“Take time to grieve,” they said. What does that even mean? I’m confronting loss one day at a time as your practical guide to grief and grieving.
What is Grieve Leave?
Grieve Leave is intentionally taking time to process the feelings that come with loss. It’s also a couple of rhyming words I put together.
In December 2021, I quit my job to take a year to grieve. Note: I’m not taking a year off. My grief will be active.
This is about learning how to grieve through lots of practice, and I want to help other people as I go. Whether you’ve lost a pet or you’ve lost your parents, grief is not one-size-fits-all. I’m taking a sabbatical year to try on different grief hats to see what suits me best.
What am I grieving for?
My parents: I’m a 32 year-old orphan. My mother died of brain cancer when I was a child. My father died suddenly on the first day of COVID-19 lockdown in 2020.
My marriage: I’m divorcing my husband. We loved each other very much but it was a toxic, abusive relationship. Issues of alcoholism, infidelity, depression, and aggression created a dangerous environment for nearly a decade.
My world: The pandemic has changed everything, and I know I’m not the only one struggling to cope with our new reality.
What will my Grieve Leave look like?
Every day in 2022, I will do at least one thing to grieve. I’ll grieve small, like going to group counseling, and I’ll grieve big like a 10-day silent meditation retreat in Thailand.
Every month I will travel somewhere – domestic or international – where I’ll grieve big.
I will go on this journey solo, except in specific circumstances, such as grieving together with my brother. I struggle with loneliness, and I think grieving alone will help me work through that fear.
I don’t have my entire year planned out yet – especially with COVID in mind – but I’m working on it and am open to suggestions!
I’ll write through a blog, with the hope that sharing my grief will be helpful to others. If my entire life had to fall apart, at least maybe I can help someone else who is struggling.
In the Media
Her father, a Duke doctor, died as she dealt with the pandemic. Now she must grieve alone, News & Observer, April 3, 2020
‘We believe child care is essential here.’ — A conversation with Rebecca Planchard of DHHS, EducationNC, May 10, 2021