BW 074: Love Beyond Loss: A Journey of a Young Widow's Endearing Commitment, Till Death Do Us PartDec 21, 2023
The Transcript is below.
Content warning: osteosarcoma,, bone cancer, death etc.
Embark on the emotional journey of Krista, a young widow, as she navigates the challenges of her husband's terminal illness. From a touching proposal amid sickness to treasured moments together, this story resonates with the experiences of widows, highlighting the simple yet powerful bonds that endure even in the face of loss.
- find support
Even if there are hard moments, hard days, hard weeks, it is going
- just hunker down,
''It was hard for me to accept that my form of grieving and how I handle stress is to need to be still, is to rest, is to just, just hunker down,
''So then when the grief was so debilitating that just added on to that, you know, you see some people and it's amazing. I'm so pleased for them, you know. They lose their person, maybe they go on like a road trip, or they do something with their grief.''
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!
FOLLOW me on SOCIAL:
Twitter | @brave_widow
Instagram | @brave_widow
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YouTube | @bravewidow
Emily Jones: [00:00:00] Hey, and welcome to episode number 74 of the Brave Widow show. Now, listen, if you are hearing this on a date, we publish it, which is December 21st. You still have a few hours left to join us for the widow winter solstice event. That's right. It's happening tonight, December 21st from 6 PM to 8 PM. And we would love to have you there to sign up, go to brave widow.
com slash winter. W I N T E R to join us here in the next few hours at 6 PM central. For giveaways and activities and a time of reflection and to hear some of the incredible advice and wisdom from some of our widows on this awesome panel. Join us. We would love to have you and. If you're hearing this after December 21st from 6 PM to 8 PM, you can still join us for a future live event.
And the way to hear [00:01:00] about these live events is to be on my email list, which is at BraveWidow. com slash free. I would love for you to be part of the email list and the VIP's who get. Really first notice of when we have some of these free live events, and I would love to see you there. So come join us.
All right. Today I talk with Krista and we get to hear her story of grief of being a widow and the things that she overcame. So let's dive into Krista's story.
Emily Jones: Welcome to The Brave Widow Podcast. I'm your host, Emily Jones. We help young widows heal their heart, find hope, and dream again for the future.
Hey, Hey, welcome back to another episode of the brave widow show today. I have a special guest Krista, and I'm excited for you to hear [00:02:00] about her story and her insights and things that she has to share with us today. So Krista, thank you for coming on the show and welcome.
Krista: Thank you so much for having me. This is really beautiful that there's such a great dedicated space for widows to talk about their stories. So thank you for having me on. I'm excited to chat with you too.
Emily Jones: Yeah, absolutely. I think it's amazing that people can hear stories just like the one you're going to share today and it helps them resonate and helps them feel like they're not so much alone.
So, um, I know that The audience is going to be very curious about you and your background and your story, so if you don't mind to share, I would love for you to introduce yourself and we can jump into your story, uh, wherever you'd like to start.
Krista: Okay, yeah, thank you. So, yes, my name is Krista. I am Canadian living in British Columbia.
Uh, I'm 31 and feel older [00:03:00] than that at this point, to be honest. So. My husband, Jordan, is, uh, the person that I lost, and I met him in 2019, so not too long ago, it feels like, although it obviously feels like a, an age ago, and we were both kind of burnt out on the online dating thing, uh, had been going through the apps for a couple years, each of us, and when we met each other, it just, like, Just went off and had our lovely love story and yeah, we met, went on a date, chatted nonstop via text for a couple of weeks leading up to it and just, it was it, and I just really loved how solid, how stable he was right from the get go, you know, there's so much on online dating of people who are emotionally unavailable and wishy washy and not interested in committing and so to go out with somebody once and then just have it be, Transcribed So solid right away.
No questions, no [00:04:00] games was what I really deeply appreciated about him from the start. He was super silly, super goofy, uh, always the person who wanted to make light of a situation, make a joke, uh, and so it was a really. Great relationship. So we started dating in 2019, moved in together within about six months, which some my half of the friend group was like, Oh, wow.
And his friend group was like, Yeah, obviously, how's it taken this long? Um, so we moved in together in January 2020, uh, obviously, the pandemic happened a few months later. And so our relationship went through just like a crash course. And, uh, Cohabitating with each other for the first time and going through it in quarantine, and we actually were really strong during it.
Uh, some couples, I think you hear about how the pandemic was a make or break, and I think it made our relationship. Um, So [00:05:00] got through 2020. Sorry, go ahead. It sounds
Emily Jones: like everything just felt very seamless and natural in your relationship together, which I think is so priceless, especially after you've gone through those couple of years of swiping and texting and ghosting and all of that craziness that comes with online dating.
So, um, it's. It's amazing and remarkable that through the pandemic and some of those just crazy up and down months, those first few months that you guys seem like you just clicked and meshed together really well.
Krista: Yeah. It was just so solid. And even though I had my insecurities and whatnot, I didn't ever need to really question our relationship.
Like he was just all in and so obviously. Even through like the really hard things that we started encountering, it just brought us closer together, which was obviously crucial because, uh, the pandemic and then, of course, his [00:06:00] diagnosis and there's a really solid couple through those hard times, which, um, I really don't take for granted because I know that's not always the case for everybody.
So. Yeah, we made it through 2020, relatively unscathed and, uh, in 2021, uh, we actually got our second COVID vaccine shots and, um, that was in July 2021, uh, and,, It was weird because he had some of the normal side effects and then the side effects just weren't going away after about a week. And because of some previous health, health history, he wanted to go and get that checked out in case it was one of those rare side effects.
And last thing we expected was that they actually found that he had a massive tumor in his lung. Um, So when he was in university about 7 years before this, he had been diagnosed with osteosarcoma, which is a bone cancer. In his knee. So the same [00:07:00] cancer that for any Canadians listening would know as the cancer that Terry Fox had.
I don't know if he's as much of a popular figure in the United States, but very prominent in Canadian history. So it's a rare bone cancer, typically found in young men. And so he had had that in university, had the surgery to remove his knee and replace it with a prosthetic knee. and a round of chemo and then he was clear for seven years.
It was basically considered cured at that point. And so the most likely place for it to come back was the lungs. And so that's why when he has some like shortness of breath and some chest pain, that was the indication that he needed to get that x ray, which caught it. And so we both knew immediately that this was a big deal.
You don't Google like 13 centimeter, which is like six inches tumor lung and see any good results. And so we, that first day, like, we we knew that this was not [00:08:00] going to go great. Um, and then he met with a, uh, radiologist, not an oncologist, um, a radiologist, I believe, who was surprisingly optimistic about the whole thing.
A couple of days later. And said, Oh, well, you know, it's only in the lung, so you'll just need a surgery to remove it. And then, you know, maybe a round of chemo and you should be good in a year. And so we thought, Oh, okay, like this went from death sentence to still major inconvenience, but hopefully just inconvenience.
And, uh, it wasn't until then we met with the surgeon and the oncologist who specializes in sarcomas that they gave us a bit of a reality check. Uh, and so he got, um, he went in for major surgery about a month later, I had just started at a new job, uh, right around when he got diagnosed. And I had to take time off work pretty much immediately after starting in order to, uh, be with him for his surgery.
He had like [00:09:00] a bunch of his lung and a bunch of his rib rib cage removed because it is spread there. And he bounced back from that surgery really well. All of the tests came back showing that, you know, there was no more cancer cells that they could find. Um, but the odds of recurring, um, like of, of reoccurrence were very high.
But we were essentially just on the zone of, okay, every three months go in for a scan to see if anything pops up and only about two months after his surgery, he started feeling under the weather again, went in and yeah, it was back everywhere except for his brain, essentially. And it did come back there a few months later.
So that was the,, we knew that was coming as soon as he started feeling a bit under the weather again you know. Going in for that scan, like we both just knew, uh, what was going to happen. And so he did ask the oncologist first question when he saw her after the scan to get the results. He said, so am I dying or,[00:10:00] and she just nodded and then showed us all the results.
And yeah, even though we knew it was coming, just nothing, nothing really prepares you for that.
Emily Jones: No, absolutely not. And, um, what I've heard from, you know, several widows is even when they're given a time frame or a diagnosis and six months or whatever that is, it's still just really hard to wrap your mind around it because our minds are kind of wired to think like, that's not going to happen to us.
You know, we're going to be the one person, we're going to be the, the couple that, that makes it. So, even though the, the loss is, I'll put it in quotes, expected, it still can be very shocking and jarring when it happens because You don't ever really necessarily expect
that that's actually
going to happen.
Um, had they given you any kind of timeframe to say, this is how long [00:11:00] we think, you know, he might continue to be functional and to live or was it just a, we'll have to see how it continues to, uh, impact him.
Krista: So after the surgery, there wasn't really any timeline, the oncologist said that the risk of recurrence was highest in the first, I think, 1 to 2 years.
Maybe she said 1 to 3 years. And so that would be the continuous monitoring. She was very surprised when it came back after 2 months, that strong, um, and then once that was established that now this is a terminal diagnosis, She said, not years. It depends on how well you respond to palliative chemotherapy, maybe a year or so less if the chemo isn't as effective as we hope it will be.
And so she was right on the mark. Uh, unlike that 1st doctor that we spoke to, she was very competent. And very communicative and just gave us the reality checks in a very kind of [00:12:00] sympathetic way, of course, but she was on the mark. Um, it was. So the terminal diagnosis came in November 2021, and he passed away in September 2022.
So had about a year between re diagnosis, the surgery, and eventually passing away. So we, I've heard stories of people who just like weren't told. You know how serious it was and actually the episode that I listened to about anticipatory grief. I believe it was Renee where I felt so awful for her and for people in that situation where they're not just given the facts because knowing and having that really clearly stated to us like, am I dying?
Yes, made it so that. There was no denial for us, there was no, like, bargaining, trying to, like, Oh, just throw whatever treatment you can at it and see what sticks, like, He knew, I knew, it was just from that moment,, We needed to figure out how to live[00:13:00] a life in the remaining time. And so that did come with him proposing to me a couple days later, Uh, in the chemo ward.
Which he said this isn't how I imagined this going he bought the ring after the surgery which I thought was very sweet, but I also was like, are you just doing this? Because it's like, no, don't be an like, of course I want to marry you. We talked about it on our second anniversary at length. It's not just because I'm sick.
And I was like, okay, okay, thank you. Okay. Um, so It did, it did become very intentional for that year of like, what do we want to spend this limited time on? So I ended up, I was trying to work, you know, I just started this new job. I was trying to work full time, uh, in person, uh, for, after a year and a half of remote only, had to go back into the office five days a week.
I was trying to do that, and I was just failing on all fronts. You know, I was Not doing well at work. I [00:14:00] was not doing well in my personal life. We have two dogs. I was not doing well at walking them. So after a few months of attempting to do all the things I just was like, I need I can't do this. I so I went on a leave of absence.
Um, and so I was able to take an unpaid leave of absence and have my job still be. Protected, which I was very grateful for. And my new manager, I've been working there like less than six months was very supportive of that. Um, and yeah, we just spent the remaining time getting married, planning a wedding in four months, uh, getting married, going on a little honeymoon to a nearby island.
Um, Doing some traveling to visit family, that sort of thing, and I'm really grateful that I could do that because anytime I thought about having to work, I just know that I would have spent every hour in the office just being like, what am I doing here? Like, you know, like, this is the person I was supposed to [00:15:00] spend the rest of my life with.
We talked about getting married. Like, why am I not with him when I have this limited time left? And so I was very, very fortunate to be able to take time off in order to just be with him. Yeah,
Emily Jones: I mean, it sounds like you had a very understanding manager and workplace, which is amazing, especially since, you know, you were fairly new there and I have to wonder, you know, what in the world is that like to have to go through your own emotions of.
There has to be an element of grief for yourself, right? So grief that you're going to be losing your future spouse, but also this isn't the wedding of your dreams. This isn't the way you thought your life would go. This is, there has to be so much of that, that is create some sort of turmoil or mixed emotions that, that happens inside.
What, what was that like?
Krista: It was really tough. [00:16:00] It was so tough. And I had, um, even, you know, I started grieving right when he got the diagnosis, um, even before the oncologist said that he was dying, I had just seen how sick he got, how quickly he declined in the weeks leading up to his surgery. Even was like, we are not done with this.
And so I started grieving then I just, I, I knew, and I didn't want to be right, but this was. The person that I'd finally found right after what felt like a long struggle and of just dating and whatnot. I'd finally found my person and to have that be ripped away from me. Um, it was awful. I don't recommend it truly, but, um, I did go through a period of time between his surgery and his re, you know, the terminal diagnosis, I went through a really.
period where I knew that [00:17:00] this was going to happen. I didn't want to be right. And I couldn't talk to anybody about it. I couldn't say to him that, Oh, I think you're going to die. I can't do that. So I was actually In a very dark place for some time after that, and it was when I talked to him about how traumatized I was from seeing him decline like that, that I was able to feel a lot more supported.
I'm not saying this very well, but, um, he was just always very much there for me, and he was always thinking of me first, like, as soon as he got the diagnosis, the terminal diagnosis. The oncologist left the room for a few minutes and he turned to me and he's like, do you still want to do this? Like. Do you still want to?
And the implication was like would you even want to marry me in this case or do you need an out? And I was like, of course I still want to be with you He's like, I don't know. It'll be a lot harder for you to date if you're a widow Obviously, it's gonna be hard to date My life [00:18:00] is gonna be absolutely turned upside down by this like but obviously I want to stay with you He was always thinking of me And so in all the times that I was really struggling with what my life would look like going forward He was definitely, like, the person that I could talk to about these things, which is I think a huge testament to his character and I was, again, very fortunate to have his support like that when he was the one that was sick.
He always made time for me to talk about these things like, you know, where might I have to move if I can't afford to stay in our house? Um, we're renting a house. What if I can't afford that on my salary alone? You know, he would talk to me about all these things. He would talk to me about how he thought that I should date and get married right away.
And I was like, no, buddy, calm down. Um, but yeah, thinking about how I thought my life was going to go versus how it was going was very difficult and the wedding planning. Yeah. There was a lot of just, you know, I have to do this in four months. It's not the way that I would have done it.[00:19:00] If I'd had more time, but as long as it's just good enough, it's good enough.
That was my mentality around things like wedding planning. Just like, as long as it's like 90 percent good, that last 10 percent that I would have cared about under other circumstances, eh, whatever. Um, but it definitely, I would have preferred it under different circumstances to put it mildly. Yeah, of course.
Emily Jones: Thanks. And. You know, did you find that people around you were understanding of what you wanted to do and that you still wanted to get married and you still wanted to continue to support him? Or did you get a lot of feedback from people? What did you discover about people that were just around you or in your social circle?
Krista: I did have a lot of support from both of our families. Um, I think that there was almost like a weird,, how can I, how can I wear this? It just makes for a good story, I guess. [00:20:00] So it was very easy to just kind of like romanticize our situation, maybe put us up on a little bit of a pedestal, you know, that we were this like tragic couple, but we were like taking the time that we had and making the most of it.
And I almost felt like, An imposter. A bit. A little bit of imposter syndrome within this because, you know, people were talking about like what a perfect couple we were, how I was an angel for, for being with him. And just, I almost felt like, no, I actually kind of still suck. Like, I'm just a normal person.
I'm doing my best. I'm exhausted and stressed and struggling. But it makes for, you know, a really, I don't know, like, romantic, like, story for people to have that, you know, we decided to take this time and get married and do all the things and travel and that's really beautiful and it was, um, so I had a lot of support from people, uh, overall and almost in a way that, like I said, just made me feel almost like we are [00:21:00] just a normal couple, right?
Like, um. You know, we're, we're not this like crazy idealized movie couple who are, I don't know. I'm not wording this very well,
Emily Jones: almost like people kind of put you on a pedestal or made it out to be like, you're a saint for doing these things. And in your mind, all you're thinking is, well, how could I abandon my
Krista: Exactly. Yeah. I did have somebody say to me oh, I don't think I could do that. You know, like, and I was thinking you would like, leave your husband. I don't know. That's where my brain went. Anytime someone was like, oh, I don't think I could do what you're doing.
I would be like, well, what's the alternative? Like, it just doesn't, it can't even be an option for me to leave him. Like, so sometimes I wasn't sure if someone was like low key telling me that they would leave their husband. And I. Just didn't poke at it much beyond that. But that was a little bit of a weird [00:22:00] thing that I encountered sometimes with people be like, I don't know how you do it.
Like I could never, I was like, well, I hope you would for your husband because otherwise. Oh, dear. Uh,
Emily Jones: yeah, no, I think, I think sometimes people, because they can't imagine the gravity of what it means to have been in that situation is like, Oh, I don't know if I'd be that strong. I don't know if I'd be that dedicated because it's really hard to just wrap your mind around even being in that situation in the first place.
Emily Jones: what, what do you wish maybe?
That someone would
have said to you or someone would have done for you in those final months that you, the two of you had together that maybe people just didn't
know to do. I
Krista: do think that I was quite fortunate that people were very emotionally intelligent around us, very kind, very respectful,[00:23:00] , very accommodating of us and our situation. So. I don't know if there's anything that I would necessarily say that people around me had to like, I wish they'd done differently something internal that I think would have been good for me or to even have people saying that's because there's so much out there about like, oh, you're so strong.
Look at what you're doing. You're doing you're doing all this. You know, I can't even imagine that. Imposter syndrome was really weighing on me because I felt like my way of grieving, even before Jordan passed away, my way of grieving was to very much like shut down, be still, exhaustion. I needed rest. And I felt like I was not doing as much as I should be doing as a caregiver, as a wife, a new wife, and like, you know, things like trying to cook for him when he was having chemo nausea and not knowing what to cook.
[00:24:00] He was always the cook, and so I wasn't really cooking good things for him. If I did cook something, he didn't really want to eat it. So I just like, I just felt like I always was not doing a good enough job at anything that I was doing. And I didn't realize until After he passed away and exhaustion being like 1, 000, 000 times worse than my anticipatory griefs, exhaustion that that was just me and how my body processes stress.
It wasn't me being lazy. It wasn't me being, um, not good enough. I was doing what I needed to survive and my body just needed rest. And so. I feel like when I was getting a lot of feedback from people saying like, Oh, like you're an angel, you're a saint, you're wonderful. You're doing all these things. Like all I could think of was all the things that I was doing not well enough that I was too tired to do.
Uh, I just felt really crappy about myself as a person while getting all of this amazing feedback from the people around me. And it created this sense of, you know, that I was lying to everybody that they didn't really know [00:25:00] what I was like as a caregiver. And so I didn't have very much compassion for myself.
Throughout those months, I was very hard on myself because I was comparing myself to this, like, imaginary ideal caregiver, you know, and I was not living up to my own expectation, and I felt like I wasn't living up to the expectations of the people around me who were just saying nice, amazing things that I felt like I had to say, No, actually, I'm not that good.
I'm just a normal person, kind of doing a terrible job sometimes and a good job other times. You know, It is a tiny bit of a pet peeve for me when people would say like, Oh, you're so strong. You're so strong. I could never, because I felt like I was not strong and I felt like I could barely, and if there is something that I could maybe, I guess, tweak.
From the people around me, it might be a little bit less of that putting me on a pedestal because I felt like it just created a bit more stress within me to feel like I had to live up to that expectation when I was just being a [00:26:00] normal person. Yeah, it's almost maybe
Emily Jones: like. Um, you feel like you're putting on a facade and you might even be questioning like, well, why do people think that?
Cause I don't, I don't think that. And I see what goes on here. I remember very clearly, you know, people are like, Oh, you're so strong and you've got to be strong. And you know, you've got other people to think about. And all I really wanted was for someone to just say, you know what, for five minutes, you don't have to be strong.
just let it out, just have reprieve.
And I don't know why people feel like they need to just reiterate. I think it's their way of just trying to show love and encouragement and being like, wow, I'm just so impressed because a lot of times that causes us to go, well, but what choice do I have? You know, like they're really, when [00:27:00] we're in those situations, it's like, well, what choice do I have to survive?
I think about it, you know, if, if I know someone who has triplets, right, I think, Oh, I could never do that. I could never, gosh, you have to really be strong to get through that. But when you're the person in that situation that you just tell yourself you have no other option and you figure out a way to do it doesn't mean it's easy, even though it looks that way from other people.
So I could definitely
see that. That
is, uh, difficult and I resonate a lot because I see myself in part of that story of well, wow, all these people just think I'm doing these amazing things. Meanwhile, I'm just, you know, drowning with water up to here and I'm just trying to survive on a daily basis. Um, it's not as glorious as, as people make it out to be.
Krista: Yeah, and I, I agree with that feeling of just always drowning, like, you're just always on the brink of just [00:28:00] losing your mind is how I felt like I was for, you know, a year leading up to his passing away and then just so much more after he did. And it was kind of interesting because I do think of myself as a fairly competent and capable person and especially after he passed away, I, there are things that I just could not do anymore and people would still say, Oh, no, you can do it.
You can do it. I'll be like, no, like, I truly can't. I can't do that. And it really. Shocked me how incapacitated I was by my grief because I thought with having a year lead up and the research that I was doing and all of the prep that I had, you know, I was, I was following the widow accounts already to see what things would be like after he passed away.
I was trying to trying to prepare. And even with all my preparation, I was just completely, like, flatlined by the grief itself when he did pass. And so, obviously, like, I very much [00:29:00] appreciated people who were saying those lovely things because it came from, yeah, like, a place of love and trying to motivate me and make me feel good about myself in a terrible situation.
But it was also, it was just the dichotomy of people saying, like, you can do it! And me having to accept that, like, I can't get out of bed, like, I literally couldn't and I've never had that in my life, even when I'd gone through some of those really dark periods before Jordan passed away, , I had never had a day where I just couldn't even, like, lift my own limb to get up.
I've never had that. And so. Accepting my limitations and accepting my form of grief was really hard for me, especially compared to what people say, you know, like that. You can do anything. You're so strong. And I was like, I am not strong. I am so physically weak that I cannot walk my dog. Like, I literally could not get out of bed one day.
And, you know, if I did, I would just [00:30:00] walk from one room to the other. I have this tiny house, it's about 600 square feet. Just to walk from one room to the next, I had to like kneel down part way because I was too tired to walk that far. And I had spent the year caregiving, feeling like I wasn't doing enough.
So then when the grief was so debilitating that just added on to that, you know, you see some people and it's amazing. I'm so pleased for them, you know. They lose their person, maybe they go on like a road trip, or they do something with their grief. Meanwhile, I, like, I could barely string a sentence together, I could not get out of bed, I could not walk my dogs, I had to hire people to walk my dogs.
I couldn't cook for months, like, two months later, I think, is when I cooked my first grilled cheese. So, it was It was hard for me to accept that my form of grieving and how I handle [00:31:00] stress is to need to be still, is to rest, is to just, just hunker down, versus some people are go, go, go. And I think people put a lot of Um, you know, pride on that go, go, go, that's what people cherish or value in society is maybe like that hustle culture that like, I won't let this get me down.
I still have things to do. I have stuff to accomplish and I, I literally, I couldn't do that. I could, I could barely even, you know, go and meet a friend for lunch for the first few months. And even now it's been a year. In a bit, um, you know, I still do have a lot less energy than I would have had if this hadn't all gone down.
Um, but it has been getting better. So I did eventually realize that I needed to accept that I needed to lay down whenever I [00:32:00] needed to lay down. Not always trying to fight through it. And I don't have kids. I don't have anyone who's dependent on me. I have the two dogs. So I had that luxury, if you called that of being able to meet my body where it was at.
Um, but it was a challenge to accept that I couldn't do things and it was okay that I couldn't do things. And I would actually be able to bounce back faster if I accepted that, gave myself the rest that I needed, and then I would emerge from. That exhaustive state. Once I had given myself that time,
Emily Jones: it's really just crazy and shocking.
I think how incapacitating and exhausting grief is like how fatigued you feel, how one tiny thing just feels like it takes a huge [00:33:00] amount of effort and all of those things you didn't know how to do, like maybe mow the lawn or cook on a grill or do something else. I mean, I would catch myself watching the same YouTube video of how to over and over and over because it was like, I couldn't focus or I could only absorb this much information.
And now I look back like, why was that so hard? But when you're grieving and you've got the brain fog and you just physically feel tired and exhausted, it is so hard to do any one little thing. And for us, you know, overachievers and people that are constantly just used to getting things done, it's very difficult to shift into the thinking that resting.
And allowing our bodies and our souls really time to heal, that that is doing something. It feels like it's doing nothing, but in reality, when [00:34:00] you're resting, you are doing something and you are giving your body that reprieve that it needs to just be able to function.
Krista: Yeah, and I, I needed to stop putting pressure on myself to be go, go, go when every part of my system was saying, no, lie down.
And so it has more being a child. Want to try to include more go, go, go into my life again, then it has been to force myself to calm down or settle down and relax. I am in a, a widow's support group, uh, where we meet a few times a month. And it is interesting because quite a few of those widows say that they need to schedule in their.
You know, relaxation time, they need to force themselves to slow down and I'm the opposite. I need to force myself to move. Now, I need to make it a conscious effort to do some stretches to walk the dogs because [00:35:00] my natural state became just to be shut down. And just, I could stare at a wall and just think for hours.
I was getting to the point where I was like, Are my muscles atrophying? Like, I'm not moving enough. My body is sore because I'm not moving or stretching or doing anything. So I had to force myself then in the opposite direction. Okay, now that I've accepted that I need the rest, I've got the rest. I still do need it quite a little, uh, quite a lot.
Quite often I do have Those spells where I just need to take it easy for a day or for an afternoon, or even for an hour. But now I'm in this state where I have some more energy. And so I need to incorporate more of that movement into my life and then also just having the energy for more socializing as well.
It has come with time. There was, there was a, a, a really, really intense exhaustion for the first few months and then intense spells of exhaustion for the next [00:36:00] few months. And now that I'm just past the year point, the last couple of months, I've had a good amount of energy. And so I'm trying to get into the habits of actually moving and walking and, and making plans and kind of re entering.
Society. It feels like reintegrating and learning all the new things. Yes. Mowing the lawn and whippersnapping or all those things that Jordan did before that. Now I have to figure out.
Emily Jones: Yeah. Yeah. That in itself can seem really overwhelming and intimidating at. Absolutely. So what advice would you give to someone who's, you know, say they're still in their first few months, their first six months, or maybe they're listening to your story because they're in that anticipatory grief stage and they haven't quite figured out what it's going to be like.
I think you said it well, that You can try to prepare as much as you [00:37:00] can, but you're not necessarily going to be prepared for the full gravity of what it's like until you go
Krista: through that.
Emily Jones: But what words of encouragement or advice would you give to someone who is walking in your shoes now?
Krista: I would say to accept yourself where you're at.
Um, I know for myself, I was putting so many expectations on myself of what I should be doing, what I should be doing better, where I should be at, what I should be capable of by now. And even though I was lucky, I wasn't getting that feedback from people in my life. I just felt that external pressure from just society as a whole.
And what helped me was accepting that. This is what I need to do right now to survive. And over time, my abilities have expanded. Just with having taken the time to process, having taken [00:38:00] the time to give my body what it needed, I have naturally been able to expand what I'm capable of. Anytime I tried to force myself into something, It made it worse, you know, and if that was within the first four months, actually, I remember lying there and thinking, like, is this how I'm going to be forever?
None of my friends are ever going to want to hang out with me again, because I'm the most depressing, demotivated, just awful person right now. Is this how it's always going to be? No, it's not how it's going to be, but it's how I needed to be right then, because if I just tried to skip all that, it's not how it works.
So, accept yourself where you're at, I actually read in a book, um, uh, about grief, uh, that there was a study done in like 1940s or 1950s that said one of the symptoms of grief was the need for sighing. And I had just that day realized that the more I sighed in a day, the more of an indication that meant that I needed to lie down, I [00:39:00] just needed to lie down.
And if I was just doing tasks and I'll go, just repeatedly. That was my body saying you can't handle this. Take a breather. And so I would. I would accept that, okay, today is a need for sighing day. And that is what would get me through the harder moments, the harder days. Just saying that I, this is where I'm at right now.
Unless there are factors that I really, really can't put to the side. I just need to accept where I'm at and that is what is going to help me and without necessarily doing anything in particular to propel myself forward bit by bit, I was noticing that I was improving, if you were to call it that, um, you know, I was able to make more plans.
I was able to go on longer walks. I was able to, you know, do some gardening that I just didn't have the energy before, um, when I was trying to force myself to do things.
Emily Jones: Yeah, I love that you added the [00:40:00] reminder that it's not always going to be this way. So you need to give yourself grace and you need to rest and you need to really minimize the expectations that you have for yourself.
That's probably fine. It's not always going to be like that. You will naturally get to a state where you can expand and take on more and be more social and, and do new things. And I think for me, it was about a year as well where I felt like, okay, I need to start. I want to start making new friends that.
This is how they know me now, you know, they don't know how I used to be. They're not thinking about the person I was because I don't fully feel
Krista: like that person anymore. So
Emily Jones: I I'm glad that you're just reminding the listeners that it give yourself grace and the ability to rest and accept yourself for where you are and also know that it's not always going to be like that in the future [00:41:00] and it doesn't have to be that way.
But. It does take some time to move through this grief and to work through, through some of that healing.
Krista: I think of it as kind of, there's going to be the huge ups and downs, especially early on, and a lot more downs early on, but over time it trends upwards. You know, like if you look at like the stock market over time, there's a lot of dips in this and that, but overall, things are shifting upwards, even if the day to day or the hour by hour might have some valleys, , you're going to bounce back and it's going to be bouncing back a little bit higher each time is what I've seen in myself and not putting any sort of time pressure on when you need to be at certain points.
Is what I so want people to know like I know I did it and it was probably the worst thing I could have done for myself is just think I should be here always been five months and I'm still like [00:42:00] this. It's only been five months is what I want to say to myself from the past. Like, of course, you're still a wreck.
It was only five months. And so, I mean, I'll probably do the same thing for myself in the future. You know, if I'm hard on myself now at a year out about whatever, I'll probably look back and say, it's only been a year. So I'm trying to think of it in that sense of it's, it's trending upward. Even if there are hard moments, hard days, hard weeks, it is going to.
Improve bit by bit in the long run and that I hope gives somebody else comfort because it gives me comfort.
Emily Jones: Yeah, I think I love that analogy of the stock market because we tend to think of grief as like, okay, every day I'm getting a little better and it's getting a little easier and really it's like these big volatile swings.
But if you do look at it over the course of time, then you should be able to see that you're consistently improving and healing and [00:43:00] feeling that you're in a better place than you were a year ago, two years ago, however long that it's been, but it feels like a lifetime. You know, those first few months, that first year or two, it feels like every day is a week or a month.
And so it's hard to not feel like we're going backwards or to feel like we're getting worse when in reality, it's just one of those days that's a valley in this overall movement towards healing. Yeah. Krista, thank you so much for coming on the show today and sharing your story and being willing to share some of your challenges.
Um, I just appreciate you, you being
Krista: willing to do that. Thank you so much. Thank you for, for listening and for your questions and giving me this opportunity to share not only just about myself, but it always feels good to be able to tell, you know, the universe a little bit more about Jordan. Get his name out there a little bit more.
So he's remembered.
Emily Jones: Yes, definitely. [00:44:00] And I think it helps. It helps our hearts to be able to tell our story to talk about our person to remember some of the most amazing things that we, we do about them.
Krista: Yeah. So thank you so much for what you're doing. I appreciate it. Absolutely.
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.
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Inside you'll find [00:45:00] 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, reclaim joy, and dream again for the future. It is possible. Head on over to brave widow.com to learn more.