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Moving Through, Part Three

I am really struggling with how to continue on with my day-to-day life and work responsibilities while feeling so sad (and so many other feelings) on the inside. There’s like this blurred filter between my inside and the outside world.

When it comes to teaching yoga, 50% of the time I feel grateful to be teaching and for the love and support of my students. The other 50% of the time I spend the whole class convincing myself to stay, keep teaching and not to bolt out of the room. My yoga community has really gone above and beyond with hugs, shared tears, cards, flowers, books and just being amazingly compassionate.

The marketing work for the studio is easiest. I welcome the distraction because I can shut off some of the feeling stuff for a period of time.

Blogging is the trickiest. Finding the balance between authenticity and business-as-usual has been a challenge but blogging is also something that I love to do and look forward to every day. I am finding myself wanting to write a lot more in general…but not necessarily things that I want to share yet publicly. But maybe one day.

The reality of the situation is that as much as I want to stick my head in the sand, I can’t take a hiatus from work because…bills. I also need the distraction to a point and teaching and writing through my grief has been an amazing exercise in opening my heart, trusting myself, trusting others and becoming more vulnerable.


I saw my therapist yesterday and the first thing she asked me was how I was doing with absorbing my brother’s death. I took a moments pause at the word “absorb” because I had just shared this poem on Instagram on Monday with the commentary that I was stuck on the absorption piece of it. She told me that I needed to give myself at least a year to absorb the reality. And that my grief will never go away. It’s just something that I’ll learn to co-exist with. That helped me a lot to hear.

This week has pushed me to my edges. I called my mom last night talk and hear her voice and share how I was feeling. Near the end of our conversation she told me that they had finally received my brother’s ashes. It hit me like a punch in the stomach. We are trying to figure out a date for a service and how to best honor him.

I sat down on the couch last night to take a breather and we turned on Parenthood. We’re on season 4 and good lord is it ever so real and so gut wrenching. I wept through 30 minutes of it before finally turning it off and getting in a hot shower. I woke up this morning with a headache and what I can best describe as an emotional hangover.

I’m doing my best to stay at these edges and feel whatever it is that I feel. The only way out is through.


Today was a better day. I received some good news about my body and running, made it to the gym to lift, wrote a post that I’ll be sharing next week for Legacybox and taught one of the best feeling yoga classes that I’ve taught since this all happened tonight. I spent a few hours this afternoon going through pictures from happier times. This picture in particular reminded me that my brother would want me to be happy and to do big, fun, amazing and scary things.

Thank you for letting me share the happy and the sad times here in this space.

All my love,

{ 36 comments… add one }
  • Erica October 12, 2016, 9:15 pm

    Thank you for sharing. My eyes are burning with tears. I have been following your blog for several years now and your writing and blog posts have always captured me. You give just the right amount of personal information and are so deep and really make me think. Prayers for you as you absorb this reality. I just want to reach out and hug you and shower you with delicious cupcakes!

    • Jen DeCurtins October 18, 2016, 7:15 pm

      Hi Erica – you are welcome. I appreciate you for reading and following along and can’t tell you how welcome your kind words are right now.

  • JennyV October 12, 2016, 9:21 pm

    What an awesome picture — the world vitality comes to mind when seeing it. I hope some of the pictures/memories brought you joy and comfort.

    Short on words today but know you’re in my thoughts 💕

    • Jen DeCurtins October 18, 2016, 7:14 pm

      Thank you Jenny. You have become such a nice online friend to have and I’m grateful we connected. <3

  • Courtney C October 12, 2016, 9:29 pm

    Lots of love to you. Been thinking about you and your family so much. ((Hugs))

    • Jen DeCurtins October 18, 2016, 7:14 pm

      Thank you Courtney!

  • Kate October 12, 2016, 9:43 pm

    Honestly, it’s comforting to hear from someone else that’s going through similar grief as me, you know? I really appreciate your realness on the blog! Your therapist is so right, I feel like I am figuring out how to co-exist with my grief. I felt similar to you soon after, confused on how to do normal day-to-day life without just pretending everything is fine at the same time. It’s a confusing time to move through, for sure!

    • Jen DeCurtins October 18, 2016, 7:13 pm

      Hi Kate – thank you for the comment and encouragement. We are most definitely not alone. It is a confusing process to move through but I’m just trying not to judge my feelings and to let myself feel them.

  • Katy October 12, 2016, 10:54 pm

    Keep moving one day at a time and swing through it like that pendulum. Thinking of and praying for you and your family ❤️

    • Jen DeCurtins October 18, 2016, 7:13 pm

      Thank you Katy. <3

  • Hillary October 12, 2016, 10:57 pm

    I admire your tenacity; I admire your vulnerability; I admire your honesty. I think this blog maintains a beautiful balance of you sharing your personal and professional life. It takes a lot of gut to keep showing up — to your blog, to your yoga mat, to your life… but you’re doing it time and time again, with perseverance to move through. May you continue to find peace and joy in this time of absorption. So many healing hugs xxx

    • Jen DeCurtins October 18, 2016, 7:12 pm

      Thank you so much for this comment, the kind words and the encouragement Hillary. It means a lot to me. It’s taken a while for me to find the right balance between personal and professional but I think as I age and mature and experience life, I become more clear on how to show up and why I need to keep doing it.

  • Stephanie October 13, 2016, 8:31 am

    Very touching post, made me cry. My dad died 20 years ago when I was 16 and I still miss him and think about him every day. However, it does get easier, only by the passing of time. Thinking of you and your family.

    • Jen DeCurtins October 18, 2016, 7:11 pm

      Stephanie – I am so sorry your lost your dad when you were so young. I can’t even imagine. I know you must still hold him close in your heart. Thank you for the kind words.

  • maya October 13, 2016, 9:12 am

    Sending you my love in these difficult times, Jen. You are always a source of inspiration, thank you for sharing your thoughts and experiences with us.

    • Jen DeCurtins October 18, 2016, 7:10 pm

      Thank you so much Maya.

  • India October 13, 2016, 12:18 pm

    You are so brave. Thank you for sharing. I’m so proud of you for going to therapy too. My half sister lost her brother to addiction at the beginning of the year. She hasn’t gone to therapy and is having such a difficult time still. Be you and know the blog & your readers will always be here.

    • Jen DeCurtins October 18, 2016, 7:10 pm

      I am so grateful that I grew up in a family where mental health care was encouraged. My mom is a licensed clinical social worker so I never felt like there was any stigma attached to counseling and therapy. I have been seeing my current therapist regularly for 5 years and it’s been one of the best investments I’ve ever made in myself. She’s amazing. I hope your half-sister can find support in some way soon. Al-Anon is another good resource. There are also a lot of grief support groups.

  • Tara October 13, 2016, 1:20 pm

    Absorption is such an interesting word for something like this. At first i thought this was odd but after some thought it seems like the perfect word. its like a sponge..you can only take on so much water at a time. then eventually you are just saturated and need to dry out a bit. interesting…

    That is a beautiful picture. I am sending hugs, wine, hot cocoa, good (or bad) TV, puppy pets, and cupcakes galore to you in my mind. i hope you can feel it.

    • Jen DeCurtins October 18, 2016, 7:07 pm

      Hi Tara,

      Thank you for your comment. I really like your analogy for the sponge. That’s exactly it. I appreciate the love and support…I am definitely feeling it from my community both here in Charlotte and online.


  • Aryn October 13, 2016, 1:25 pm

    I’m a longtime reader..these posts have really, really resonated with me. My younger sister has struggled with serious addiction issues for the majority of her adult life, and I’ve reacted to it in large part by emotionally and physically distancing myself. It’s very hard. Your posts hit a nerve and inspired me to reach out and tell her that I love her, which is something I wouldn’t have done otherwise. Thank you.

    • Jen DeCurtins October 18, 2016, 7:06 pm

      Hi Aryn,

      Thank you so much for this comment. Creating and holding those boundaries is the hardest thing but necessary for our own self-care. I am really touched to hear that you reached out to her though. You don’t have to have a close relationship but I think just making sure they know you love them and care means so much, even if it doesn’t seem like they’re hearing it. I so wish I would have had a recent moment like that with my brother.


  • emily October 13, 2016, 1:46 pm

    Hi Jen-
    I so wish I could take this pain away from your family. We lost my stepson 3 years ago from drug addiction. All I can say is KEEP RUNNING!! It absolutely kept me sane during the grief that followed. To be able to listen to music or books and pound the pavement will be incredibly therapeutic. You may have to stop the middle of your run and cry, scream, or laugh but that is what you need! And please know this- grief is truly a process. Take things as they come. Do only what you feel like doing- and fall apart every now and then if you need. Lean on your friends and family-and dogs!!! So glad to hear you are talking with a therapist.
    Please know I am thinking of you. And your precious parents. One thing that is clear- time moves on and with that your grief will ease a bit. Please keep us posted on your progress- we all love you.

    • Jen DeCurtins October 18, 2016, 7:04 pm

      Hi Emily –

      I am so sorry for your loss. Addiction is just the worst thing and it’s so hard to watch someone destroy themselves. I don’t know what I would do without running. And yes, I have felt like I’ve needed to do ALL of those things during my runs. I feel so lucky to have the most wonderful support from my friends and therapist and I just hope I can help hold my parents up in love and support as well.

      I can’t even thank you enough for your care and support.

  • Julie October 13, 2016, 3:57 pm

    Hi Jen, I wanted to expand a little bit on what your therapist said about the grief never going away. Yes and no. It does get SO much easier w/ time. It really does. I remember after my brother died looking at a picture of my family that was taken at a wedding a few months before & thinking that we will never be truly happy like that again. That we were now forever broken & would never feel pure happiness in the same way again. Well, I want to tell you that that wasn’t true. I have had many, many happy, joyful moments since – we all have. Every year gets a little bit easier & the grief gets mellower. There will be some days that a reminder will catch you by surprise, but that’s ok. Yes, I was forever changed, but not in such a hopeless way as it felt at the time. Granted, I don’t have the same carefree abandon I did in my 20’s before I realized that “bad things happen to good people” & life is fragile. I’m more of a worrier than I was then, but I also have a greater faith & turning those worries over to God is a huge blessing. You will feel joy again… I promise. XO

    • Jen DeCurtins October 18, 2016, 7:02 pm

      Hey Julie – thank you so much for sharing your experience with grief and the intensity of it over time. I didn’t really expand on what my therapist said but it was most definitely how you described it so it’s helpful to hear about your journey through it.

  • Vicki October 13, 2016, 10:41 pm

    Great post, thank you for sharing.

    • Jen DeCurtins October 18, 2016, 6:58 pm

      Thank you Vicki.

  • Megan October 14, 2016, 9:49 am

    I lost my dad 5 years ago, he had just turned 60. For at least a year I wasn’t myself. I worked, worked out, trained for a half marathon, and kept my social calendar going. But the entire time I felt like I was living inside a shell of myself. I talked to a therapist and some other friends who lost a loved one (that isn’t a grandparent or distant relative). And I realized I was normal. The pain is overwhelming. Some days it’s not as bad, some days getting out of bed takes everything you have. And that is ok! It’s been 5 long years without my dad. I’ve met the love of my life and gotten married. On the happiest day of my life, there was still a hole. I didn’t have my dad, and he won’t be at any event, big or small, ever again.
    That’s a huge reality to absorb. It takes time. It may feel like 2 steps forward, then 8 steps back. And that’s ok. Feel it all. And know you are ok, not great, but ok.

    • Julie October 14, 2016, 1:58 pm

      I lost my dad at 60, too. It sucks. 🙁 It’s been 16 yrs ago. Mostly I feel so bad that he & my mom were robbed of their retirement years together. And my daughter never got to know her grandpa (she was 6 mos. old when he died, & he was so excited about her!). It has def gotten easier over the years, but I continue to miss him, especially at times when I think, “Oh Dad would’ve gotten a kick outta that” or “Dad would def have something to say about that.” It also makes me sad that my significant other will never get to meet him & vice versa. I’ve discovered as I’ve matured over the last 16 yrs that I’m a lot more like my dad than I’d realized, & I miss having him around to commiserate with.

      • Jen DeCurtins October 18, 2016, 6:55 pm

        Hi Julie – I am sorry that you lost your father. And I totally get feeling bad for your parents. It is so sad for everyone…you, your mom, your daughter. I’m just so sorry.

    • Jen DeCurtins October 18, 2016, 6:58 pm

      Hi Megan,

      I am so sorry you lost your dad and at such a relatively young age. I know exactly what you mean about a shell. It’s like you’re going through all the motions but this huge part of you is forever changed. I’m sorry your dad couldn’t be at your wedding. My heart breaks for you. I really appreciate your comment and support and encouragement.

  • Janice October 14, 2016, 1:00 pm

    Thank you for sharing your emotions and being so honest. I don’t feel like we talk about the loss of life enough. I love the word ‘absorb’ and ‘co-exist’ to deal with grief.

    • Jen DeCurtins October 18, 2016, 6:56 pm

      Thank you for the support Janice. It’s been helpful to have this outlet, even though it requires me to lean in the direction of being really vulnerable.

  • Elizabeth October 17, 2016, 2:17 pm

    I have not lost a sibling so I can even imagine how hard this is for you. Your post def left me in tears. Thank you for sharing and being so open… but I wouldn’t totally understand if you weren’t. You have to do what’s best for you. Sending thoughts, prayers and hugs…

    • Jen DeCurtins October 18, 2016, 3:28 pm

      Elizabeth – thank you so much for the kindness and support. <3

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