My life has been turned upside down and inside out for the past twelve years. The word comfort seemed contradictory to the reality of life. How do we even define comfort? As a nurse the term comfort measures is one of the options for end of life living. This designation indicates that the patient has lived her life and death is near; a miracle is needed to bring back life.
There was not a comfortable moment in the writing of my book Who is Talking Out of My Head-Grief as an Out of Body Experience, other than knowing I had to do it. I had been given a story, I had had to live through a story, and I knew that I was supposed to share it. In many ways, I became the reluctant author.
What were the hurdles faced?
Fear of the outcome, fear of vulnerability—why would I put my struggles of grief out there for anyone else to see or to judge? Why? Because, when I was in the darkest of places, I wanted to hear from someone else who had gone through such pain and lived. The biggest hurdles were to believe that I could do it, to believe that I had been called to write it and to relinquish the outcome to God. The next big hurdle was to start. I knew God had asked me to share my story, but what did that mean? Obedience was the motivator to get me moving. And so I began typing. I started to take writing courses. Some days the words flowed, and many days the tears flowed more heavily than the words. It took three years to get to the point where I felt I could begin to think of publishing. And then I asked for professional help to edit the manuscript. If I was going to put the book out, I wanted it to be well done. I began to understand the need to be comfortable in my own skin, in my own story of loss. Most importantly I also experienced the comfort of a God who walks alongside.
“I now see how owning our story and loving ourselves through that process is the bravest thing that we will ever do.” ― Brené Brown
What were the results?
As I wrote my way through the experience of the sudden loss of two beautiful children, God and I wrestled on the Big Issues. I became a student of The Meaning of Life 101, following the journey of the questions. My appreciation for the bigger picture of life and its beauty increased tremendously. The most impactful results were the connections with others who had also experienced significant loss. A most recent affirmation came last month when an aboriginal woman, who had been a foster teenager in my sister's house some forty years ago, asked if she could meet me. Doris had lived through many horror stories herself. My sister had given Doris a copy of my book for her 55th birthday. Doris wanted to thank me personally for writing. She was very nervous to meet us, waiting outside in her vehicle until her grandson, who had driven her told her she could not stall any longer. We welcomed her with hugs and coffee.
She looked at me and said, “I have to tell you, that I have not read a book since high school, and I could not put your book down. Even when I went to Bingo I took it along, and in between the calling of numbers I continued to read. I think I have had this sadness for so long, that I had forgotten how to laugh. Your words brought hope.” Her words moved me.
You have all this evidence confirmed by your own eyes and ears. Shouldn't you be talking about it? Isaiah: 48, The Message
How do I continue to step out of my comfort zone? Life gets busy and I am private about my story, but when the spirit nudges me to share my words with people, I want to be open. One thing I hope to do is to end the six month hiatus I have taken from my Wordpress blog site. I'm still learning to be willing to share things I've learned along the way, to be sensitive to the journey others are on, to be willing to enter into their pain, and to be a walking reminder that there is much beauty and joy in this world.
Jocelyn is the author of Who is Talking Out of My Head-Grief as an Out of Body Experience. She is a seeker of beauty, a grandmother and world traveller-wanna-be.