At Gulf Coast Getaway in Panama City, FL
A month or so after Jeremy passed away, I remember trying to read anything and everything I could find about grief and loss. One of the books I read talked about how the kind of widow you are affects how you grieve. Everyone's journey is unique but there are certain common experiences for widows. There are some categories that were defined as 'needing special support.' For example, losing a spouse when you're in an unhappy marriage, people who had very unstable childhoods, war veterans, losing someone to a perpetrator, someone who experienced more than one loss, etc.
I fell under two categories: pregnant and public
Because of the work Jeremy and me in the church, college, and community, I think I would qualify as "a public widow." And social media these days has created that platform as well. I'm not famous by any means, but my story ran further than I could have ever imagined and before I knew it, people from around the world knew of me and my situation. And everyone was following. Some still are.
It's tough to grieve publicly and feel like people are constantly analyzing what you're experiencing, or watching you non stop. But I think it's been more of a blessing than anything. It may be a little egotistical, but having so many people follow your grief journey really sets the stage for support. I've created an avenue of perspective for people who have no idea what grief is like. It allows them to see into my heart a little and perhaps customize their prayers and offers to help. This is a wonderful thing when you don't know what to ask for. I've had a few people tell me that the posts I leave on Jeremy's FB wall each night are the first things they read in the morning and it allows them to know what to pray about for me each day. What a blessing.
I try not to let the fact that people are watching really affect what I say or feel in this process. Have I censored some things?
This is just me. If people get sick of hearing that I am STILL grieving and feeling awful, too bad. If my crappy situation reminds people of their own mortality, fine. I have good moments, but there isn't a day that goes by that I don't experience pain of some sort. And I have days where the pain is almost as bad as the day I found out, maybe worse. But it's the support of those who have stood beside me on this journey that has held me up and kept me going. For that, I'll take the public eye in exchange for heartfelt prayer any day.