need to identify with others who understood what I was feeling and as part of this process I often searched the internet for sites about grieving, just to see what others were experiencing. Of course, everyone’s experience was unique, but I did notice one fairly common thread.

The symbol…

People were trying to find some way to outwardly identify their state of mourning. Some groups were wearing black arm bands but I personally chose to tie a black ring 2cloth ribbon around my wedding band. This symbol came to be very important to me, and a significant part of my grieving and healing process for two very fundamental reasons.

1.  It gave me an outlet for my grief. Musicians write songs, artists paint. I, however, possess neither of those talents, and needed an outlet that worked for me.bb

2.  The external symbol identified to others that I was mourning. It served to announce to others, friends and strangers alike, that I was in need of a little extra notice on their part of what emotional place I was in so that if necessary, they could perhaps give me a little extra grace in our dealings and interactions.

                                   …It gave me strength

I did not always have the emotional strength to announce to strangers that there was a reason I was sad today. I did not always have the emotional strength to remind my friends and family that I was not done grieving, and was struggling to hold it together today. Wearing an external symbol allowed me the grace to be still and quiet and let my ribbon do the talking for me.

Today…

nnTime has passed, and as I have moved forward in my grieving process I have used my grieving symbol for one more function. I have used it as an emotional stepping stone of where to go to next in my grieving. Although grieving for a loved one never truly ends, we do need to make sure it also doesn’t hold us in the past. Having an external symbol also gave me something to remove. As in the past when a grieving widow might wear a black dress for one year, I too decided that after one year I could remove my wedding ring with its black ribbon wrapped around it. It gave me a tangible task to allow myself to put the sadness behind me.

                                   …Forget me not

I will never forget my precious husband, and I will always grieve for him and will always have sad days, but I do have a future here with our children and we are ready now for our next stage, where we can fill our days with brightness and remembrance of a precious life that once was.

Does anyone know where I can find a copy of the rules of thought, feeling, and behavior in these circumstances? It seems like there should be a rule book somewhere that lays out everything exactly the way one should respond to a loss like this. I'd surely like to know if I'm doing it right. Am I whining enough or too much? Am I unseemly in my occasional moments of lightheartedness? At what date am I supposed to turn off the emotion and jump back on the treadmill of normalcy? Is there a specific number of days or decades that must pass before I can do something I enjoy without feeling I've betrayed my dearest love? And when, oh when, am I ever really going to believe this has happened? Next time you're in a bookstore, as if there's a rule book
Jim Beaver, Life's That Way: A Memoir
“...you have to learn where your pain is. You have to burrow down and find the wound, and if the burden of it is too terrible to shoulder, you have to shout it out; you have to shout for help... And then finally, the way through grief is grieving.”
Jane Hamilton
When someone you love dies, you get a big bowl of sadness put down in front of you, steaming hot. You can start eating now, or you can let it cool and eat it bit by bit later on. Either way, you end up eating the whole thing. There's really no way around it.”
Ralph Fletcher, Fig Pudding
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