Month 1 of Grieve Leave Down: How am I?
Updated: Feb 1
Coming to you live from Birmingham, England! More to come when I'll share reflections on my visit here, but it's been incredibly impactful spending time in the place my grandmother and her sister grew up.
I can't really believe it, but I've been on Grieve Leave for a month. In some ways, it's flown by, and in other ways it feels like I've already been on this journey for a year.
Let's recap and reflect!
How have I grieved this month?
This month I've grieved big by traveling in Montreal, Canada, Fort Worth, Texas, and Birmingham, England. I've grieved small by journaling (more below on that), and finding quiet moments to myself in nature and at home.
How am I doing?
I've been getting asked this a lot by worried friends and strangers, to be honest. So I'm going to give you some honest answers, here.
I'm feeling tired.
I'm feeling sad.
I'm feeling angry, and anxious…grieving the end of my marriage by traveling to Fort Worth, especially, triggered a lot of anxiety for me (more on that below, as well).
But I'm also feeling fulfilled and relieved to be working through the grief that has been weighing on me.
I definitely feel like I've done the right thing by leaving my traditional work environment, even though I loved it and I miss my team. Grieving is work, too.
I feel so, so loved and supported in this journey. My friends who are worried about me? I know they still support what I'm doing.
What have I learned about grieving, and what are my key takeaways so far?
Seek progress, not perfection
Everything doesn't have to be perfect. I don't have to share picture-perfect writing, or picture-perfect pictures…this is about authenticity to me and my feelings and process. If that resonates with other folks, great! If it doesn't, that's ok too.
And even internally to myself, not even re: things I'm sharing publicly, I need to remember that things don't have to be perfect. For example, I didn't journal for a day earlier in the month, which spiraled to me saying "well ok then I have to forget this whole thing" because I wasn't doing it every day…so I didn't write for weeks. I realize that this sounds a little silly when I write it out, but it's true. I find value in journaling, and I don’t have to be absolutely perfect in writing every day for it to keep that value.
I have to make time and space for fun while I'm on Grieve Leave. Spending time with old friends and making new ones, going out for dinner and drinks, exploring cities, laughing and dancing…this is all so helpful to me to not stay in the heavy space all the time.
I'm also finding incredible moments when I'm just relaxing with friends over a beer, for example, that help lead me to some amazing realizations about my grieving, or give me new ideas about places to go/things to do for myself.
Be gentle with myself and with others
I mentioned that my anxiety has been triggered as of late, especially as I have been grieving my relationship. I've struggled with OCD for many years, and in the worst times in my relationship with my ex, my symptoms were particularly self-destructive. Some of those behaviors have tried to take me over this month, and it’s not been fun at all.
I've also found that I've been quick to blow up at close family this month…my fuse is basically non-existent.
I hate both of these things. I recognize that gentleness and patience with myself and with the people I love is going to be essential in this process. But, I also think the grieving I have up next will be far less intense than what my first month has been like, and that will be good for me. I really ripped the band-aid off this month! Some gentleness will be welcomed.
What’s coming up in February's Grieve Leave?
Stay tuned for sustained time in nature for grieving. I'm also emotionally preparing myself for my late father's birthday on February 23rd.
One thing I'm going to stop doing next month
Holding myself to perfection
One thing I'm going to keep doing next month
Using my blog as my deep thinking space, and tends to be my sadder space, and my Instagram as more of a place to channel my weird sense of humor in this whole process
One thing I'm going to start doing next month
Daily affirmations…more to come on that, but this has to do with the gentleness with myself I'm seeking.