About this Blog: Mourning and Remembering My Life with Nancy

Nancy and me just prior a few days prior to her diagnosis of advanced breast cancer
Nancy and me just a few days prior to her diagnosis of advanced breast cancer.  Nancy is the good-looking blonde.

“One of the commonest ways to deal with another’s suffering is to make light of it, to gloss over it, to attempt shortcuts through it.  Because it is so painful, we try to get to the other side quickly.   Lamentations provides a structure to guarantee against that happening” (Eugene H. Peterson, Five Smooth Stones for Pastoral Work).

Lamentations of a Lesbian Widow explores my mourning process following the death of my partner/spouse/co-parent Nancy on October 1st, 2014. “Lamentations” is a book from the Bible that describes the destruction of the city of Jerusalem, and is replete with passages in which the narrator (presumably Jeremiah) weeps, cries aloud, and begs God for relief from suffering. In my own lamentations, I weep and remember, seek moments of respite, and attempt to find new meaning through traversing the dark spaces of grief.

In American society, it is often implied that we should act as if nothing has happened as we go about our lives in the aftermath of the loss of a loved one. People are sometimes uncomfortable asking us how we are doing or mentioning the loved one in conversation. But I believe that my own healing requires that I both remember and lament all that has been and cannot be again.   If intense grief be the cost of intense love, so be it.

Nancy and I were together for 27 years. She had been in remission from breast cancer for seven years. Just one year before she died on October 1st, she was diagnosed with a recurrence of the cancer. Things looked good at first, but trouble began arising in mid-summer of 2014.  She had her last chemotherapy treatment just a week and a half before she died and was brought home to hospice.

One of the bittersweet aspects of my life with Nancy is that we were finally permitted by the state of Michigan to be married on March 22, 2014 (during a five-hour Saturday interlude), just over six months before she died.  Following that brief moment in time when Michigan couples could marry, the Michigan courts and Governor Snyder have declared that it was as if these marriages never existed.   Finally, on June 26, 2015, less than a year after Nancy died, the Supreme Court ruled that depriving same-sex couples of the right to marry was an infringement of their rights as citizens. Let these lamentations stand as a testimony to the enduring power of love, commitment, and family for same-sex couples everywhere.

About me: Julia Grant lives in East Lansing, MI and is the mother of two teenaged daughters.  Although most of my work has been in the form of scholarship up to this point, I find pleasure in narrative writing at this juncture of my life.

18 thoughts on “About this Blog: Mourning and Remembering My Life with Nancy

  1. Mollie Callow January 10, 2015 / 5:15 pm

    I look forward to all your thoughts. Love you, Mollie

    Liked by 1 person

    • juliagrant1 January 12, 2015 / 3:25 pm

      Thanks, Mollie. I love you too.

      Like

  2. Dianiewillshaw January 12, 2015 / 12:23 pm

    Brave and wonderful. we are with you, and send love and support in whatever way we can. Thank you for sharing, I know many will benefit from it. Prayers to you and your family.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Nanette Millen January 12, 2015 / 12:59 pm

    I am so very sorry for your loss….

    Liked by 1 person

    • juliagrant1 January 13, 2015 / 11:36 am

      Thank you so much for your kindness and reading the blog.

      Like

  4. Texas Ivy January 12, 2015 / 2:15 pm

    Much Love and Light to you and your family, Julia. Thank you for sharing your story.

    Liked by 1 person

    • juliagrant1 January 13, 2015 / 11:37 am

      Thank you for the gifts of love and light…I’m glad that you appreciated the story.

      Like

  5. renee mccammon bollinger January 12, 2015 / 2:16 pm

    Iam so sorry for your loss but so happy that you shared such a gift with nancy. I too lost my wife last year to cancer and I can tell you life has been questionable at many moments for me. My wife was my life and love of and now iam trying to find a new rhythm but we who are gifted such angels need to continue to fight the fight so that one day we can all marry our loves….

    Liked by 1 person

    • juliagrant1 January 13, 2015 / 11:38 am

      Renee, I have found that we who have suffered a loss such as this in a wholly new place and forced to question every aspect of our lives. I agree with you that we must support marriage equality even as we mourn our own.

      Like

  6. ilovemacaroniart January 23, 2015 / 8:17 pm

    I am following you after reading your post The Gift. I am so sorry for your loss thank you for sharing your story. On a side note (and forgive me if I will learn this after reading your blog), has anything changed since your marriage is now recongized by the state?

    Like

  7. juliagrant1 January 23, 2015 / 9:20 pm

    Thanks for asking. Our marriage is now “legitimate” in the eyes of the state. What that means is that I can now file a joint tax return as a widow. The sad part is that Nancy was never able to adopt our daughters, since in Michigan they did not allow single lesbians to jointly adopt. With our marriage recognized, we would have been able to do that, and I would now be collecting the social security Nancy worked so hard for to help support our daughters until they are eighteen. Welcome to the blog.

    Like

    • ilovemacaroniart January 24, 2015 / 8:19 am

      I hope that you have at least some help being able to file as a widow…my fiancee & I are waiting until it’s officially legal here in Michigan before we get married (April can not come soon enough). Jess has 4 kids,and even though I consider them my own I will never be able to adopt them as their father is still very much involved…..

      Like

      • juliagrant1 January 24, 2015 / 10:31 am

        I wish you and Jess all the best and that the marriages happen soon! They will happen. Cherish her.

        Like

      • ilovemacaroniart January 24, 2015 / 3:00 pm

        Thank you…I do, more than she knows

        Like

  8. Patricia A. Nugent January 24, 2015 / 4:58 pm

    The mourning of a same-sex partner is often disenfranchised grief in our culture, not fully recognized as valid, making the bereavement period all the more isolated. The same is true when an older adult loses an elderly parent….the unspoken message is, “What did you expect?” I hope Julia’s “Lamentations” help others cope with LGBT grief disenfranchisement.

    Liked by 1 person

    • juliagrant1 January 27, 2015 / 12:21 pm

      Thank you, Patricia. I have appreciated your own writings on the topic of grief so much. I hope to learn from you as well, as I a relative newcomer to this process.

      Like

  9. Steven Visco June 22, 2016 / 1:29 am

    Dear Julia,

    I knew Nancy quite well in college. She was a remarkable and beautiful person with a great sense of humor and deep love of humanity. It’s been years since I spoke with Nancy – I had no idea that she was sick. I read both of your blog posts – they are very touching, and I am deeply sorry for your loss. I am also mourning her loss, but it is clear to me that she was very lucky to have you in her life.

    Like

  10. Hope longeretta November 27, 2017 / 7:55 pm

    My dearest Julia , this piece was Eloquently written . The pain and sorrow can overwhelm us at times . I am sincerely sorry for your loss .

    Like

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