It’s been a while

I’ve let the weeds grow on my blog for a season. I was wondering whether I’d allow it to go to seed and quietly walk away, but here I am, quietly coming back.

We’ve shared some experiences, you and I, since we last met in this particular digital space. I can say that quite confidently, as COVID-19 has reached its way around the world, giving us a global story of a sort.

One experience you haven’t shared. On 28 October 2019 my precious mother died in a horrific road accident in South Africa, along with two friends. My father and the driver made it out alive: two miracles when we needed five. I’ll take them with gratitude; the rest is mystery.

I’m not the same person anymore, though I’d be hard-pressed to say how I”ve changed. Grief leaves its mark. And so I haven’t known how to speak above a whisper or to address a scary wide open space like the internet.

I still don’t know if I’m honest. But let’s start here: hello again. And thanks for reading.

16 thoughts on “It’s been a while”

  1. Martin says:

    Hello back to you! It’s nice to read something from you following what must have been a monumentally difficult event that I’m sure is still monumentally difficult.

    The Internet is a scary place; I don’t blame you for staying a way. But, blogs can be a useful space for getting thoughts ‘out there’ in a relatively safe environment. Your online friends are here 🙂

    1. joswinney says:

      Martin you are the best. Thank you. Online friends are real friends as Bex Lewis taught so many of us.

      1. Martin says:

        So true. (Sorry, only just saw this!)

        I hope you’re feeling ok.

  2. Ivan says:

    “I’ll take them with gratitude; the rest is mystery.” Thanks for this, Jo. Love to Peter. _ Ivan & Julie

  3. Jenny Hawke says:

    So beautifully written Jo. You have joined the ranks of all of us who are living with loss. We are never the same. Grief is in our DNA. Go gently.

  4. Louise Skeats says:

    Much love to you, Jo. Step by step. Xx

  5. Murray says:

    Some things just don’t have to be spoken about. Not even in a whisper. But the time will come when you’ll find yourself speaking of them, not because you’ve tried to but because they just come out…. not in a whisper but with reassuring calm as you comfort another with the comfort you have received

  6. George Omondi Were says:

    We thank God that He is bringing you back and pray to him that His healing upon you will continue taking place and that He will open your spiritual eyes and ears more. Pole sana.

  7. Gabi says:

    Jo I’ve been thinking of you so often over the past few months and wanting to reach out but not knowing what to say. So thank you for this prompt for me to say hello. I’m thinking of you. I hope you’re ‘ok’ – not sure what that means. Putting one step in front of the other and moving through the grief I guess? Lots of love from afar. Gabi xxx

  8. Allen Goddard says:

    Thank you Jo for returning to your written voice. May it come back stronger to you in it’s own time. The lovely photo speaks a world. Peace of the gentle Christ to you in your now familiar landscape of such loss!

  9. Anne-Laure Djaballah says:

    Oh Jo, how strange the jumps that brought me from looking for goldfish help to your blog… I’m so sorry about your mom. I only met her briefly but I remember her gently caring.
    What else to say but I’m sending you my love, and hope that you will continue to move slowly and gently ahead. Take care.

  10. Shauna Anderson says:

    Such a beautiful photo, Jo. Thank you for bravely posting. Grief does indeed leave its mark. Bless you.

  11. Sarah Walker says:

    Love to you, Jo. It is such a joy to get to connect with you more regularly in our daily work, but such a challenge to keep walking and find a voice at times. Thank you for your written voice here.

    1. Andy Smith says:

      Hi Jo, thank you for putting yourself out there and sharing your life, grief and thoughts. I’m replying late because I’ve been saving your blog for a rainy day. Keep going, keep posting. Best wishes

  12. Bev Wilson says:

    Much love, Jo! Listening. <3

  13. meubel winkels says:

    I had three years with a really amazing Christian psychiatrist and had been on medication for ten years. Other practical things like getting enough sleep, exercise, having a good support network of people who keep tabs on me when I m dipping, being disciplined with my thought life. I am trying to memorise more and more scripture because I really find with my depression that it takes over my thoughts and it s really hard to argue with that. Turning instead to different Bible passages I find that really helpful. Forcing myself to run through all the things I have to be grateful for. Little bits of self-care. Noticing when it s becoming more of a two-day or three-day blip. Get some support yourself. Don t be a one man band. With the permission of the person you are supporting, find one or two people who you can be carried by in that. Be a faithful friend and don t desert them. It s very small things like text and showing up when you say you are going to. It s practical things like doing the dishes for them, helping them make a doctor s appointment but that can all be summarised as just be there. Really give up the hope of trying to fix it because that way lies frustration. If you try and reason with them or pray for healing (do pray for healing, but then don t show up the next time and expect them to be fine), it might be a really long-term thing, it might get better in a couple of weeks or months but they might stay there for a while so let go of the fix it mentality otherwise you are just going to get really enraged.

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