Family, Healing, Love

My Children Leave Me in January

Snow and Ice

My children leave me in January when winter sky covers the fields. Dropped temperatures bundle us into sluggish selves. Frosted windows watch as the world whispers in thickened silence.

My children leave me in January never following the predetermined course of others their age. Not August or September when many return to school. While recent graduates load trailers traveling toward new adventures. And gap year’s youth stuff large backpacks with necessities for discovering the unknown.

But January while I wonder who I am without their daily sounds and smiles. Mourn my womb’s smallness. Never enough to hold them forever, within me, around me, close.

My children leave me in January leaving a scattering of unpaired shoes, balled up socks, and half-read books. Things set down as markers of this place still theirs while they seek something other than here.

My children leave me in January as if coming back. And they do. But each time less to stay than to visit. A gradual reduction of living together as family. Signaling a time almost over for forever. Womb receding, shriveling, sobbing in emptiness.

Grief, Newsletter, Trauma recovery




Welcome to my inaugural newsletter. Why a newsletter? Well honestly the idea began at the advice of every marketing person in the publishing industry. Somehow newsletters boost book sales. Believe me, I’m not producing a newsletter because I want to contribute to the clutter in your inbox. So yes, I am a bit sceptical. But honestly I’m also enjoying what began as yet another task on my to do list! So here it is, my first newsletter as an author. If you continue reading you will find I’ve included background information pertaining to things I write about in the book. Some months you will find sections called “bonus reads” from the original manuscript that didn’t make the final cut. Also included are a few grief and trauma recovery resources  as well as upcoming events and publications. And that’s about it. Thank you for reading any of my writing and blessings on your healing journey.                                                                               

~~~Jennifer Ohman-Rodriguez~~~


Please join me and Chalice Press President & Publisher, Brad Lyons, for a Q & A on Tuesday, January 18th at 7:00 PM CST. Click here to register. 


CP chalice only  My book is currently available (on sale!) at Chalice Press. 


Every author relies on readers to write online reviews. Authors need a minimum of 100 reviews on Amazon to be effective. Please consider reviewing my book at my Amazon author’s page.


Tears and Rain was a major theme in my experience of grief with trauma recovery. Tears because they streamed unbidden throughout each day and night. Rain because the universe around me mourned as well. Tears (and rain) brought healing to me and continue to bring healing and new life to our world.

Tears and Rain is also a song by James Blunt. His lyrics, filled with the poetry, portray trauma’s afterlife. Listen to the track below. Read the lyrics. 


How I wish I could surrender my soul
Shed the clothes that become my skin
See the liar that burns within my needing
How I wish I’d chosen darkness from cold
How I wish I had screamed out loud
Instead I’ve found no meaning. I guess it’s time I run far, far away, find comfort in pain
All pleasure’s the same, it just keeps me from trouble
Hides my true shape, like Dorian Gray
I’ve heard what they say, but I’m not here for trouble
It’s more than just words, it’s just tears and rain. How I wish I could walk through the doors of my mind
Hold memory close at hand
Help me understand the years
How I wish I could choose between Heaven and Hell
How I wish I would save my soul
I’m so cold from fear. I guess it’s time I run far, far away, find comfort in pain
All pleasure’s the same, it just keeps me from trouble
Hides my true shape, like Dorian Gray
I’ve heard what they say, but I’m not here for trouble
Far, far away, find comfort in pain
All pleasure’s the same, it just keeps me from trouble
It’s more than just words, it’s just tears and rain. Oh
Tears and rain
Tears and rain. Far, far away, find comfort in pain
All pleasure’s the same, it just keeps me from trouble
It’s more than just words
It’s just tears and rain


This month’s bonus read, “A Widow’s Wreath,”  first appeared on my blog in February, 2017. Read about my adverse reaction to placing a wreath on Tony’s grave that first Christmas here.  


What’s Your Grief is one of the most comprehensive resources I’ve seen on grief.

Trauma Recovery at Compassionate Christianity is my curated site full of trauma recovery resources.


Planning for future in-person, hybrid, and online speaking engagements is underway for 2022. If your organization, church, podcast, conference, library, or literary festival is interested in inviting me to speak, please click here: Invite Jennifer to Speak. Here’s what’s on the calendar so far: 

November 4, 2021:  A Time to Mourn & A Time to Dance is in the Southeastern Iowa Synod of the ELCA eNews.

Gather Magazine published my article, “Small, simple self-care” in their January/February 2022 edition. 

Tuesday, January 18, 2022 at 7:00 PM CST: Join me online for a Q & A with Chalice Press President, Brad Lyons. Click here to register.  

Monday, January 24, 2022: Brian Allain of Writing for Your Life and Compassionate Christianity interviews me. I’ll post a link in next month’s newsletter. 

Monday, February 21, 2022: I’m presenting at the event “Poems for a Dangerous Time” at the Montreat Conference Center in Montreat, North Carolina.

Sunday, March 13, 2022: Join me at the Tucson Festival of Books! I’ll be at the Adult Fiction/Non-Fiction tent from 2:30 to 4:30. 

Healing, Love

A Nest Between

Weave with precious threads rounded walls,
Unraveled from various fabrics,
Wedding gown, suits, maternity clothes, barongs,
Neckties, favorite shirts, ripped blue jeans, funeral attire. 

Fill woven cup with soft flannel,
Cut from well-washed baby blankets and elders' crocheted throws,
Topped with wooly lambskin meant for lining Swedish baby buggies,
Nestling in other comforts left-over from past years,
Favorite plush toys missing ears, eyes,
Bird feather fluff found on family hikes,
Pieces of fleece, flannel, silk scarf, and sweatshirt worn thin.

Bit by bit we build a nest between us,
Into which we welcome our beloved children and grandchild one by one,
Some home, in-between, partnered, 
Engaged, married, parenting,
All with their own hopes and dreams,
Yet still needing a place to land in relationship to us. 

Gather into our nest other beloveds,
Some alive, some gone before us,
Mothers, fathers, in-laws, siblings,
Youth's loves, wife, husband,
First love from time after life falls apart.

Settle all into our nest,
Along with hearts' unhealed pains colliding with fears of loving again,
As arms stretch out surrounding nest lifting it's heaviness,
Heads bent in watchful lingerings,
Before lifting eyes to stare into the other's
Small tears of acceptance, gratitude, joy, amazement, and courage,
Slide into our growing nested circle.

Move then with clumsy care,
Carrying nest's expanse between us,
Arms reaching farther into each other,
Holding love and loves together for the next part of forever,
Until parted by time moving into death,
For now loving our nest, each other, our us built around this shelter,
Raised for past, present, and come what may. 

Written during the Paschal Triduum (The Three Days) of 2019. Read in celebration on December 28, 2021 while proclaiming my covenant of marriage with Forrest T. Meyer.