Celebration of life has become a popular description for funerals over the past few years. And while I agree with the concept, the reality of celebrating my husband's life while trying to grasp the idea that he was not coming home, ever, was hard for me to do at his funeral. While the services we planned to commemorate Phil's' life were truly beautiful; that day was a blur of images and emotions that I would not exactly classify as a celebration.
Time, however, has provided some perspective. As the days, weeks, months, and years since I began this journey of loss and recovery have passed I have learned how to truly celebrate the life of remarkable men who have touched more people in their too brief lives than they themselves would ever have imagined.
My 15 year-old daughter Anneke landed the role of Polly in Neil Simon’s play The Gingerbread Lady. In this play, Polly’s (Anneke) mother seems intent on self-destruction, and at one point in the play, Polly (Anneke) is moved to desperate tears, wanting her mother to be OK.
Anneke was unable to perform the scene. She could not cry on stage and she was unable to access that place of sadness. Thankfully, the very thoughtful and caring director changed the scene to accommodate Anneke.
I went with some new girlfriends to the rodeo last night. As it usually does when meeting new people, conversation turned to my history and my experience of being a widow. One of the girls had recently lost a sister-in-law and was sharing with me the difficulties her brother was experiencing. It has only been three months for him, but I was interested by the fact that one of the most annoying things for him to deal with has been the dreaded question: “How ARE you?” When I got home I climbed into bed and paged back through some painful memories. That question had driven me nuts for a couple of years.Read more
This image illustrates for me what widows do for each other. We pull each other up, brace each other from falling over the edge of despair, and we create a life line of hope for every other widow with whom we share a heart. Right now who comes to mind for you?Read more
Thanks for the wonderful introduction Tacalla! For those of you unfamiliar with the term, tacalla is a word which means two things that share the same name. We Michel(l)es have happily embraced the word and made it our own.Read more
Meet Sassy and Spicy. Also known as Michele and Michelle, and to some of you as the original "Widow Match." We are pictured here at Michelle's home in Texas celebrating the life of her husband, Daniel, who died in November of 2005 of laryngeal cancer. Our husbands died two months apart, we are the same age, we share a wicked sense of humor, and we are both single moms to wonderful kids. A perfect match, thank you God.Read more
Have you ever prayed for "peace in our world"? Or have you wondered when reading the day's headlines why we can't all get along? And on the days when the loss of your spouse is so heavy you can't get out of bed do you think about being an agent of peace?!
I have met so many amazing people on the road of healing. It seems that every day brings another story, another tragic loss, another compadre on the journey towards becoming whole again. And with every person there is the story of the death, and then we enter the next chapter...what do we do know?
When you have lived the grief experience others often assume you know "just what to say" to a friend or family member who has lost a person they love. Many times I have been the go-to person for advice on what to say, how to help, what not to say, and sometimes for requests to make a personal phone call to a fellow griever. Many times I feel overwhelmed by this assumption, because the truth is nothing changes the fact that the person they love isn't coming home. This fact alone is so strong, and devastating that I sometimes feel that words are futile, and the little I can do is but a bandage on a gaping wound.Read more
Did you wear your husband's clothes?
For the first few weeks after Phil's death anything that touched his body was sacred. His shoes were sitting just where he last left them, his lunchbox sat on top of the refrigerator, and his toothbrush was standing next to mine in the holder. One day I found one of his eyelashes and pressed it into a plastic rosary holder for safekeeping. Three days before he died, he was working in our attic and left dirty fingerprints on the top of the door in our bedroom. I was annoyed when I saw the black marks on our white door, and made a mental note to ask him to clean off the prints. Those black marks now hold a place of honor on my otherwise white door.Read more
My husband used to call Valentine’s Day ‘So What Day’…romantic, huh? He thought greeting cards were a waste of trees; that buying flowers because someone told you to defeated the purpose; and that going to dinner on the big day just to eat from a limited menu and have servers anxiously awaiting your departure from the table was ridiculous. I will admit that we fought about this on a few occasions…who wants to be the only girl in the office that didn’t get flowers? Eventually we settled into our own brand of celebrating our love, both on the big day, and on the other 364 days of the year.Read more