Sometimes Healing Hurts

05_18_09.JPGWhen a friend is sick you hope they will get well soon. If you know someone who has cancer, you might pray fervently for them to be cured. After you've had surgery, a friend might call to tell you they hope you will heal quickly. But what about when someone dies. What do we wish then?

After Phil's death I feared getting better. I didn't want to get over it, move on, allow time to heal me, or be grateful that Phil was in a better place. Frankly, getting better sounded like forgetting, getting over it was impossible, moving on implied leaving a time when Phil was a part of my world, time as a concept wasn't doing much for me, and I couldn't think of a better place for Phil than in my arms. None of the things people said to me about healing or recovery were in any way comforting. In fact, they were horrifying. I will confess...I was afraid everyone around me would assume I didn't love Phil all that much if I could recover from losing him.

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As Promised... Question #19

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When did you clean out your husband's closet?

(For our new readers: Over the past several years I have interviewed many widows about their day-to-day life after the loss of their husbands. I asked all of the women I spoke to the same fifty questions, all practical inquiries about everyday life. Many readers have asked me to share my answers to these fifty questions...and since I could hardly say no seeing as the whole thing was my idea...I answer them here at Widow's Voice.)

Cleaning out Phil's closet has been an on-going process. In fact, I don't think I will really be done until I move from this house. But the initial moving of his things began six weeks after he died.

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Shovel Time

05_16_09.jpgI made the choice to go into my office to throw the bundles of trash I have stacked in different places all over the room. One bag had a can of his dip that he left over R&R, bundles of every receipt from when he was here, and the lip gloss I wore when I was able to kiss his lips. I got through many of the boxes which led me to the closet...the closet that has bags of letters. Of course I'm a sucker for torturing myself, and opened the bags.

Letters from the past 3 years. A faint smell of the perfume I'd sprayed on them and the envelopes he's written tiny messages on. Reading through them I smiled and laughed, but most of all....cried. Cried for the unfairness and cried for all the letters talking of spending the rest of our lives together. I think we all can relate to that :)

Then I opened the calendar I wrote in while he was there. March 24th, 2007  "Baby surprised me today!":

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On being Pathetic

05_15_09.JPGSometimes I am quite certain that I am pathetic. Not only am I pathetic, but I am the pathetic-est of all. I am sure that no one anywhere is as petty, jealous or pissed off as I am. I feel like my cat Sophie must feel when she sleeps with her face jammed into her pillow. I don't want to see anyone, I don't want to hear anyone, and I especially don't want to speak to anyone...

This morning I sat down at my computer to work on a chapter in this so-called book that I am writing. This book that, if things go the way they are going, will most likely never get written.

Anyhow I sat down to write and realized that I had two choices. I could write a chapter that made me look good, like a good widow, a smart widow, a competent and gracious widow. In short, an admirable widow.

Or, I could write the truth. I decided on the truth.

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I can't stop thinking about David.

05_14_09.jpgNot that I actually try. But today it's more like he is ALL I'm thinking about. Even when his beauty fills my mind I can't help but feel partial. Like someone tore off my legs and somehow…I’m still living. 

I've wondered from day one (of widowhood) how long I’d survive this life. “Time” I no longer understand nor try to comprehend. I can only hope I don't live long enough to forget. If I think for too long about how much I already fail to remember, I panic. Fearing that one day there will be nothing authentic left of David in my consciousness but only a notion of who he once was. 

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A Lighter Shade of Grey ....

05_13_09.JPGToday's post is really for all of the "newer" women who are on this path ...... the one we didn't want to be on, the club we didn't want to join.

I was trying to think of what to say to a new friend whose husband died a few months ago.  She is in the middle of what I call the "black".  I am not a veteran in this process, by any stretch of the imagination.  But I can see that I'm slowly moving forward.  And so I wanted to encourage her, and those of you who are in the "black".

My heart is so heavy for each one of you.  I wish there was something I could say, something I could do to take some of the pain off of you.  But I can't, can I? 

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Grateful (me, mom, and grandma in the pic)

05_12_09.JPGThis past weekend was my fourth Mother's Day without Daniel. The last three have been very difficult for me, and had I had time to think about it, I would have dreaded this one too. Oddly enough I was too busy to think about whether the weekend would be hard or not.

It was hard in a different way this year. I missed him, as I usually do, but it was so much less of a bitter feeling that it surprised me. No pity party this year, no envy of other mom's with adoring husbands to wait on them hand and foot (or not, as the case may be). I wished Daniel could be there to enjoy it and his absence was noticeable as it usually is. I wished he could have spent some quality time with me and with Grayson making me breakfast or whatever they might have done. I missed him of course, but the overall feeling I had for the weekend wasn't bitter or angry or envious, it was grateful.

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My Inner Voice

05_11_09.JPGDecision making has never been difficult for me. If asked to choose between one thing and another I pick one, and stick with my decision. When facing a challenging task I determine a course of action and get moving. When a problem appears unsolvable...I go for a run, and nine times out of ten come back with an answer. And then came widowhood.

One of the most disturbing aspects of widowhood for me was the very new experience of constantly questioning every decision I made. Was I doing this or that right? Should I choose one thing or the other. One minute option A seemed best, the next minute I was more inclined to go with option B. I called people and asked their opinions often...and I let myself be swayed toward their way of thinking regardless of what my gut was telling me. Buy a new fence or fix the old? Sell Phil's truck or keep it? Get a gardener or teach the kids how to mow the lawn? Vacation or no vacation? 

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Celebrating Moms

05_10_09.JPGSports practices, music lessons, school meetings, homework, school projects, dinner every night, getting multiple children to different locations at the same start time, crying for daddy, asking where he went, consoling, advising, figuring out what the best solution to the problem is when you only have one opinion to consider....any of this sound familiar? The list of the duties of a single, widowed, mom is so long I haven't even scratched the surface here. Not only is the list very long, but there is not another person with whom you can split the list. Remember those days? You take son here, I will take daughter there. Would you please go into his bedroom...I went in last time he called! What should we do with this problem? What do you mean I am overreacting?! Oh, the things I miss about having a parenting partner.

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Help is Better with Self

05_09_09.JPGI believe for me, that a huge part of figuring out one's grief, one most know themselves. Now I know some could say this goes without saying, but after the loss of your soul mate it's difficult finding out who this new you is, or in my case, who this new me is.

It is has been through meeting others in like situations, reflecting on my own thoughts and actions, and lastly, making myself aware of auditory and visual things out there that may help in describing things that may not be able to put into words, that I have grown leaps and bounds.

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