Every Story Has a Beginning

By Sarah Munn-Wojtaszek, November 2nd, 2022

“Grief is a journey,” to me it sounds like a dumb cliche. I have been saying this for years and it has become hollow words. This is not the journey I wanted or if I had been given a choice, I wouldn’t have chosen. Hiking through life over the last 14 years has been nothing I expected and it has been so much more than I expected. Recently, I listened to Megan Devine’s book It’s Okay You’re Not Okay, which lead to buying her grief journal How to Carry What Can’t be Fixed.

First, I give the book 5 out of 5 stars and highly recommend this book for all that have loved and lost and are on their own “grief hike.” She writes down all the things I have thought and experienced over the years. Validating my emotions and experiences as neither right nor wrong but just are. Soon after listening to the book, I bought her grief journal. Honestly, I have had this journal for several months. I take it everywhere I go and… not once opening it to look inside once. Well, I did read the first 5 pages once and then it again just sat in my book bag like the heavy weight of the grief I have lived the last 14 years. I don’t think I was aware of my avoidance or perhaps not truly prioritizing its importance in the self-work I often avoid doing. Truthfully, it doesn’t matter.

Here we are and today I opened the book and found my way through chapter one. I am sharing my process through this journal. Perhaps you can find the love, validation and connection I found in reading her book and now as I continue on my “grief hike.” As I said, I am 14 years into this hike (I love hiking and a grief hike seems more apropos with its ups and downs). Grace’s birthday is exactly one month away. Often feeling like it was just yesterday we were planning her birth and ultimate death. As Megan has shared, our grief does not shrink over time, we grow and live around it. We carry it with us every day.

Chapter 1- The Story Begins

Every story has a beginning. Mine started August 7, 2008. Reflecting on our story and myself in the role of the heroine. I decided to draw what life was before Grace and then the dreaded after Grace. The heroine living a pretty amazing life and not completely aware or appreciative of the life she had. Living blind, carefree, and unaware of true struggle. Then within seconds a life crushed, destroyed and forever changed. As, you can see in my picture of my drawing the sweet innocence died that day and the ensuing chaos was dark, ugly and twisted.

I was able to purge some of the thoughts and emotion I was feeling after drawing this image. I am also sharing an image of this purge.

hose first moments, days, weeks are as vivid as they were when I first hiked them. I find myself there from time to time. It can last a few minutes, hours, or maybe a couple days. It lasts as long as it is necessary for me to process the emotion and thoughts I am experiencing. It has been a fantastic day today. I am celebrating my decision to open to chapter one and work my way through all that it brought up. I continue to hike and move one foot in front of the other. We can’t turn back and choose an alternate ending and so we live on.

All the best to you and thank you for taking this hike along with me ~ Sarah

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