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Journal

December
29
2020

A podcast for you

Hello all,
 
It's been awhile. I wanted to let you know about a podcast that Cathy Wurzer and CaringBridge put together. Cathy interviewed Michael sometime last fall about healing. Michael got to hear the final version before he died -- we listened to it together as a family. It was posted at the end of October, and I've been meaning to tell you about it so you could hear Michael's voice and words.
 
The kids and I are hanging in there, staying healthy as far as Covid goes. We had a nice little trip up north before Christmas to a cozy Wisconsin cabin, then good food at home for Christmas and a chilly backyard bonfire with my brother and family.
 
I'm finding grief to be strange and disorienting, rolling in as waves. It seems that some of the adrenaline I've had over the past five years is starting to wear off -- adrenaline for getting through cancer news, next MRI, next surgery, parenting in cancerworld, taking care of my dad, my dad's death last fall, intensive caregiving for Michael, saying goodbye, memorial details, paperwork, solo parenting. With a little less adrenaline, I'm starting to feel the grief more. It's still shocking to me that Michael is gone, with all of his big dreams and wise thoughts and his knowing me like no one else ever has. It was early January of last year that we found out the cancer was growing and Michael chose hospice, so we are entering the season of his last weeks. As much as we all want to say goodbye to 2020, I'll soon be in a new year without him and that feels hard.
 
I've been finding resources and support in this grief word even when Covid keeps us from being with people in person. The online group Hot Young Widows Club, made of (all gender) widows from all over the world (and they say, yes, we're all hot and young) helps me feel less alone. It's super helpful to hear stories, rants, things that are hard from other people grieving their person, from new Covid widows to people who lost their partner many years ago. I also took an online grief writing class from Megan Devine, who wrote the book, It's OK That You're Not OK, a book that normalizes all the many ways grief affects our lives. I'd highly recommend the book for grievers -- and for people supporting them. Both of these resources have reminded me that in some ways I've lost half of myself; that grief takes its time and I've only just begun; that our culture shies away from acknowledging grief; and that this deep ache -- and Michael -- will always be a part of my life. And that we can have a mix of feelings all the same time, which I often do, sadness and belly laughs with the kids all at once. 
 
Wishing you all the best. I'm grateful for you.
 
------
Blessing for the Brokenhearted
by Jan Richardson
 
There is no remedy for love but to love more.
– Henry David Thoreau

Let us agree
for now
that we will not say
the breaking
makes us stronger
or that it is better
to have this pain
than to have done
without this love.

Let us promise
we will not
tell ourselves
time will heal
the wound,
when every day
our waking
opens it anew.

Perhaps for now
it can be enough
to simply marvel
at the mystery
of how a heart
so broken
can go on beating,
as if it were made
for precisely this—

as if it knows
the only cure for love
is more of it,

as if it sees
the heart’s sole remedy
for breaking
is to love still,

as if it trusts
that its own
persistent pulse
is the rhythm
of a blessing
we cannot
begin to fathom
but will save us
nonetheless.  

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Comments

  • Jan Hayne : Thanks for sharing this, Jenny. I, too, am walking a grief journey right now. I'm taking with me Michael's words about healing ... creating a hospitable place for the grace to come in. Sending a virtual gentle hug to you and your kids.
    1/16/21
  • Tricia Kloeckl : Thank you for sharing Jenny! Grief and loss is hard and just want you to know I have no words for you today other than I see you, I hear you and I got you and I embrace you from afar...Trish
    1/10/21
  • Kathleen Laccinole : Warmest greetings to you, Jenny! It was so good to receive your recent post and podcast. What a precious gift that you gave us all...to hear Michael’s voice. Appreciate, too, that you gave us insight into your own journey in the past few months. Thank you so much. Love and blessings, Kathleen
    1/5/21
  • mary frances reis : I forgot to thank you for this exquisite and oh so genuine message. Is there a way y ou can send it to me so that i can share it with the other Sisters?
    1/4/21
  • mary frances reis : Dear Jenny, Let's at least set up a porch visit. As you grieve your precious Michael, we Sisters are in communion with you as we grieve our beloved Mary Margaret. She loved you and Michael so much and often spoke of you....I send love and greetings from all the Sisters.
    1/4/21
  • Brigid Ling : I think of you often, Jenny, and send love and peace your way. Your reflection here is so touching.
    1/2/21
  • Barbara McAfee : Oh, Jenny....Thank you for touching in about how you are traveling these days. The poem is perfect. And I just now listened to the podcast. How sweet it was to hear Michael's voice again. I am sending lots of love from that other river...the St. Croix.
    1/1/21
  • Ann Vogel : Jenny- your words touched my heart. I have been carrying them with me since you posted this. Your open, raw thoughts stir so many different emotions for me. It’s so easy to become automatic with my day to day life and experiences. I am grateful to you and Michael for helping me to wake up to my life. I think you are such a gifted writer.
    12/31/20
  • Tina Rieman : This was lovely. Thank you for sharing. I wish you continued healing, Jenny (and all who loved Michael).
    12/31/20
  • Betsy Raasch-Gilman : Huge hugs, Jenny! I miss Michael, too -- I thought of something I wish I could talk to him about just the other day. Ouch.
    12/30/20
  • Nora Paoli : Thanks so much for sharing, Jenny. I am so glad you’ve found some resources for grieving, the internet can be so great for finding community. I am thinking of you and family this holiday season and wishing Michael could be there with you.
    12/30/20
  • Lisa Negstad : Sending love and gratitude for this post and for you.
    12/30/20
  • kaia svien : Jenny, thanks for staying in touch with the large family that has come to love you all in such intimate ways. You are caring for us so well.
    12/30/20
  • Sherlylynn Pierce : What a thrill to hear his voice and listen to his thoughts. I miss his updates and the way he looked at life. Saying prayers for your family that 2021 will bring you many blessings.
    12/30/20
  • Kristin Nilsen : I’m so happy to hear from you! I’m so happy to read these words! They’re hard to read and I worry about you but I see you processing and functioning and being and that is good. Looking forward to listening to the podcast. Thank you for sharing.
    12/30/20
  • Karin Roof : Thank you Jenny for being so in tune with your emotions and sharing them with us. Life is lived in the present, in moments, and your experience is truly one of an authentic life.
    12/30/20
  • Molly Madland : Jenny, thank you for your heartfelt message, so that we can have a sense of what you're going through. And, for the podcast link and poem. I'm happy that you are getting support from others that have gone through similar experiences. I think of you, Isaiah and Grace often.
    12/30/20
  • Betsy Colby Davie : I was riveted by this podcast, Michael's words are profound. He continues to inspire me even though we never met. Thank you for posting this, and for your honest reflection here. This is a difficult journey, lots of different feelings indeed. All the best to you as 2021 rolls in. I believe you are right when you said in the podcast that it is going to be OK even if it is not always OK.
    12/30/20
  • patricia neal : Jenny, this is one of the loveliest, poignant, beautiful, broken, full-hearted writings. We've had two men friends pass this fall, both way too young, like Michael. Both, like Michael, well-loved by their family, friends and colleagues. The grief is unimaginable and palpable. I will pass on this poem. I wish for you whatever you wish for you.
    12/30/20
  • Jason Clampet : It was wonderful to hear Michael's voice after so many years. His interpretation of healing is inspirational. As I listened to him talk, I was reminded of a day in college when he and I were meeting with our friend Robin. We were at her house and Michael showed up with dried blood along his forehead, ready to talk about the environment or some other important thing. Robin stopped him to ask if he was OK and to ask what happened. He told a long story about riding his bike to Walmart and locking it up on the best-positioned sign, followed by rising his long, lanky frame up and into the low-hanging metal sign. But what has stuck with me for so many years was his four words describing his feeling before the injury. He said "so jubilant was I ..." and then ~thwack~ against the sign. I think about that line all the time as my signpost for optimism. So Jubilant Was I, as if it's a flag in the moon. What a fantastic line that few of us would think of. He was happy about the ride, and even after the injury he was feeling pretty good. The sign wasn't going to get in his way. Let's be jubilant.
    12/30/20
  • Paul Masiarchin : Beautiful words, Jenny. Sending peace to you, Isaiah, Grace. Blessed be.
    12/30/20
  • Christine Hurney : Thank you for this message and beautiful poem. I appreciated reading and connecting w you. I haven’t been allowing a lot of time for quiet reflection, but instead try to be always in motion. It feels good to stop for a moment. Thank you. I also applied to the YHWC. Xo Christine
    12/29/20
  • Jim Lovestar : Aye, Jenny. Your words: " And that we can have a mix of feelings all the same time, which I often do, sadness and belly laughs with the kids all at once. " So sweet and tender. My heart is blessed.
    12/29/20
  • sandy barry : Jenny, thank you so much for this post. Your honesty and insight are rare gifts. I wish you didn't have to grieve, that you didn't lose Michael. And it's just one of the many things in our lives we don't get to control. Thank you for showing by example how to live with Grace and Grief, Resilience and Hope. I'm sending you lots of love and healing energy. peace- sandy
    12/29/20
  • Liz Oppenheimer : Oh Jenny.... You offer up such important Truths here: "As much as we all want to say goodbye to 2020, I'll soon be in a new year without him and that feels hard." And yes, it is okay to not be okay. I'm so glad/relieved you have found support from an online group of young hot widows--I imagine Michael nodding his head and grinning. Thank you for letting so many of us witness you and accompany you this way, infrequent or often, through Zoom or in the written word. We travel together and apart, criss-crossing our trails in spring, summer, fall, winter. Tenderly, Liz
    12/29/20
  • greg mott : beautiful poem, and so true jenny, i've come to understand healing to mean fully accepting that all the joys and sorrows will remain with me/us always, and finding the courage to carry on.
    12/29/20
  • Debra Fisher Goldstein : Thank you, Jenny. Your sharing is helpful to all, and is being passed onto a friend. Wishing you more and more love.
    12/29/20
  • Julie Delene : oh Jenny so good to hear from you. I'm also grateful to hear you and kids are doing ok. And thank you for the grief resources. I'm making friends with grief too as my parents near transition, I'm their caretaker.
    12/29/20
  • Patricia McMorrow : So happy for this update and to hear Michael’s voice in the podcast. Miss, miss, miss, miss him. Also glad to hear you are taking a little care of — you. Very necessary, and for sure what he would have liked to see. Xox
    12/29/20
  • Elizabeth Barnard : Oh, what a perfect poem! I think of you often, Jenny, though you'd never know it. Amazingly, you're almost through the "year of firsts." and then the work continues, as life continues. Much love to you. EB
    12/29/20
  • Sonia Brummer : Thank you for this update. Strange and disorientating, I think we can all relate to you on that! The adrenaline wearing off - fascinating experience. Sounds very hard. I can't wait to check out the podcast. I'm going to borrow that Blessing and share it with some others who are grieving. It is very beautiful.
    12/29/20
  • Cheryl Persigehl : Thank you, Jenny. Grace, Isaiah and you remain in my daily prayers.
    12/29/20
  • Christine Capra : Thank you Jenny, for your grieving, and for carrying Michael . . .
    12/29/20