If i were an artist like Picasso, I would call this time in my life my blue period. My husband of 16 years, Jay, died December 30, 2015. I can relate to the lyrics of Beth Nielsen Chapman in her song Seven Shades of Blue about her husband, Ernest, dying of cancer:

So let 'em turn my soul
Seven shades of blue

And with the ocean's roll
I will wave to you
And the birds will sing my laughter
And the whales will steal my song
And I'll be ok forever after
And the world will get along

Grief is different I believe for everyone. For me, it feels like I am more together and present than ever but at the same time coming undone in ways that I have needed to for a long time.  It feels ethereal and luminal but laden with a sadness that is slow and thick like a velvety southern drawl or honey dripping from a spoon. It feels incredibly private and sacred but I also feel there are stories to be shared. And as I mentioned in the beginning, if I were to name this period in my life a color it would be blue but blue is my favorite color.

Life is full of contradictions like the above. And you have to be strong to hold them all. Junebug Strong.

Who is Junebug Strong? To be honest, I am not sure who she is as she seems to be evolving in my head as I weave together losses in my life from my dad at age 6 to Jay at age 45 with the loss of my brother-in-law, Jim and my dear friend, Scott in between. Jay would not be mad if I shared that Junebug was a nickname given to me by a guy I was dating right before Jay and I met.  

I broke up with him when he gave me a green pocketknife with Junebug inscribed on it. What can I say – like my dad you will read about in my Junebug blog, I am a romantic at heart and there was nothing romantic about this gift.  Jay was much better at giving me gifts but the biggest gift Jay gave me is all around me in the life we built together. It is what gives me hope everyday.

Although I only have a handful of friends who still call me Junebug, when I left my company in 2015, I started thinking the name “Junebug Strong” would be a good name for my next something in life...introducing Junebug Strong

I love to hear from readers!  My email is jessie@junebugstrong.com.

Jessie & Jay: July 17, 1999

Jessie & Jay: July 17, 1999