Life hasn't turned out like I thought it would. Never in my wildest dreams would I have pictured myself standing before a room full of widows sharing with them my thoughts on finding hope in the aftermath of despair. Never. And yet here I am, and here you are, and we are here together.Read more
This past week Nicole (WSM) and I were both able to speak to military widows from the Vietnam era. Now we did it in different ways (mine was on the phone and hers was at the podium), but both brought us to the realization that we were overlapping two generations with one common thing, sharing our stories of love, grief and survival.Read more
Life does sure insist on happening.
This weekend, while I am in San Diego for the Conference, my daughter will be putting herself on a plane for musical theater camp. She will take a plane to Newark, and then a bus. We have reviewed the itinerary maybe one hundred times. She is really tired of me. "Do you have your ticket? The confirmation number of the bus service? The notarized permission form? Death certificate? Money? Do you know what to do if there is a glitch? Do you have the Marriot number in San Diego?" And on and on.
My coach once shared a quote with me that said, “Take the Leap and Build the Wings on the Way Down.”
That was in 2006, about a year and a half after my husband Rory passed away, when I found myself at a major crossroad both personally and professionally. To bottom line it, I knew I had to make significant changes in the way I worked, how much I worked, how available and present I was for my young son and it was also time for some self-care.Read more
This is a picture from my vacation last week. I'd love to tell you all that it was the most fantastic trip I've ever been on.
That, however, would be a lie.
It was mostly .... not fun. It was mostly ..... lonely. It was mostly .... painful.
I really, really needed Jim there.
But there is no answer for that need ..... and so I move forward.Read more
For lots of reasons, but likely due to the National Conference on Widowhood this weekend, I keep thinking about my friend Michele and how different my life would be without her. She once wrote that God closed the door to Phil, but by an odd twist sent her the window that opened to me. Given the choice, she'd have slammed my window for sure... :) and I understand that. Not given the choice, we have been blessed by the friendship the new window gave us the view to.Read more
So, it is Tourde France time. This may or may not mean anything to you, but in this house Tour Time is a big deal.
The Tour deFrance is the granddaddy of cycling races, made famous in recent years by the athletic feats of Lance Armstrong. You will notice in any photo of me that I am wearing a bright yellow LIVESTRONG wristband. I took the band I currently wear off of Phil's wrist as I sat beside his beautiful body in the emergency room trying to grasp the fact that he was dead. He wore this particular yellow plastic circle for at least a year before his death, and I have been wearing it in his honor for the past four.
Being required to plan a funeral right after someone dies is cruel and unusual punishment. Yes, I know, arranging a final resting place for the deceased loved one is necessary...but putting together a thoughtful celebration of the person you love is incredibly difficult when you are still trying to register the fact that they are actually dead.
I cannot think of any better example of this new chapter of mine than that of an ocean. Waves are a constant but there are days when all is calm, and then there are the days where they crash on the sand with all their power and might.
So goes the same with my grief.
What about the widow who was NOT married to her soul mate? What about the widow whose marriage was a challenge? Or, what about the widow who, after her husband died, had to grieve not only him, but who also had to grieve what didn't happen in her marriage? Who faces the reality of missed opportunities?
There are those women among us who married their soul mate, and there are those women among us who married a good mate, a mate who was right for them but about whom we might not use the word soul mate. Grief for these women is no less challenging.Read more