we are marked : : grief stories

Friend, if you follow me on Facebook or Instagram, you likely already know what happened on October 14. For those who don't: my dear mother-in-law, Carole, died very unexpectedly. Our family is reeling from this loss. Carole welcomed me as her own daughter for the past twelve years, supporting my artsy-quirky ways wholeheartedly, even when we saw life differently. We both held deep and enduring respect for one another. I will forever be grateful for her strength, tenacity, and for the unspeakable gift of her son, my beloved husband.

I've been sharing what I call "grief stories" on Facebook and Instagram. Why? Because so many of us carry hidden aches and feel isolated in our suffering.

But we aren't. We are never alone. I share my story because healing waits in vulnerability, in owning our messy truth, in leaning into openness. I find comfort in our Sprout community . . . and I want you, too, to find kinship and sanctuary with us. You can be real here . . . and I will always be real with you.

I'll be migrating some of these grief stories to the blog, gathering a few of the images and words that have shaped my days in the After (this month will forever be marked Before & After, in my mind & heart). Thank you for listening, sweet friend, and know that I am always here to listen and hold space for your own aches and sings. 

Instagram notes:

We are home. This traumatic week has marked us in more ways than we can begin to imagine. Somehow this literal skin-marking (scheduled long before Carole's unexpected passing) means more than ever now. Our hearts are marked in secret. My skin hides nothing. Her ending. My 30th beginning. Bonds, strengthened in brutal ways but bringing closeness like never before. This is the way of grief.

// I received my first tattoo during this time, feather ink scheduled Before. It was designed as a celebration of my 30th birthday (October 21) but now serves as memorial, as well. Carole would always save me feathers from their country home, even though I once heard her laughing and asking my husband, "What does she DO with all of these?" It never mattered if we completely understood each other; we spoke the language of love. That was enough.

Beloved, what aches are you carrying? What hidden hurts haunt you? Know you are safe in our Sprout community . . . and whether your aches (or sings) are voiced or held within, we honor you. As you are.

with deep love & gratitude,
Sprout creator, editor,
& chief gatherer of good