For my regular blog readers, I am sure you have taken notice to a slightly different layout on my blog. You notice I have media posted, information about my speaking availability, basically a bunch of self-promotion. I have been actively “chasing” opportunities to speak locally to churches, women’s organizations, non profits, cancer and grief centers, and grief and women’s conferences. I wouldn’t doubt that I have sent out close to 100 emails to different people requesting that they read my story, look over my speaking brochure, and consider me for an opportunity to speak or lead a workshop at their facility.
Without yet obtaining my degree (just 1 month away!!), or really having any public speaking opportunities in the past other than through my schooling, many doors have closed. I even got turned away from a local grief center because they do not think I’m ready enough to help others. And that’s ok-it was from looking at my blog, where I wear my heart on my sleeve and talk vividly about things that I, and we widow(er)s, go through.
I do have relational skills. And I have a story, a hell of one if I can say so myself, because well, I have lived it. It’s interesting to me that most of the local grief centers have said no to wanting my help, even on a volunteer basis. I know I come across intimidating. I’m “in your face” with my grief, and I rarely shy away from talking about all the nooks and crannies of my struggles. I’m trying hard to encourage society to discuss a topic that NO ONE wants to talk about. No WONDER doors are closing!
So I stepped out from this area. I have one workshop scheduled in January at a local women’s shelter to discuss loss of dreams, and kudos to Clare House for being open to what I want to share, and for allowing me this opportunity here in Lancaster.
And to Shawn Smucker whose Fireside Writer’s Conference (TBA) will give me the chance to team with others who have experienced significant grief.
Other doors, amazing doors, are open wide, and my mouth is gaping open too. Last week, I was published in the Johns Hopkins Cancer Matters Blog. It was part 1 of a 2, possibly 3 part guest blog series on my experience at Johns Hopkins Hospital, caregiving, and widowhood. It’s a new blog to Hopkins, and one that I hope will continue giving a voice to people who are living cancer struggles every single day.
I am finalizing an article with Lancaster County Women newspaper to be published this month on grief and society’s response. My first written, published article in a hold-in-your-hand publication! A widow at the paper was touched by my story, and she understood.
I have no bachelor’s degree, I have no psychological experience, I come at grief from a survival perspective, not a clinician. This entire time in pushing myself out there, I have wanted people to see that. To see that having lived and survived through grief, I know a bit about it. I want people to know that we’re sane, and we can talk and share and connect, sometimes better than a clinician whose just read about grief through books and case studies. I’m a living case study.