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Moving through, part two.

Monday marked two weeks since my brother’s death. It was a hard day for me. I’ll say the same thing to you guys that I said to my Monday morning yoga class, this shit is hard. And I just can’t be a cheerleader right now. I don’t really know what else to say other than this is hard and I feel sad. I asked Tanner on Sunday night when I should stop talking about it on my blog and in class and he said, “I think you talk about it for as long as you have something to say.”

The kindness and open, loving hearts of others has been a godsend during this time. I just can’t even say thank you enough. I don’t feel alone in my grief and the support I’m receiving is incredible and I am grateful.

I’m just going to share another post with some general life stuff and things that are helping.



I have been laying low with the exception of the times that Dorie has coerced me out of the house to socialize. We had a small girl’s night last Thursday with just four of us and it was just what I needed to lift my spirits. We cooked dinner together and chatted for hours.



Dogs are just the best ever. Zoey has been keeping me company on runs and Sullie has been all about snuggling and being close. Would you guys believe that Zoey is turning two on Thursday?


And this one doesn’t get a ton of screen time because this is pretty much all he does for most of the day. Arnie will be 15 in January and is really starting to show his age (after years of calling him the “immortal pug” because he never seemed to slow down. It was miraculous.) He’s moving pretty slowly these days and a recent vet visit yielded news that he has spinal degeneration/stenosis that is impacting his bowel function and will eventually also lead to urinary incontinence. He’s also mostly blind and very hard of hearing. We’re doing what we can to keep him comfortable. His favorite times of day are 1) when Tanner gets home and 2) breakfast/dinner. He will stand at the door for hours waiting for Tanner to come home and anytime he sees lights on the street he starts whining and pacing. And while he may have a hard time getting up and down, he still breaks out into a run when it’s time to eat.

Retail Therapy


I’ve been doing a bit of retail therapy lately fueled by my desire to PURGE THE EVER LIVING out of my closet and actually update my wardrobe. (The jeans I have on as I’m typing this post were purchased in 2003…true story. But at least I’m wearing jeans so that is a step in the right direction.) I did some damage at Nordstrom Rack last weekend and look for a post coming later this week on my recent ThredUp finds (along with an awesome discount code).


One of my favorite purchases were these hi-top Keds. Now, someone teach me how to wear them.



I got these Jessica Simpson slippers at Nordstrom Rack and they might be the best thing I’ve purchased all year (and definitely trump the Keds but unfortunately I can’t wear them out in public). I wish I could find them online and share their coziness with you but I can’t. I bought a pair for my mom too.


Being home on the couch, feet up, slippers on, dogs by my side.


#allthemuffins. My baked good streak is still going strong. I’ve got a freezer full of pumpkin muffins from a student and another brought me my favorite morning glory muffin from Sunflour yesterday. I have savored each and every one of my daily cupcakes or muffins.


Being back in the kitchen. I planned our menu for the week and restocked our fridge at Whole Foods on Sunday evening. While I can’t say that I have been enthused to start cooking, once I do and sit down to a home cooked meal…I’m glad I did.


I’ve tried to talk to someone in my family every day, whether it’s my grandmother, mom or dad. I’m also so glad that my mom is texting now because we’ve been messaging back and forth to check in that way too. Please send a little extra love to my grandmother, she had cataract surgery today and will have the other eye done in a couple of weeks. We’re all hoping this helps her out with her site a good bit. <3



I’m listening to Marianne Williamson’s new book, Tears to Triumph on Audible right now. It’s been a comfort. I plan on also buying a physical copy so that I can bookmark passages and share some in my classes.

“Sometimes, therefore, we have to make room for our emotional pain. Months of grief might be at times what we need to go through, processing the mysteries of love and loss in order to finally see that in the spirit there is no loss and that in God there is always hope. Such mourning is a sacred journey, and it cannot and should not be rushed. If we have forty-five tears to cry, then crying seventeen is not enough. Deep sorrow is a fever of the soul, and within the psyche as within the body, the fever breaks when the fever breaks…we simply need to give it time.”


All my love and gratitude,



{ 45 comments… add one }
  • 1
    HRM October 4, 2016, 7:43 pm

    Hi Jen,

    Thank you for sharing so much of your struggle. My younger brother struggles with addiction, too, and I know that it is a daily battle for myself and my family to worry about him and to take care of ourselves. Your grace and honesty during this time has been really helpful for me, as my brother struggles through yet another round of treatment.

    I’m sending you as many happy thoughts as I possibly can!

    • 2
      Jen DeCurtins October 5, 2016, 2:35 pm

      You’re welcome. I feel like I’ve kept these parts of me hidden and secret for so long and I just can’t anymore. This is my real life and it can’t be the pretty and fun stuff all the time. I am so sorry to hear about your brother’s struggle and I am sending you and your family strength. It’s a terrible thing to endure. Please let me know if there is anything that I can do to support you as you go through this.


  • 3
    Danielle October 4, 2016, 7:43 pm

    I am glad you are taking actions to take care of yourself! I would say keep talking about it as long you have things to want to say – as Tanner said above – and also as long as it is helping you. For me, writing through and sharing tough situations really helps. Thinking of you and your family.

    • 4
      Jen DeCurtins October 5, 2016, 2:31 pm

      Hi Danielle – thank you so much for the encouragement. Writing is definitely a huge therapeutic outlet for me.

  • 5
    Remi October 4, 2016, 8:01 pm

    I’m sorry you are having to walk through this tough journey of grief. I am praying for you in this healing process.

    Also, thank you for continuing to be real and share where you at… it has really helped me to be “okay with where I am at” each day <3 I SO appreciate your blog on multiple levels.

    • 6
      Jen DeCurtins October 5, 2016, 2:31 pm

      Thank you Remi. I’m so grateful that I’m finally feeling comfortable in being more vulnerable and sharing “where I’m at” in this space. It’s been a scary thing to do but the right thing to do.

  • 7
    Jen October 4, 2016, 8:44 pm

    Jen, my heart is breaking for you and your family right now. I am so sorry for your loss. Watching a loved one battle addiction is one of the most gut-wrenching and frustrating things to endure. There is absolutely nothing in the world one can do to help an addict if he/she is not willing/ready to help him/herself. I am so very sorry you and your family have suffered this immeasurable loss. Thinking of you and sending lots of love your way. I hope your brother finally has peace and that you will find it again as well. XO

    • 8
      Jen DeCurtins October 5, 2016, 2:29 pm

      Hi Jen – thank you so much for your comment. You nailed it when you said gut-wrenching and frustrating. It has been a terrible road and a huge lesson in surrendering to the cold hard fact that we can never change another person.

      I appreciate your condolences. xx

  • 9
    Claire October 4, 2016, 8:53 pm


    This hit home for me for so many reasons. I unexpectedly lost my dad last year and it was really, really tough. Tanner is 100% right. I will tell you that, for me, it helps so much to just open up and talk about my dad when I feel those moments of sadness. After I lost him, someone told me that the best way to honor and keep someone’s memory alive is to talk about them and that by doing so, they never truly die. This couldn’t be more true for me and I always find myself feeling so much better in those sad moments when I talk about a funny memory or story with my dad. Everyone finds peace in these situations a little bit differently and I’m sending love and thoughts to you that you are able to continue to do so. <3

    • 10
      Jen DeCurtins October 5, 2016, 2:28 pm

      Claire – I am so sorry that you lost your dad. Thank you for taking a moment to share what helped you. Opening up about all of it a little more has definitely been a help to me and I feel like I’m only scratching the surface of all the work it’s going to take to sort through.

      Grateful for you.

  • 11
    Sherri October 4, 2016, 9:41 pm


    I have been wanting to respond since I read the first post about your brother. It hits home for me as I lost my mother very suddenly and unexpectedly 6 years ago last month. She only met my son once. She never met my daughter. Never was alive long enough to know I had another. She was quite young – only 54 when she passed, and a toxic dose of OTC medications were the reason we lost her. We weren’t that close any longer – for many reasons. Addiction issues being part of it, and the fact that I was always the parent in the relationship and I had to distance myself to allow myself space and room to grow in different ways. A friend at the time put it into the words that made the most sense for me…I mourned for my mother, yes, but what I really mourned for was what will now never be. I’m so sorry you’re going though this and I know to lose someone this way is very difficult. Much grace and light to you, and thank you for always being an inspiration in everything you do <3.

    • 12
      Jen DeCurtins October 5, 2016, 2:27 pm

      Hi Sherri – thank you so much for taking a moment to comment and share your experience. I am so sorry you lost your mother and so sorry that your relationship was strained. It’s painful and heartbreaking to set those boundaries and also to hold them. A huge part of my grief is accepting that the relationship that I SO SO SO wish we could have had will never be. It’s awful.

      I can’t tell you how much I appreciate your support and kindness.

      Thank you. xx

  • 13
    Kesia October 4, 2016, 10:28 pm

    I’m so sorry for your loss, may God give you and your family the strength to go thru this difficult time. Keeping you in my prayers.
    Much love

    • 14
      Jen DeCurtins October 5, 2016, 2:23 pm

      I appreciate the prayers Kesia. xx

  • 15
    maya October 5, 2016, 4:29 am

    Hey Jen! Sending lots of love to you and your grandma. I had a cataract done when I was 28 and it totally helped with my night vision. So I’m sure she’ll have a great result πŸ™‚ You are doing really well, stay strong and all the best. xx

    • 16
      Jen DeCurtins October 5, 2016, 2:22 pm

      Hi Maya – I just talked to her and she’s doing great. She said she can’t believe how vivid all the colors are! So grateful she’s able to see better.

      Thanks for the encouragement. xx

  • 17
    Bailee October 5, 2016, 8:37 am

    Hi Jen!

    I just wanted to reach out to say that I am sending so many prayers and good vibes your way. I lost my father unexpectedly in February so I know how you are feeling – confused, sad, and just all around crappy. One thing that really helped me sort through things was having grace for myself and my feelings. There is no right or wrong way to feel, and some days are just going to be bad days. It is a huge feat to even be up and about continuing on each day- so be proud of that. Have grace. Feel everything. And lean on those you love. Brighter days will come <3

    Me and little Ellie send our love!

    • 18
      Jen DeCurtins October 5, 2016, 2:21 pm

      Hi Bailee – it means so much to me that you reached out. I am so sorry that you lost your father this year. Yes, the grace thing with yourself is a practice. Accepting my feelings and not judging myself for them seems super important right now…because they’re all over the place. And yes, up and moving around feels like auto-pilot. Doing it but with a numb filter between me and the world. I know it will get easier with time.

  • 19
    Julie Running in a Skirt October 5, 2016, 9:31 am

    I lost my Mom unexpectedly four years about in November. I still feel the need to talk about it sometimes. Just know it does get better, but honoring the grieving process is so important. Glad you have friends and family to help you through this.

    On a side note, I’ve got a 15 year old dachsi… so I totally know how you feel with the old dog. He still runs up for his food… but that’s about the only time.

    • 20
      Jen DeCurtins October 5, 2016, 2:19 pm

      Hi Julie – thank you so much for the encouragement. It’s really helpful. I’m sorry you lost your mom. <3

      Lots of love to your old one. <3

  • 21
    Joy October 5, 2016, 9:37 am

    What a great thing for Tanner to say! He is so, so right. Talk and write about your feelings for as long as you need to. There is no time limit to grief so don’t ever worry about how long you’re feeling sad. I lost my mother over 15 years ago and one of the best things a friend did for me was weeks after she died (after everyone else had said their “sorry’s” and assumed I was doing ok), she grabbed me at work one day and said, “Let’s go for a walk.” As we left for the walk, she just said, “Tell me some stories about your mom.” I was able to tell some great, happy stories about her and it made me so happy to share my memories with someone. It made the world of difference that someone cared enough to think that I wasn’t “over” my grief at that time.

    On a lighter note, those hi-top Keds look awesome!

    • 22
      Jen DeCurtins October 5, 2016, 2:18 pm

      Hi Joy – thanks for the encouragement and what your friend did for you absolutely warmed my heart. That is so caring, thoughtful and special.

  • 23
    Rebecca October 5, 2016, 10:09 am

    Continued thoughts and prayers for you and your family.

    We lost my father-in-law to suicide 3 years ago last week. After the first anniversary of his death, a friend described grief as a hole in the floor. At first, it’s huge and takes up the entire room. You can’t take any steps without falling in. But over time, the hole will get smaller. You will still trip over it once in a while (usually when you least expect it), but you’ll learn to navigate around it. It won’t ever go completely away. Your brother will always be a part of your life and you won’t ever stop grieving, but the day-to-day will get a little easier.

    Love and light to you!

    • 24
      Jen DeCurtins October 5, 2016, 2:18 pm

      Hi Rebecca,

      That reading is similar to “Autobiography in Five Short Chapters” and it’s one of my favorites: http://www.ram.org/contrib/autobiography_in_five_chapters.html.

      Thank you so much for the reminder and kindness. <3

      • 25
        Rebecca October 6, 2016, 11:13 am

        Oh, I love that! Maybe that’s the poem my friend was thinking of. I’ve found that visualization really helpful.

        And the best of friends will get down in the hole with you until you can get out. πŸ™‚

  • 26
    Julia October 5, 2016, 10:15 am

    I agree with Tanner! You talk about it for as long as you have something to say. Have you read The Year of Magical Thinking by Joan Didion? I recommend it. She lost her daughter and husband both within a relatively short time frame – her husband suddenly and her daughter from a long ugly illness. I read it when l lost one of my best friends in an accident in 2006 and again when my dad died in 2014. It helped. It doesn’t tell you how to cope, per se, but I felt like it was a very realistic portrait of grief and it comforted me a lot.

    • 27
      Jen DeCurtins October 5, 2016, 2:14 pm

      Hi Julia – I have not read that book but I just added it to my Audible wish list. Thank you for the suggestion. I really appreciate it.

  • 28
    michelle October 5, 2016, 1:08 pm

    I’m so sorry for your loss. Please talk about it for as long as you need. Sometimes it’s so hard for us to give ourselves a break, but it’s necessary. Thinking of you and yours, xo.

    • 29
      Jen DeCurtins October 5, 2016, 2:13 pm

      Thank you so much for the comment and for the kind words Michelle. Yes, it can definitely be a challenge to give ourselves some grace, especially in tough times.

  • 30
    Michelle October 5, 2016, 2:52 pm

    Wise words from Tanner. You do what you need to do for as long as you need to, Jen. Your situation so heartbreaking and it really hit home when you said in one of the comments “A huge part of my grief is accepting that the relationship that I SO SO SO wish we could have had will never be. It’s awful”. That is just gut wrenching πŸ™

    Love and peace to you.

    • 31
      Jen DeCurtins October 9, 2016, 11:09 am

      Thank you Michelle. It’s just been a crappy 10 years of watching him slip away and a heartbreaking three weeks of him being gone.

  • 32
    Janice October 5, 2016, 3:02 pm

    I think you should talk about it as long as you wish. I think a hard part about the death of a family/friend/pet is that after a period of time people stop talking about it and checking in on you. They don’t know what to say or if to say anything. Then that person feels alone in their feelings. My personal opinion. So express your feelings and your love for your brother. It could be helping someone else out there going through the same thing.

    • 33
      Jen DeCurtins October 9, 2016, 11:10 am

      Hi Janice – thank you so much for the really encouraging words. They definitely resonate with me. <3

  • 34
    Julie October 5, 2016, 4:27 pm

    What great advice from Tanner! My brother died in a freak accident when he was 24. That was our first experience w/ death in my family. Before that I always had the mindset that if I ran into someone who had just lost a loved one, I didn’t want to bring it up & “remind them” of their loss. Well, now I know how ridiculous that was. It is very helpful & therapeutic to talk about the loss. Clearly from all the other comments, we all appreciate your openness & allowing us to share in your grief & pray for you & your family. I’m sure it’s also helpful to others who may be going through something similar.
    On a lighter note, that is TOO CUTE about the pug waiting by the door for Tanner!

    • 35
      Jen DeCurtins October 9, 2016, 11:12 am

      Julie – I am so sorry that you also lost your brother and that it was unexpected. I can only imagine how terrible that must have been for you and your family.

      I will never again not bring up someone’s loss because I “don’t know what to say” or “don’t want to bring it up.” It has meant so much to me to have people express their care, concern and condolences…regardless of the words they actually said.

  • 36
    Sharon October 5, 2016, 9:11 pm

    I lost my brother eight years ago to an undiagnosed heart condition. It was a shock to our family. Losing a sibling is especially painful because you are not only suffering, but you are watching your parents suffer, which can be excruciating. I still remember my Dad telling me you just aren’t supposed to bury your children. Talk as long as you need. Those around you will certainly understand. I was very emotional (still am) and my Mom would tell me to let the tears flow, it just shows how much you love them. You and your family will continue to be in my thoughts.

    • 37
      Jen DeCurtins October 9, 2016, 11:07 am

      I am so sorry that you also lost your brother Sharon. And I couldn’t relate more to the pain or watching your parents in pain. It’s heartbreaking and has been for me for many, many years as I’ve watched them do everything they could to help him without really being able to help him.

      Thank you for the condolences and support.

  • 38
    Marla-Deen October 5, 2016, 9:13 pm

    I lost my only brother (and best friend) four years ago. While I would never pretend to know any answers or perfect words, I will say I learned that you don’t ever get over it, you just get through it. And you will get through it. It will hurt but I found it best to let the emotions come and not try to hide them or ignore them. It is all part of the awful, painful journey. I, too, loved reading lots afterwards and love audible. Anne Lamont was a really good audible listen. When I was forced to “get off the couch” and back to teaching classes and working out it was my saving grace. Some days, though, that is all I had the energy to do. I would just encourage you to be patient with yourself and the process. Talk about it as much as you need. Take time to do what you need. Having your family for support is a huge blessing. I will be thinking of you and praying for comfort and peace for you and your family now and especially in the coming months.

    • 39
      Jen DeCurtins October 9, 2016, 11:06 am

      I am so sorry that you also lost your brother. And thank you for the affirmation that you don’t “get over it” but through it.

      I will check out Anne Lamont on Audible.

      I am trying to be as patient as I can. Teaching class has been 50/50 for me. Some days it feels like the right thing, some days I want to bolt out of the room and run.

      I appreciate the prayers and support. <3

  • 40
    Shannon October 6, 2016, 11:29 am

    Love and prayers for you and your family.

    • 41
      Jen DeCurtins October 9, 2016, 10:16 am

      Thank you Shannon. <3

  • 42
    Tara October 6, 2016, 2:36 pm

    big big hugs. take your time. you are doing the right thing by letting yourself feel all your feelings. there is no right or wrong way.

    • 43
      Jen DeCurtins October 9, 2016, 10:11 am

      Thank you for the encouragement Tara. <3

  • 44
    Chris October 8, 2016, 7:09 pm

    Oh Jen. I’m behind on your blog and just catching up now. My deepest condolencs on your loss. Your post is poignant and raw and very real. I absolutely believe that grief is a winding road with all kinds of turns. I am sending you thoughts of peace and warmth – may you feel comfort as long as you need it.

    • 45
      Jen DeCurtins October 9, 2016, 9:42 am

      Hi Chris – thank you. I appreciate the comment and the condolences. You are so right about grief. It’s definitely not a straight path.

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