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Welcome to Cortney's Corner

Thursday 1 February 2024

Cortney's Corner: Chapter 1

Welcome to Cortney's Corner

When I lost Jojo in October of 2021, I felt like my heart had been ripped out of my chest and thrown on the floor.

You see, for all my life Jojo was the glue that kept my mind at ease. I could talk to him about anything without judgment and for so long; he made me feel safer than anyone ever could.

Oh, in case you were wondering, Jojo is my grandfather.

When I found out he had been hospitalized due to a fall in September 2021, I was at a friend’s wedding in Charleston.

It hit me; this would be his last few weeks on earth. I don’t know how I knew, but I just knew.

According to friends, I dropped my phone out of my hand, and looked like I wanted to throw up as I sprinted to the bathroom.

I remember crying in a bathroom by myself until someone came in to check on me. “What’s wrong?! You NEVER cry. Especially not like this.”

The only words I remember that I could get out were “JoJo. He’s not going to be ok. I’m going home right now”

The truth is, I had been anticipating this day since July 5, 2017. Which is my Nana’s death date, and ironically, the birth date of my eldest niece.

You are lucky if you have never experienced "pre-grief", which literally means that you are anticipating an impending loss.

It makes you feel like your body is in constant survival mode. You feel angry but don’t know why. And the anxiety overload is well, as you may have guessed, it sucks.

I did not expect that actually losing him would turn me from a “I have it handled, thanks” person to a “I want to lay in my bed and cry for weeks at a time and cry in public” person.

To be completely honest, both still coexist in my present state.

The harsh reality is; that I’m terrified that I will always be alone- and have been since the day Jojo passed.

Being raised by my grandparents for the majority of my life was both a blessing and a curse.

It was a blessing because I got to see a loving and healthy relationship. But, it was a curse because I found myself part of the sandwich generation almost two decades early.

The sandwich generation is made up of folks in their mid-30s and 40s. These people are the ones who are balancing careers, children, and caring for their aging parents.

This time tends to be filled with overwhelm, guilt, shame, joy, and suffering. If you are reading this and feel this way because you are part of the sandwich generation: you are not alone-and don’t let your brain tell you that you are.

When my Nana fell ill on my 16th birthday, I went from being a normal teenager to being part of the sandwich generation pretty much overnight.

The harsh truth was that Jojo never wanted to put Nana in a nursing home. Instead of criticizing him for it, I decided to recruit myself to help him care for her.

But, the problem was this: I was balancing school and sports. I was also finding out what I actually cared about and trying to be a normal teenager.

I always felt like an outsider growing up. Now, as an adult, I see that the hardships I faced as a youth would help me in the professional world.

I struggled with the highs and lows of guilt and shame. I wanted to be there for Jojo, but I also wanted my own life. I did not want to spend countless hours overwhelmed about the next day.

So hey friends, welcome to Cortney’s Corner. It's a blog where I will share the highs, lows, and lessons. I will also share things that I wish I knew during my 15-year tenure in the “sandwich” generation.

We will talk about things such as how to have the death talk with your aging loved ones. We will also cover what steps to take when finding care. And how to manage stress during it all.

And you know I have the resources to share ;)

If you want me to cover a topic email me your request at:

Buckle up, it’s going to get vulnerable. I can’t wait to share it with you.

XO, Cortney