BW 055- Discovering Spirit: Navigating Loss and Transformation

widow interview Nov 06, 2023

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The Transcript is below

 Content Warning: Accident, anxiety, alcohol , death

Jenna Wilson was working as a licensed midwife in Southern California when her husband of just a year and a half died on impact when the powered hang glider he flied crashed for unknown reasons. Jenna experienced acute shock and grief as she navigated this loss in the context of also being a new mother.

Jenna recommends:

  • Find support

  • Creates the space and the movement to do something different.

  • Keep on going


  • Growth mindset


''There's grief, and there's tragedy, and loss, and that doesn't have to be all of it''

''there are choices in how we respond to the things that happen in our lives. And,  everyone makes,   the choice that they Feel is available to them.''

The Brave Widow Community is a place where you can connect with other widows, find hope and healing, and begin to dream again for the future.  Learn more at  


Hey guys, I’m Emily Jones

I was widowed at age 37, one month shy of our 20 year wedding anniversary.  Nathan and I have four beautiful children together.  My world was turned completely upside down when I lost him.  With faith, community, and wisdom from others, I’ve been able to find hope, joy, and dream again for the future.  I want to help others do the same, too!



Twitter | @brave_widow

Instagram | @brave_widow

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YouTube | @bravewidow


[00:00:00] Hey, welcome to episode number 55 of the Brave Widow Show. Today we talk with Jenna Wilson, and I'm going to introduce her in just a second, but I want to mention a couple of things that she talks about. one is that she used Certain types of behaviors to numb herself during the grieving process the first couple of years and two is that she felt very isolated and alone, not that she didn't have people around her, but that she wasn't surrounded by other widows who truly understand in their own way what her journey meant, what her loss meant, and how this had changed and impacted her. So I want to encourage you that if you are isolated and alone, if you don't have a community, you don't have a support group, you don't have People around you who really get and understand what you're going through.

Then I would love for you to come join the Brave Widow membership community and find your tribe of people. Find other amazing [00:01:00] widows to connect with, to talk with. We have live events that happen multiple times a month. We get on calls and talk with each other. We laugh, we cry, we do all kinds of stuff.

It's really a great community of women and widows who want to support each other, encourage each other and be there whenever you need a listening ear. So don't go through your grief and healing journey alone. Find a good community. And if you haven't found one or you're looking for a place to call home, I would love for you to come and check out the Brave Widow community.

You can find it at slash join, J O I N. All right, let me introduce you to Jenna. Jenna Wilson was working as a licensed midwife in Southern California when her husband of just a year and a half died on impact when the powered hang glider he flied crashed for unknown reasons. Jenna experienced acute shock and grief as she navigated this loss in the context of also being a new mother.

Just days after the accident, she experienced several [00:02:00] incredible synchronicities that felt like spiritual communication. Since then, Jenna has trained with teachers and guides to deepen her connection with the spirit realm. She now works with widows as well as new families to understand their soul journey.

Free themselves from fear and unhealthy habits and make the most of the time we have here. Jenna has a beautiful spirit and presence, and I just know you're going to enjoy our conversation as much as I did.

Emily Jones: Hey everybody. Welcome back to another episode of the brave widow show today. I have a special guest, Jenna Wilson, and I'm excited for you to hear from her and the insights that she's going to share. So Jenna, thank you so much for coming on the show today and welcome.

Jenna Wilson: Thank you. Thank you for having me.

Emily Jones: Absolutely. I know our audience is going to be curious about you. So if you don't mind, if you would share some of your background and what it is that you do, then we can walk through your story and, see what you have to share today.

Jenna Wilson: Absolutely. Hi, welcome everybody. My heart is with all the [00:03:00] listeners.

I think most of us are here probably because of loss and just taking a moment to Connect with everyone's unique story in that way. I found myself widowed with a 15 month old. I was working as a midwife at the time in 2016. I was literally working as a midwife at a birth when my husband was flying an aircraft called a powered hang glider and it was actually his first solo flight.

He was training in that aircraft and weeks later, I got the report from the National Transportation Safety Board. They investigate all crashes and, it was just we, something happened. 90 percent of air, airplane crashes are chalked up to pilot error, so I will never know exactly what happened.

Emily Jones: And that has to be, do you feel like that plays a role in your grief? [00:04:00] Just not knowing exactly if it was an error or a freak thing just happened or?

Jenna Wilson: Absolutely. Yeah, it's less, like on my mind now, it's been in just a few months, it'll be seven years. so it's the acute kind of wondering and just that thing our human brains do of like trying to make sense of something we want to know as much about it as we can.

And so I definitely had a phase of my grief that was probably borderline manic where I was doing my own investigation. There was this, these springs on the plane that break, Frequently, and I knew that he was like trying to get a spring replaced, and I had a broken one and I was literally like trying to find out, did he go to Ace Hardware and buy one?

And, definitely had a big phase of trying to figure Things out. there was also some people involved in building the plane and kind of [00:05:00] training my husband that I at first we like we were all in the grief together. And they were, these people were friends, of my husband, and then there was a phase of they did something wrong, they're the bad guy, but nothing came from the investigation as far as there being an error in the way the plane was put together, or anything like that, I was actually hoping for that, again, the reason, the re, Okay.

Okay. I can put it in this little compartment and understand it in this way. and I didn't get that.

Emily Jones: yeah, I know. there are some widows out there that really struggle with understanding exactly what happened or maybe it was a hit and run or maybe, something else that I think it helps for them to hear someone else that has had that as part of their journey and part of their struggle.

But so you are, you have a 15 month old, you're in the middle of, be doing your job as a midwife. You get that news. And then, that, that had to just be incredibly overwhelming the next few months and maybe even year or two for you.

Jenna Wilson: Absolutely. Yeah, it. Was [00:06:00] acute shock and grief. Many people listening. I have probably experienced that too.

 I got the call and it just was all consuming. and working as a midwife and having given birth naturally, it felt like a physiological process. and actually, a couple hours after getting the call. I was surrounded by my midwives and said to one of them, I feel like I'm in labor. And she said, you are, honey, you are.

 and I think that actually was a really Great Kind of like measure or just analogy for me to understand the experience And know that there's waves. it helped Almost create a map for me of okay This is where i'm at a few months later. So I was lucky enough to get four months off of work and Grateful.

I'm grateful for that time. Cause I, it was a, it's a pretty depressive time. It was winter and I just remember a lot of just sitting in my apartment, watching my 15 month old, just [00:07:00] being a toddler and just, Trying to get through, the next thing. It was like, at the very beginning, it was like, okay, what, literally what's next?

What's right in front of me? And when there wasn't anything scheduled, it was like this anxiety, what do I do with myself? And those, long evenings with the toddler at home. Just like the, my sights on bedtime. okay, when does he go to bed? So I can just let go a little bit.

 I did end up writing a lot. I am, at this point, it's a passive, experience of writing a book, but I'm working in waves on writing a book about my experience. In those kind of like winter months right after the accident, I wrote and I just got through what was in front of me.

 and then when I did go back to work, it helped in like keeping things moving, but Also a big part of just being with things got compartmentalized, honestly for years. And I can go into that maybe in a moment.


Emily Jones: and did [00:08:00] you feel like people were somewhat understanding when, maybe you weren't fully engaged or able to focus or, just.

I don't know if you found yourself a little apathetic. I hear that a lot from people, like it's just not the same desire anymore. Do you feel like you had good support there?

Jenna Wilson: Feel like the people around me understood. Yes. I Maybe could have understood myself even a little better, and reached out like I didn't have a lot of fellow widows around me for probably the first two years. I found out about a few resources. an organization called Camp Widow, which is really amazing, actually went to that event probably two or three years after.

And it was like this whole new world, oh, other people who under, really understand. Because I had people around me who was like, oh, yeah, Jenna's going through that thing. But they hadn't gone through it. And so the understanding was surface level. It was like compassion, but it wasn't true, [00:09:00] like sympathy and understanding.

And I do wish that I had been able to weave in some more resources like that. maybe even, have found your podcast, at that point. but that was also just, I think kind of part of my personal process is going within, And in processing internally, that's just something I think I tend to do.

And again, just noticing. The phases of that. I think and I what I wanted to say about the going back to work phase of that grief because it was four months after the accident. I went back to work. I love my work. It was so fulfilling and rewarding. And also, excuse me, in itself a grief trigger because it's these new families and like just, in the like excitement and glow of, welcoming a baby and these beautiful couples that I was working with.

And I call that phase of my grief, the where's my epidural phase. Cause again, midwife brain, just really relating to the birth process, as Like a, like [00:10:00] that map. and that was probably the hardest part for me, because the, it was raw, but Just so physical discomfort. I remember feeling just like I just wanted to get out of my skin And I did end up resorting to drinking wine Quite a bit never interfered with work.

I felt very You know ethical in that way but it went on. it was like two glasses most days of the week, which for a lot of people, isn't considered that much. but it stagnated things for me. One of my goals with my grief was to like, keep things moving. That's what the writing was instrumental.

And for me, it was just like, keep it moving. And, I think, in the big picture I have done that but there have been these phases where it's just not a lot of kind of like full body, processing or moving and the wine for me was like a tool of numbing and coping but created some Stagnation

Emily Jones: there.

Yeah, I love that you, are open enough to share [00:11:00] that because, what I try to help people with is understanding that there are certain things that we do sometimes to distract from grief or to numb ourselves or suppress those emotions. But when you do that over the long term. Those emotions and feelings that you suppress will manifest physically.

So you talked about having physical pain and probably aches and discomfort. And I think that's such a wonderful example of how that happens and how easy it is. on the flip side, you're writing, that was a. Wonderful thing for you to do and probably one of the most healing things that you could do, but I imagine those first couple of years were super lonely, especially until you started to find other widows and connect with other people and feel like, okay, I'm not the only one this has happened to.

And, hopefully it gave you some sort of hope or ability to think that there might be a future for you again. but how long was it before you really started to feel that way? okay, my life. Maybe my life isn't over and maybe I can figure a way out of this just

Jenna Wilson: despair.

I love that you asked that [00:12:00] question because the true answer might blow some people away.

And so I'm going to give like the kind of like pinpoint answer and then I'm going to zoom out to the bigger picture too. but. Honestly, it was several hours after receiving the call. So I received the call. I was scooped up from work by friends. they actually took me to the coroner's office because I needed Like I needed like official report.

I couldn't just take it at a friend's word, and so there was this whole process that afternoon into the evening of just integrating the news being surrounded by my Like work community friends and family. and then when I finally did get home and to my son that night, I remember laying in bed, sleep was like, no where to be seen, just like the nervous system and I was wired and probably crying at some point, but like maybe even beyond crying.

And I remember just [00:13:00] laying there in the dark and. Feeling like almost Matt was my late husband, almost feeling like Matt was telling me you are going to meet somebody and it's going to be amazing. so that came through really clear, really quickly. And I felt it to be true. And almost seven years later, I'm still waiting.

Not waiting, but I haven't. I haven't gotten there yet. I have done some dating and definitely have felt kind of phases of my heart, open and closed. but I think because I received that message so clearly and so early, it's been a thread of coping. I've, in the, darkest moments, I remember that and...

I feel I felt that with me the whole time and so that has been a lifeline, like almost that life ring of like I'm tied like and it's just okay, it's just something to, grab on to just enough to like, move me forward to the next place where I feel like I can. Stand [00:14:00] up and move.

Emily Jones: Yeah, and that, I could see where over time that would feel very comforting.

When you first felt that message from him, did you, was your first thought like, no, I don't want anyone else. Or were you thinking Absolutely. Okay, it's gonna be okay. It's gonna be okay. It

Jenna Wilson: was a mixture of both, for sure. Yeah, I've definitely, there's, it wasn't just Oh, okay, great.

Thanks, Matt. sounds good. Message received. Let's move on. it wasn't that by any means. but again, it's been like an undertone. but the ear, The irreplaceability of who he was is still true. and yeah, just the unique, constellation or... connection that we had. We were only together for three years, but we moved quickly in, we moved in together five months after we met, and we were pregnant, six months after that.

 and so we packed a lot into the three months and it was very clear and aligned and that's hard to find. Yeah,

Emily Jones: yeah, that really is. And it sounds like you had a beautiful [00:15:00] relationship together too, which is awesome.

Jenna Wilson: Yeah, it was. It was easy and humorous and, not, we weren't compatible in, every, subject, but we were both, we had both done a lot of work on ourselves, and so we were able to meet each other with maturity and compassion and kind of talk out the things that we needed to work on.

Emily Jones: Yeah. And that, that makes a huge difference. to me, communication and commitment more than just full compatibility and where things are always easy because you're always in sync. But so we talked some about how. Getting this feeling and this message from him has really been a lifeline for you, over these past several years.

And do you want to talk a little bit about what you do now and how you've really taken that and expanded on it, in, in how you're helping other people?

Jenna Wilson: Absolutely. Yeah. So my. like background and just personality, I think is really growth focused like [00:16:00] growth mindset. and I have done some work with teachers and done some training in, most like intuitive coaching, and really understanding people in having like a sole purpose in life. and I really shy away from the oh, everything happens for a reason. Cause nobody wants to hear that when they're, in really any stage of grief. so it's not It's not that, that I focus on, but it's more like what is the opportunity in front of us?

What are we being called to learn or grow into? there are choices in how we respond to the things that happen in our lives. And, everyone makes, the choice that they Feel is available to them. And sometimes that's, severe alcoholism or, excuse me, choices that, may be challenging and create more challenges in life.

 and my goal is to work with people and Even if it's just little, I'm another, a business coach that calls it like needle point shift. So [00:17:00] even if it's just micro changes of, instead of for me, one thing is instead of waking up at first things, scrolling social media, it's, like being a little more mindful in those first few moments of waking up and just tuning into my day and okay.

Welcome day. How can I make the most of this day? What's my. What's my main kind of intention or goal or purpose of this day? so that's like on the micro and then zooming out into the macro, helping people understand their experiences. And making the most of it, is one way to say it. just really understanding and creating compassion for themselves, for the people in their lives. loss and grief. can potentially bring out the worst in people. and I hear stories of even complicated relationships with spouses.

 I had a little bit of that. I had a lot of that with my dad who actually just passed a month ago. And so experiencing another type of loss and seeing [00:18:00] how It's different, but similar and just so much comes up, in these relationships and then with people and like the people in their lives around them and how the people close to us respond to their own grief and to our grief.

 so my goal is to really create like a sacred space around people where they can be fully embodied in their experience. Have some kind of healthy separation from Other people's experiences around them, and have that movement and spaciousness and, healthy expression of what they're feeling, so that they can move forward in life and still, one of my kind of like Email addresses and taglines is widow of wonder because I still believe that they're that quality of wonder and just like my son has really helped with that, like life is amazing.

Yes. There's grief, and there's tragedy, and loss, and that doesn't have to be [00:19:00] all of it. It can be all of it for a little while, like acute grief, for sure. I experienced that, I know. And, , being able to keep things moving will create space for that wonderment, for joy, to take up a little more of life as you are able to process the grief a little more.

Emily Jones: I love that. and widow of wonder, like it's been a really interesting experience to try new things and to walk forward in life in that wonder and eyes wide open because, A lot of times we just feel like a different person. our identity has really changed and a lot of times people will say they don't.

Like doing things they used to do or they're discovering new things they want to do. So I think it's just a beautiful way to describe that mindset and what that's like. And, it sounds like a big cozy blanket, like I'm going to create space for me and create a way where. I'm not taking on how other people feel about things or, carrying that burden, which is easy [00:20:00] for us widows to do at times is to take that on for people.

And I'm sorry about your dad. I had lost my mom in a March of this year and I think you're right. It, regardless of your relationship, I think it just brings up a lot of some of the same feelings and struggles that you had or, some mixed emotions there as you're trying to feel like, Oh, I feel like I know how to process this grief and loss, but then it's still very different at the same time.

Jenna Wilson: It can be really complex and confusing and yeah, and a lot and different types of loss, I feel like. Are really different in a way this loss was more expected and a little bit, further out of my day to day sphere. And so it wasn't as acute. when my when I lost my husband, it was That was like all I could do and it was okay, it was like expected and anticipated that, I wasn't going to be cooking and I'm grateful to have had people around me.

My dad actually was living, on the same property as [00:21:00] me and just stepped right in and washed all my dishes and, and because it was so acute, I felt like I even had more space to just do it. And then with this type of loss, it's been more in the background, which has actually been harder because it's been a little more subtle.

And like, why did I just binge watch these shows for hours? I should have been doing blah, blah, blah. I'm like, Oh. I'm processing and that kind of numbing or just like the grief. it's like there in the background. but not as Hey, this is you have to feel this now. so it's I think there's pros and cons to both.

But for me, I think just my personality, I would rather, I'm a little bit of an extreme, I think, of yeah, let's just rawr, just do it, and then we'll move on and do something else. And so to just have it be niggling in the background, has been a little bit more challenging, but I think because of Just being in it for so long and familiar with grief, I've been able to recognize it and be like, oh yeah, okay, let's, take a bath and actually cry


Emily Jones: I know. and I tried, I did do this for a [00:22:00] little while, but I know a lot of people will schedule their grief, maybe you're in a meeting or you're at work and you can't, you're like, oh, I'm. Feeling it well up. I don't want to break down on this podcast, so I'm going to wait until later or another time where I know I'm going to take 15 minutes, put on the sad songs, pull out the pictures, be in my feelings.

And then when that 15, 20 minutes is up. putting it all back and moving forward and that has really helped, I think, to allow a little bit of that compartmentalization while at the same time not having the same long term effects of constantly suppressing it and never, like you said, just like letting it out, facing it head on and processing it.

That's the only way to heal is to process and deal with those things eventually.

Jenna Wilson: Exactly. Yeah. Yeah. I love that idea. It can look a lot of different ways. I can see for me doing that. would I wouldn't respond to the structure. I'd be like, I'm looking at these pictures and not feeling anything. What's wrong with me?

 so just to name [00:23:00] that, like normalness and possibility to but absolutely in whatever way works making space for it and whether that's being able to meet it right when it does come up or scheduling it for later or it can look so many different ways the writing the movement for me like I call it rage cleaning sometimes of if just you know grief can look like anger a lot of the time so if I'm just like rawr and I'll just like clean stuff But with intention, like with the intention of moving emotions.

 so that's been a useful tool for me as well.


Emily Jones: love that you use it to clean. I should try that.

But okay. So

Jenna Wilson: productive.

Emily Jones: Yeah, I know. It's great. Focused, focused energy. so talk maybe to the person that is where you were that first year or two where, they're numbing in some way or they're compartmentalizing, or they're just, they haven't really reached that point where they feel like. Okay.

I want to start [00:24:00] rebuilding my life. What's maybe a piece of advice that you would give them or something that would be helpful. You think to that person.

Jenna Wilson: I love that question. First thing I want to do for them and invite them to do is hand on your heart and have so much compassion because if you could be doing something different.

You would be. And sometimes that's the first step, it's a little kind of cliche, but to just fully embody and acknowledge where we are right now, oftentimes creates the space and the movement to do something different. And then next I would say, find support, which I know is really hard.

It's easier said than done. and it can even be like, I don't know what, what does that look like? but to each person just looking around where they are in whatever kind of Stuckness you're feeling or if there's any little shimmer of light in one direction, go there and sometimes support can [00:25:00] look like getting a gym membership and oh, maybe it's that little accountability.

I'm going to sign up for a workout class. But again, it's about movement for me anyway. So where can that little bit of movement come from? Maybe it's, enlisting or, like enrolling in the meal kit.

 like HelloFresh and Every Plate and all sorts of stuff like that. So if, because overwhelm is paramount, I think, in a lot of these experiences of just, I just can't do it all. Yeah. And it's okay. You don't have to.

Emily Jones: Absolutely. I love that. who, who are people that would typically enjoy working with you or the people that you really try to help or that you work with?

How would someone know that they may be a really good fit to work with you? What

Jenna Wilson: would you say? Yeah, so I think I've said it before that, someone who's open to the growth mindset and, ready to start getting a little bit of traction in that, that forward movement in their life. And that doesn't have to [00:26:00] look any sort of way.

I, as a midwife, I have a decade and a half of experience working with families, like new families of all walks. And so I hold a really safe, nonjudgmental space. and my coaching can look like practical tips. And then I also do, Incorporate a little bit of like intuitive coaching, which can look like just talking about a challenge and tuning into, okay, what is the soul really striving for here?

What are, what is this person wanting to, really learn in this lifetime? so really being curious, even just like a little shred of curiosity of okay, What is in this for me? How can I, start like cultivating that pearl, or like thinking about it like a diamond, like this in this pressure system.

 what's the diamond that I can mine out of this situation? so that's It's the people that I really love working with and see [00:27:00] transformations really simply too. That's what I go for is simple. We're not trying to do a 180 on life in our first three sessions together. cause that's not realistic and it can be overwhelming.

It's totally possible. but I like to just be really gentle, and start with meeting where you're at. And start with safety and compassion, and then start working on, okay, what are maybe some little baby steps that we could start moving forward with? I

Emily Jones: love that. We'll tell people we'll put all of the links to everything in the show notes.

So people listening, if you're driving or mowing the lawn or doing whatever, don't worry about it. You can go back and find this, but, Tell everyone the best way to find you or to reach out to you, or if they want to learn more, the best place for them to go.

Jenna Wilson: Yeah, so I do have a website. I'm working on my business name.

It's right now. It's agapetheheart. com. So agape is a Greek word that, my mom told me about. And it's, you might know it actually. It's, I understand it as [00:28:00] like God's love for man, like unconditional love for humans. So unconditional love of the heart of each of you. And with that, we then You know, move forward in life.

So agapetheheart. com most of what's on there is going to be Oriented towards new families because I also am doing doula work and coaching for new families but there's a button on there where you can book a session with me as well as the links that you're going to have. so that would be a great place to start is just book a free breakthrough session with me and we get to know each other a little bit.

We look at like your top challenge. And I really am passionate about. Again, starting with those little baby steps. so trying to give you some practical tips and then just like intuitive understanding of what's happening. so that would be a good place to start. All right.

Emily Jones: Great. Jenna, thank you so much for sharing your story and your insights with us today. I've really [00:29:00] enjoyed having you on the show.

Jenna Wilson: It's been a pleasure chatting with you. Thank you so much and much love to all the listeners.



Emily Jones: Hey guys. Thank you so much for listening to the Brave Widow Podcast. I would love to help you take your next step, whether that's healing your heart, finding hope, or achieving your dreams for the future.

Do you need a safe space to connect with other like-minded widows? Do you wish you had how-tos for getting through the next steps in your journey, organizing your life or moving through grief? What about live calls where you get answers to your burning questions? The Brave Widow Membership Community is just what you need.

Inside you'll find courses to help guide you, a community of other widows to connect with, live coaching and q and a calls, and small group coaching where you can work on what matters most to you. Learn how to heal your heart, find hope, [00:30:00] reclaim joy, and dream again for the future. It is possible. Head on over to brave to learn more.