My daughter Caroline once shared an image with me she relates to as she carries grief.
I have since learned the image she shared is based on Tonkin's model of grief. Tonkin's model of grief suggests that while the grief may stay the same, with time, your life grows around grief. So, I like to think my jar is growing. It feels like my jar is growing!
I have read many articles, watched videos, and found various interpretations of this model. I think of the image often.I find myself thinking of different ways the model relates to how I, myself, have grown around grief, how I carry grief. There are many different interpretations of this model, which to me, is a beautiful thing. Each interpretation stems from the personal experiences and perspectives of those impacted by grief.
Since my last post in May of 2022, the jar carrying my grief has grown larger and additional pieces of grief have been added to the jar. My father passed away on May 22, 2022, two years and two months after my husband's passing. Not only did this make my own jar heavier, it added weight to my daughter's jars. Then, right before the three of us went to the beach, we lost our sweet little dog, Sookie. No matter how old your kids, even adult kids, may be, as a parent, you worry about the weight they carry. I am so fortunate to have daughters that talk about their feelings, work to address the added weight of life events, and have a close relationship to each other. The three of us are always working together to grow around the grief.
In addition to my beautifully strong girls, family and friends help keep the jar filled to the brim so growth around the grief can happen.
Then, there is that special someone that jumped right in and helped take care of me while I was carrying my jar with one arm, literally, one working arm.
At the end of the day, it is a conscious effort to make sure positive things are going into my jar. I would be lying if I said I never think about why the jar is part of my every day life along with the constant grief that occupies space in the jar. I do think about it...every day. The jar isn't going to go away and the grief isn't going to lessen, or shrink. However, I am so fortunate that all the things listed above help my jar grow with positivity.
I'll end with some images that I visualize and think about when I feel my jar needing a boost. The beach trip with my girls, being well enough to kayak again, and finally, celebrating a rainbow because Todd loved a good rain ending with a rainbow!