Jo Betz was a savvy businesswoman and highly-sought after marriage celebrant - having officiated over 450 weddings - when all of a sudden, she was planning her husband’s funeral when he died suddenly of an asthma attack in the middle of the night. She had gone from celebrating love to being swallowed by grief in the matter of a single evening. She was now a widow, and a single mother to a young daughter.
The story of how Jo lost her husband is one filled with sadness, heartbreak and devastation but it is also extremely powerful because her life didn’t stop and she refused to let herself fall. Being an inherently positive and confident person, and not wanting to waste a year in absolute despair, Jo set about building something tangible from her story that she could share with others. She found that writing and speaking about her experience was not only therapeutic, it also helped her to make more sense of her situation each time she wrote or spoke about it.
Through her unique lived experience she began to realise that in our society and culture, grief is messy and uncomfortable [whether it be death, a relationship breakdown, infertility or simply a crisis of confidence], and while we are required to deal with it on a daily basis we mostly choose to fear it, run from it or pass judgement on others. She discovered the importance of being able to acknowledge the grief of others, and also how we can educate others to help us in our own grief.
A natural communicator, Jo is now passionate about sharing her interesting perspective and contemporary approach to a delicate subject - with equal parts honesty and humour - and using her powerful story to humanise grief for others while providing actionable strategies that help people dealing with loss to ‘just feel good again’.
Jo wrote Grief - a guided journal for those wishing to explore their grief after the death of a loved one through writing. Whether their loss was six months ago, or six years, the journal is a safe space to journal on a variety of topics. From the stages of grief, connection and anger, to loneliness, gratitude, regret and more, guided writing prompts are provided. The journal provides an opportunity to lean into grief, to not shy away from unsettling feelings. To simply let it all out. Through the therapeutic benefit of writing, the journal brings positive wellbeing, self-exploration and healing.
The person that Jo has become is one who knows the narrative when it comes to grief, trauma, loss, resilience, adaptability, strength and fragility and she is living proof that you can still live a beautiful life despite the less than ideal circumstances you might find yourself in.