Friday, September 29, 2023


A stranger in my own life: how grief transformed me | on the creek blog //

I recently commented on someone's Instagram post about grief: "My husband's death changed every part of me. I'm like a stranger in my old life." The words struck a chord with many, so I felt compelled to elaborate. For weeks, I've been grappling with this feeling of being a stranger in my life, and here's why.

The Person I Was

James and I built a life filled with shared dreams, laughter, and love. We even took a foreclosure and turned it into a cherished home. But when I lost him, it felt like the person I was also vanished. I found myself asking, "Who am I now?"

A Wardrobe Transformation

While journaling last week, I realized something startling: my wardrobe has completely transformed since James passed away. Before, my clothing choices were a mix of comfort and style, often influenced by our shared activities and tastes. But in the nearly two years since his death, my closet has filled with pieces that the old me would never have chosen. It's as if I'm trying to dress a new character in the ongoing story of my life.

"When you come out of the storm, you won’t be the same person who walked in. That’s what the storm is all about." | on the creek blog //

Redefining Home

Our home, a labor of love that James and I poured our hearts into, has also changed. I've spent considerable time and money redecorating, opting for styles and colors that depart from what we had chosen together.

The TV Show Analogy

If my life were a television show, it would be as if the producers decided to switch out the main character mid-season. I may look the same, but everything else is different. Everything has shifted in my clothes, home, and even how I approach my creative projects.

"In the garden of memory, in the palace of dreams, that is where you and I will meet." | on the creek blog //

The Psychology Behind Change

Could these changes be a subconscious way of distancing myself from the pain? Perhaps altering my surroundings and appearance is a coping mechanism to say, "That was the old Tiff's life, and I'm not her anymore."

Final Thoughts

Grief is a complex, transformative experience that changes us in ways we can't fully comprehend. As I navigate this new chapter, I find solace in my evolving identity and the home that continues to be my sanctuary. And while I may feel like a stranger in my old life, I'm learning to embrace the person I'm becoming.

On the Creek blog is proud to be a part of the T&J Maintenance family - turning houses into homes.