bubble battle + where do you go from here

June 19, 2014 |  Category:   life nyc







There are glimpses of moments when I forget and feel like nothing’s happened. Maybe it was a dream. That’s far from true, of course, but it’s a reminder that one day that feeling will become more the norm than the exception. I’ve come out of hiding, even working in an office a few days a week (more on that later) and I don’t mind crowds because I can be anonymous, but the truth is I don’t feel like I belong anywhere. Is it common to feel this?


And then there’s this: this seemingly random bubble event in the middle of the day in Union Square. It’s like every kid’s (and maybe some adults) dream to be surrounded by thousands of floating iridescent bubbles. They’re launched from wands by a force of air, but drift lightly until suddenly, they’re gone.

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  • Roos June 19, 2014 at 2:58 am

    Dear Jenna,
    You don’t belong anywhere and at the same time you do belong everywhere. That’s how it is I think – not the separation between you as an individual versus the world, but the fact that you are part of the world, regardless if you know how to “fit in”. Please know you are part of my life as I’m reading your story!

    Time and time people have reassured me life was getting better, as if they wanted to convince me that luck was just around the corner for me to grasp. After a couple of intense years of living with cancer, I know life isn’t getting any better. However, my view on life is much, much better. As is the way I’m currently living my life. As stupid and insignificant it might seem in these first raw periods of grief, there are profound lessons to be learned from all of this sh*t…
    You are seeing and capturing the moment of light, how good of you!
    love from Amsterdam,

    • Ines June 19, 2014 at 9:42 am

      Jenna, thank you for such a truthful post.
      Roos, your words are so beautiful and tender and true.

    • Jenna June 20, 2014 at 8:55 am

      Roos, thank you for your words and I’m sorry you’ve had such a tough time the last few years. I know that you’ve been coming to this blog for a while and so appreciate that. All the best to you. Hope you find continued strength every day.

  • V June 19, 2014 at 6:39 am

    I’m french and my english is far from being perfect, so i know i won’t be able to write what i feel but i find your words really beautiful, we can feel all the love you have for your brother and the feelings that are with you since this day.
    You’re brave and talented because it must be very hard to put some words on that.
    I wish you the best.

    • Jenna June 20, 2014 at 8:56 am

      Thank you V.

  • Hata Trbonja June 19, 2014 at 8:15 am

    The bubbles and your words.
    We just put one foot in front of the other until we find a new balance.
    We are always newborns after trauma. We have to learn how to live a new life.
    Hugs and more hugs,

    • Jenna June 20, 2014 at 8:57 am

      I like how you put it, putting one foot in front of the other to find balance. Newborn is an interesting analogy! But I see how that strikes a chord. Everything seems different on this side.

  • amy June 19, 2014 at 11:16 am

    hi jenna. i am so very sorry for all you are going through! grief is so unpredicatable – i guess all you can do is just try to get though each day for now. sending you lots of love, strength and positive energy! x amy

    • Jenna June 20, 2014 at 8:58 am

      Thanks Amy. Some days I think things are better, then the next day feels hard. I guess this is the way things will go for awhile.

  • Lakshmi June 19, 2014 at 11:51 am

    We live and we learn and we grow… There is no changing that fact about life.

    Just know that you are being carried forward by much love and support and good wishes and encouragement… honest.


    • Jenna June 20, 2014 at 8:58 am

      Thanks Lakshmi, for all your comments over the past year too.

  • Vandegee June 19, 2014 at 11:53 am

    It’s totally normal to feel that way. How can you not feel that way when every little normalcy seems odd to you – i.e., how do you answer the question “how are you?” It’s a question that’s tossed off a thousand times a day by friends and strnagers alike, a mere polite bit of conversation, and you can’t really answer “horrible” to an acquaintance – yet saying “I’m fine.” or “Good” seems wrong, almost like a betrayal to your grief. But it gets better day by day. And suddenly there will be a day when you realize your grief hasn’t been a presence all day, and you will feel a bit of that fog lift. Hang in there. Grab on to those small moments like the bubble – they keep you from feeling to adrift.

    • Jenna June 20, 2014 at 8:59 am

      That is true! How do I answer that? I sort of want to avoid that question altogether which is why I think it’s just easier to be among strangers right now.

      • Patricia June 22, 2014 at 9:46 am

        Answer however feels right to you. Don’t worry about how you “should” respond – because really, there is no one correct way to handle such situations.

        After Judy’s death, my standard answer has become, “Do you want me to answer you truthfully? Or do you want me to give you the socially acceptable answer?”

        I put the question back on them. Most of the time, the person stops for a minute, thinks about it and responds, “Truthfully.”

        Then, I tell them the truth.

        For those that get flustered, they’ll laugh in a slightly uneasy way and change the subject.

        If anything, going through the loss of a loved one really showed me who is in my inner circle – essentially, who matters in my life – and who doesn’t. In a way, it’s a gift to get that knowledge.

  • mudslide cookie June 19, 2014 at 12:37 pm

    True words. I find comfort that in what I myself am going through, the after effects- aren’t foreign and alone mine. It’s healing to know the strangeness of it all is something someone will go through at some point of their life-and still survive through. I pray the pain is more and more less for you.

    • Jenna June 20, 2014 at 9:00 am

      Thanks so much

  • Lakshmi June 20, 2014 at 10:52 am

    Can’t believe the little big girl that Claudine is turning into… 🙂

    • Jenna June 20, 2014 at 10:53 am

      yeah. Crazy, right?

  • Patricia June 22, 2014 at 9:38 am

    For whatever it’s worth, I think it is totally normal, Jenna. When my dearest friend Amy lost her father a few years ago, she went through the feelings and experiences you’re talking about. When I lost my step-mom (who was my mom in all ways, other than biology) this spring, I did too – and still am.

    Feeling numb, feeling separated and withdrawn from those around you, hunting for an explanation about their death, wrestling with rage….even just being able to handle the whipsaw of emotions while trying to balance life, family and work without alienating everyone? It’s incredibly hard. So do try to cut yourself a bit of slack while you’re going through this.

    It’s. Flippin’. Tough.

    And personally, I don’t think I’ll ever get over Judy’s death – and it may be the same for you with the loss of your brother. But I do think we all eventually accept such losses and value the time we did spend with them. And, maybe, the loss teaches us to value the time we have now with family and friends that much more.

    As my old-fashioned farmer of a father always says, “You can always make another dollar. But you can’t make another minute.”

    If that makes any sense…?

  • bh June 23, 2014 at 5:53 am

    I have been thinking of you but really can’t come up with an appropriate, sensible comment. I absolutely get the point on needing to fel anonymous, illness did that to me, but I hope that you have friends who can provide support and help you walk through grief. Same for your parents, of course.
    Take care.

  • jen June 23, 2014 at 4:30 pm

    the feeling of loss never goes away but time does heal. i always remind myself that this moment is not the rest of my life.

  • Kay June 25, 2014 at 12:44 pm

    Am I the only one who can “see” George W. Standing behind Claudine in the second photo? 😉

  • Sabrina Klomp July 25, 2014 at 6:25 pm

    Jenna, thank you for your blog. I stumbled across it today in hopes of expanding my “blog community.” How serendipitous that in the sea of blogs without personality that portray life in a shiny + plastic style, that I find you are here sharing your soul, even as it’s aching. Thank you. Thank you for sharing and reminding me of so many humans around the world that feel and breathe and need others to help them.

    I wish you all the best in this time of grief and contemplation. I pray you can find comfort in your questions and fearlessness in the unknown.

    Thank you also for the lovely photos.