An interview with Katie Hawkins-Gaar
Thank you so much. My witty, glamorous goofy mom died one month ago and I needed this so much.
My mother died seven years ago next Monday. Every year, we call her death anniversary Bonny Day, and try to do something nice for people - donate to a favorite charity, host a lunch for her friends, etc. I was telling someone about Bonny Day, and I choked up and could not talk for a minute. Grief doesn’t disappear. It comes and goes in waves.
One of my oldest and best friends took his own life five and a half years ago and he's still in my dreams, which hurts every time. I drive by his grave regularly and haven't been able to bring myself to stop because I'm afraid I'll be that woman cussing out a headstone, my grief for him is inextricably wrapped up with anger, both at myself and him. It's also weird because he was the closest male friend I had for years (since 8th grade) and he introduced me to my husband, but since he wasn't a romantic partner (not since I was 13) or a relative, it feels awkward to vocalize how much I still mourn him.
Love this interview and The Sweet Dumb Brain newsletter! Thanks for this quote: “oh, that’s been no time at all.” I’m processing a tricky end to a tricky marriage, and I often feel I should be “over it,” by now, even though it officially ended this year. This is the grace I needed to hear today, thanks for sharing.
This really resonated with me. I’ve endeavoured to grieve with transparency and authenticity. I am a bereaved mother, a Homicide Survivor and Gun Violence Survivor. The stigma my family faced due to this unholy trinity spurred me towards a more external form of grieving, to demonstrate that tragedy and murder are not contagious. I offer no redemption, no happy ending: horrific things happen for no reason whatsoever. People want the comfort of your triumph over adversity. I’m just trying to survive another day and re-engage with life.
Anderson Cooper has a podcast called ...I think All There Is. The third episode is with a palliative care doc whose sister, like Cooper's brother, died by suicide -- as did one if my closest friends when we were in our early 20s. The doc said something like "grief makes us feel so alone but it's something we all experience and I think we make things harder for ourselves" by maintaining that atomized grief. It sounds like the Sweeet Dumb Brain community addresses just that (as this one does). That is really something special.
reading this newsletter felt like taking a walk with a wise, older friend & kinder version of myself. thank you 💕
I'm dealing with a different kind of grief right now...my marriage of 19 years is ending, and I am heartbroken. About the death of the future I'd envisioned, the family I thought I had built, even the home I'm going to have to sell soon. And almost no one in my life wants to talk about it at all. If they do, it's about revenge fantasies, or "getting back out there" to find someone new, or moving on.
My grief is so real, and yet there is no bereavement time for it. There are no casseroles, no rituals. No one in my family has come to my house to sit with me. Many of my friends are busy with their own life crises right now. If my husband had died, they would be there, I know. But because he still out there, I feel like no one sees how much I am hurting. Either that, or my grief is so uncomfortable for other people that people want to pretend like it doesn't exist. Which of course, makes it all the harder to deal with.
There should be some community in grief. And with the exception of one newish friend, also recently divorced, there has been almost none of that.
It took me three tries to read this all the way through, because I couldn't get passed, "One of the most helpful things I heard from someone in regards to my own loss was, “Oh, it’s been no time at all!”
My brother died suddenly and unexpectedly 2 years ago on November 1; the way time expands and contracts since then has been so destabilizing in so many ways, so it is SUCH a relief to hear that indeed, it's been no time at all.
Thank you. I need to read that this week. It was very difficult. but necessary.
I love it when worlds collide. I’ve been a reader of Katie’s newsletter for a long time and it was great to have her featured here.
Check out the book Future Widow ...
What a helpful reframe: "sadness is your friend". Thank you! I also really needed the reminder that taking time off from work is something we should strive to do, if we have the privilege. I'm in my 4th week away from work (I lost my dad 4 and a half years ago) and have had the question "what are you doing with yourself?!" floating around in my head. I am taking a much-needed rest! Thank you for writing about this!!
I'm sending love to all here <3