Dear Wonderful Widow.
For the next 3 weekends, three performances per weekend, Anneke, my 15 year-old, will be playing the part of Wendy Darling in Peter Pan. Anneke is afraid of heights. Flying across the stage requires that she put a great deal of trust in the backstage crew who orchestrate her flying. This is not easy for her. Anneke has chosen to face her fear of heights in order to be able to do what she loves. Anneke is an actress.
We who are widows also make choices, many choices.
Remember when your friends said to you, “I don’t know how you do it?” (show up, be a mother, make dinner, go to work, breathe…)
And you thought to yourself, “What choice do I have?”
I am not comparing being Wendy Darling to widowhood. But like Anneke, we choose to show up. You might think you don’t have a choice, but you do. Every time you make dinner, check homework, every time you get out of bed, you are choosing.
We choose to show up, or we choose to shut down.
Around seven months after Mike died I almost chose to shut down. I thought I was losing my mind. I felt on the edge of a precipice, and at any moment I might step over the edge and quit. Never in my life had I felt so close to insanity. I called my sister in Connecticut and asked her, if need be, would she take care Anneke on a temporary basis?
Daily I faced the choice of continuing or quitting. Thankfully, I did not end up needing my sister’s help. I chose to show up and gradually, very gradually, the choice between continuing and quitting became unnecessary as I began to recover for real. But I learned the meaning of deep fear and powerlessness and I stand in judgment of no one who chooses differently than I.
Yes, we do choose. Every widow who chooses to stay in reality and face her circumstances is a hero in every sense of the word. The choice is not always easy. But it is a choice.
Much Love to all of you Courageous Widows.