I don’t usually invite a high profile person, whose positive attitude I admire, work I highly respect, and who I met on the internet, for coffee. But I did. And she showed!
When I started entertaining ideas of starting a blog and writing a book down the road, I began following more websites in the grief community. One I’m particularly glad I stumbled upon is Paula Stephens’ Crazy Good Grief. I signed up for her newsletter, “liked” her Facebook page, and immediately started receiving valuable gems. Simple and healthy recipes… because she understands short attention spans. Articles on health and wellness… while acknowledging that sometimes it’s hard to Do Anything. Main courses of getting out there and moving your body… served with sides of grief support. And not just any grief. She, too, survives the loss of her oldest son. Brandon was an outdoorsman. A Colorado boy. A vivacious kid who had just joined the Army.
Over the weeks, viewing her different posts, I pieced together that we have more in common than our glaring losses. We both live in the Denver area. We’re both remarried to husbands who aren’t the fathers of our boys we lost. And we both have subsequent little boys. I had to meet her.
We took turns sharing our stories. It’s surreal, by the way, to be sitting in a neighborhood coffee shop, facing a mom of similar age, engaging in conversation containing the words, Died. Coroner. Autopsy. It’s horrendously, almost laughably, surreal and at times I can’t believe it is real. It’s Crazy. Crazy Good Grief is aptly named.
She’s two years farther out than I and imparted some of her experiences. Asher’s questions will get harder as he gets older. Great—something to look forward to. When and if I ever choose to get out our box of Christmas ornaments, it will suck. Really really suck. Like with her postings, I appreciated this candor. For example, she has a private Facebook page
about how the holidays totally suck now I mean, about how the holidays can present difficulties to those who have undergone profound loss. In the beginning she had a lot of anger. Meee toooo! I was—am—can be—downright pissed, too. She wondered why her new husband, who certainly didn’t sign up for this sort of thing, stuck around for this hell trip. She was speaking my language. There’s just something about a shared experience. A shared unspeakable experience. You get the picture: there was a lot of relating. I could have chatted away the rest of the afternoon and evening. But we each had young boys to pick up from school—who were both nearly exactly two years old when their great big brothers left this world.
One regret is that I didn’t get a picture of the two of us, sipping our chestnut praline lattes (nonfat of course!), hopefully not horrifying adjacent tables. One thing I want for my blog is to be visually-appealing with lots of pictures, because that’s what I find I like in the ones I follow.
I got a new book recommendation, A Bed for my Heart by Angela Miller. I learned that a Blue Christmas service is a thing. She told me about interviews she orchestrated with mentors in the grief community just this past September called Healthy Grief Tele-summit; its archives I look forward to perusing. I found she is as peppy as she appears online. Aahh, fitness professionals. Seriously though, I loved her spirit. And I’m thinking it may even be a teeny bit contagious.