Exposing My Grief through Heartache, My Story and JRR Tolkien


Recent events have been a huge catalyst to help me remember who I am, the roads I’ve traveled, the lessons and gifts I’ve gathered along a journey with more than a fair share of grief and heartache. The grief experienced in the most part due to deaths within my close, soul-family & actual family departing my path too early as their journeys were obviously done. 

Yes, here I’m referring to actual loss, grief and the endless days of wishing you could speak to someone who’s no longer on this plane. Grief is an interesting path to navigate. I’m 48 and my first big loss was before I was two and my most heartbreaking loss has now been 14yrs ago. I know grief well and there’s no timetable for it. In truth it’s never something you get over, nor do you really want to. That’s not how grief works. It’s something that becomes a part of you. You simply find a way to continue on and navigate your own road. 

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The beauty is, those who have gone on before us, for me anyway, have each given us a compass to help navigate. They’re still there. No matter how heart-wrenchingly you know they’re not… they are. They breathe in your lungs, they beat in your heart, they see through your eyes, they laugh in the air, they cry out in your tears and they love you fiercely every day. That universal love that permeates your soul. The universal love that returns lifetime after lifetime to live out its own adventure and never truly disappears. 

Yes, they’ve transformed and many would call me mad for believing I still feel them. Yes them, for I have a tribe on the other side. A mother gone at 29, a high-school sweetheart of first, true-love gone at 21, a grandmother that was my ever-only actual mom, gone when I was just 17. She died at age 61 and then the big one… ‘the’ one, my thick-as-thieves deep love of my brother, gone at 37. He and I had the closest, longest journey together as it seemed like the two of us against the world most days. 
Why am I writing this with a quote from Tolkien? Well, my beloved reader, I have quite a story to tell and it all starts with a magical woman that chose Arwen as my middle name… back in the ’60’s no less!… what a Queen of a woman. On some level she must have known she’d not be on this journey with me at all, for only 18months after bequeathing my adventurous monicker she died in a tragic accident. 

I’ve decided it’s time to write their stories along with my own. Most of which will take book form I believe. 

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Yes, it’s here that I sit ready to watch The Hobbit and go about the day-to-day mundane things to start putting my life back on track. Like showering, laundry, dishes. Stuff I haven’t given much energy to while I’ve been consumed with grief over my lost romantic love. What I thought was a forever soul-mate looks as if he’s just turning into a tough lesson learned. His words were wonderful and filled with hope. His actions are the complete opposite. 

In-lies the stirring of past grief coming back to visit. 
Still, within this temporary emotional setback… I’m reminded that we all find our inner magic when we’ve faced hardship. When we do rise above and move forward. When we move on. 

I can still clear-as-day remember one of the many times my brother called. He was distraught, yet as always holding it together. He did that within our duo. Held us together. I’d fall apart, he’d put me back together. I’d adventure, party and basic black-sheep stuff and he’d good-as-gold be the one with his act together. We spoke almost daily, however this one day during his second year of chemo, he was really struggling and we know things aren’t getting better, yet he always believed. He was like that. I’m on my way home from work and we talk for over an hour, most of it is me parked in my driveway not going inside to kids and the husband because my whole life is on the other end of this call. I know I have my own life, yet it feels like I’m being torn in two with disbelief at what’s happening. 

At one point he says to me, “You know, I feel like Frodo Jenn. I feel like my cancer is the one Ring and I’ve been given this impossible task to see it through to the end and no matter how much support I have, no one can really help. It’s all on me. This is my journey and I’m scared where it will end.” 

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I’m holding back tears and although I’ve always been Arwen I say to him, “If you’re Frodo, then I’m Sam cause just like Gandalf said, “Don’t you leave him Samwise Gamgee! and I don’t mean to Alan, I’ll be right here every step of the way.”

… and I was, right up until his last exhale. 

Recently my therapist told me – no shame, I think we all need help in hard times and the world is often more hard times than not –  that I was experiencing such deep grief over this relationship because of the way he’s handled it. Basic ghosting. He said “You know all to well what it’s like to want desperately to speak to those you love and have them not be there so he’s triggered your worst wound possible.” 

Yes, yes he has. 

He’s also made me see it really wasn’t love. It could have been and I believe it was the start of a great one. That being said, love doesn’t hurt you on purpose. Love is patient and it takes time to grow. Some people can go their whole lives not knowing the difference between sex, especially great sex, and love. I wanted to take time, to let real love actually grow and each time I did he saw that as rejection.  I certainly did some of the same to him. It takes two to build as well as destroy, and ultimately the greatest tool for love is communication and it’s not there, so neither is love. It’s terribly sad really. It is what it is and for me, it’s over. You can only knock on a closed door a few times before your own sanity is in question. I deserve a lot more out of love. 

He’s also triggered the me that’s traveled on for 48 yrs on my own. The me that finds my way, that truly does love a good adventure. There’s no greater adventure than Self-discovery. 

I’m also finding adventure and healing in writing and for once in my life I know I can sit down and type out these stories without being swept away by them. He’s triggered the me that’s faced WAY worse than he & I did in our short relationship and I know I need, and want, someone who can grab their walking stick, head out the door with me and slay dragons together. No matter what life throws at you, true love stands by your side.  I show up for myself and those I love… even when they’re gone or suffering. 

Yes, I believe today I’m finding more of me. The me that knows one day I’ll find that forever-love. Maybe he’s a weary traveler as well, that the world has made him into worthy stuff. Maybe he is indeed this Love I’ve lost and it will return. I do hold that hope. 

 I’m a believer in love and know I’ll find it to stay, as sure as I know one day I’ll finish the chapters of my life. We all do close the book in the end… I’m determined my chapters will be filled with love and adventure! 

It’s a dangerous business going out your door. That’s life! Let’s live it. 

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2 comments on “Exposing My Grief through Heartache, My Story and JRR Tolkien”

    1. Thank you! I’ve discovered my depth is a lot like the Marianas Trench lol and this feels freeing yet not too vulnerable at all. There’s more! That’ll be the book 😊😉 and that other book 😍😜🔥 now that’ll be exposing ! Thanks for always encouraging me. 🙏🏼


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