Hi - I'm Rebecca! I quit my job to grieve.

death divorce/breakups job loss/transitions pandemic Dec 26, 2021

 In December 2021 I quit my job. Why? Because I need to grieve.  

 Me with Daisy Duke and Ralphie

So, here's the scoop:

I’m Rebecca (Becki) Feinglos (married name = Planchard). I’m 32 years-old. I’m born-and-raised in Durham, North Carolina. I’m a graduate of Duke University, B.A., and the University of Chicago, M.P.P. I've been in public service (as an educator and in government/policy) for over a decade, but in December 2021 I quit my job. Why? Because I need to grieve.  

Grieve?! Why?

Y'all, let me tell you: there's a whole lot of grief up in here.

Grief for my parents: I'm a 32 year-old orphan. My mother died of brain cancer when I was a child, and my father – my best friend – died suddenly on the very first day of COVID lockdown in 2020.

Grief for my marriage: I’m in the middle of divorcing my husband of nearly 6 years, partner of 10. We loved each other and tried so hard to make it work, but it was a toxic, abusive relationship. Issues of alcoholism, infidelity, depression, and aggression created a dangerous environment. I decided to end the marriage after my dad’s death woke me up to taking control of my own happiness and wellbeing.   

Grief for my world: I'm grieving for the world that was before COVID-19, like we all are. I, an extrovert, have been struggling with so much of the pandemic. But for me, adding in my father's death and my divorce on top of everything else? It's been really hard.


Back in the day at my parents' Durham, NC house

But like...a whole year? Of just grieving?  

Just is an unfair diminutive when it comes to grief. I'm not taking a year off. I'm taking a year on. My grief will be active. My passive grief so far as I've been working a high-stress job just hasn't been cutting it for me over the past two years. To be honest with you, I couldn't really tell you what I've been doing to grieve other than regular therapy and talking with friends and, you know, crying I guess. Today I feel so much sadness, anger, and pain. I need to do something with those feelings to process them.

Grieve Leave. It's rhymes. It's the act of taking time to grieve. I came up with Grieve Leave inspired by my rabbi, who lost his mother to COVID a year ago. He let our congregation know that he was taking a month off for "grief leave" leading up to the anniversary of her death. That struck a chord with me: I knew I was planning to take time off work to focus on my grief in 2022, but I hadn't named the idea yet. And so, Grieve Leave was born – again, because I like rhyming words (I started my career as a kindergarten teacher, what can I say?)

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.

Ok, so Grieve Leave. How is this going to work?

  • 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 this 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.


Let's do this! Grieve on.

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