Conversations with the Widowed

So, since I have been writing for this blog for a number of years now, which I love doing, there are times when I either: 

A: cant really think of anything new to say or write about without sounding like a broken record, or 

B: get tired of hearing the sound, or the type, of my own voice and my own story. 

 

When that happens, which is the case tody, I prefer to focus on all of you instead. 

I think it would be kind of fun to ask you all some informal questions, to my widowed community, so other fellow widowed peeps can see your replies in the comments and we can all get to know each other a little bit more. I have been asked by adminstration to please remind you that when you post comments and replies on this blog, your comments are not anonymous and they are public. So if you dont want your words posted public, I will not be offended if you choose not to participate. Its all up to you, 100%. Also, if you dont feel like addressing all of these widow-related topics below, feel free to only answer five, or two, or none! Ive done a lot of writing in this blog over the years, and I just thought it might be kind of fun to hear more of your stories, from your words. 

So, lets have a conversation: 

I look forward to your replies. 

 Tell us the name of your person who died, and how you met. 

 

 What are 3 things that come to mind about your person who died, that you would really love for people to know about them? 

 

 What has been the most unexpected or surprisingly hard thing for you, since the death of your loved one? 

 

 Name something you have done after the death of your loved one, that you are proud of. (it can be ANYTHING, and this includes making it through the day.)

 

 What is the greatest thing that loss has taught you? 

 

 What would you love to tell the general public about grief and loss? What do you wish they knew or would be more understanding about? 

 

 Name the song that means the most to you and your person who died. If you want, tell us why. 

 

Have you picked up any new hobbies, taken on a new career, or done something else that you would have NEVER predicted you would have done in your "other life"? Tell us about it. (mine is becoming a Real Estate Agent - SO RANDOM!!! Don would be like "Huh??? Whered THAT come from???" ) 

 

 Have your thoughts about religion, death in general, or life in general, changed since your loss? 

 

 Now that you are living it, what comes to mind for you when you think about the word WIDOW/WIDOWER/WIDOWED? 


Showing 17 reactions

Please check your e-mail for a link to activate your account.
  • Jim Jeffers
    commented 2019-11-06 15:07:10 -0800
    I’ve made a mistake (just a typo I suppose) but I must correct it. Sue passed on
    Sept. 20, 2018 and not the 18th. I will never forget. It was in our bedroom at 6:30 in the morning. I and our youngest daughter were holding her hands.

    Jim Jeffers
  • Jim Jeffers
    commented 2019-11-05 17:19:45 -0800
    New to both soaring spirits and blogging but will give it a go.
    I don’t really recall the first time I met Sue. Our parents were friends (our mothers were actually college roommates) and with evening visits the youngsters were brought along. Without a doubt our first meeting was before kindergarten. We grew up in a small midwestern town, and though I was a year older we went to the same schools etc. We did not date during our school years but shortly after we were both out Sue approached me. While I had those same feelings, I was much too backward and shy to ask her out. But I was an easy mark. After about 1+1/2 years we were married. It was a most wonderful 44 years. As a result of our marriage we had four wonderful children. Sue deserves all the credit for the wonderful. I could find no one to disagree.
    Not sure about only three things, but Sue was the most genuine person I’ve ever known. What you saw was who she was. She was a very caring person with an extra soft spot for young people. She worked in our local middle school with the at risk kids. In her words they were found by most to be hard to like. Yet these are the ones that tugged on her heart. She loved them! And by all accounts the feeling was mutual. Sue had a beautiful singing voice, and could often be heard serenading her students with her personalized versions of popular songs. She gave nicknames to many and they wore them like badges. On shopping trips it was much more common than not to hear an excited MRS JEFFERS MRS JEFFERS from a distance, that would be followed by hugs and some catching up with a former student. This happened as far as 125 miles from our home! Sue had a ready smile and a great sense of humor. After meeting some new people a common comment would be “ I really liked this or that person, they laugh hard”! Sue had a passion (I would joke illness) for gemstones and minerals. Our home is full, some would say littered, with specimens brought home from vacations and gem shoes that she loved to attend. Many of these also found a new home with students. So what if I can’t count to three.
    Not so sure about an unexpected hard thing, only nothing is very easy. As Sue’s illness set in ( Sue passed on Sept. 18, 2018 after a two year fight with clear cell renal carcinoma) she often told me she wanted me to be happy. While some emotions are easier than others I find happy to be very difficult.
    Wether a proud thing or not I’m not sure, but I feel like I stepped out of my comfort zone some when writing my thank you cards. I tried to convey some of my thoughts about Sue, what we were planning to do with the monetary gifts in Honor of Sue, and to thank them so much for their presence, gifts and kind words. I received many nice comments about them. Sue was very big into thank you’s and I felt as one of the last things I could do for her that I wanted to do it well.
    No real lesson learned here but I am making an effort to be more there for people I know in this and other difficult situations. Neither place is easy.
    We will leave the general public to itself.
    One of our favorite songs was “Forever Young” by Bob Dylan. The original, I think, from the Planet Waves album. We had it sung at our wedding. Also it was among the songs played at the celebration of Sue’s life. We had a little two seat convertible that we loved to go for rides in. Taj Mahal’s “Further on down the road” was another favorite.
    I don’t think I’ve done anything really unpredictable. Mostly I try to stay busy and be a good Dad and Grandfather to our children and grandchildren.
    Thoughts on life, wow. It seems somewhat common from those in our shoes to hear things like nothing else matters. I would somewhat disagree but understand the sentiment. Other things like our homes, jobs, cars, etc. really are important but secondary. I recall going a few years ago to a celebration of life for a childhood friend. Found myself listenening to a former classmate who had been widowed for about ten years. As it were yesterday I remember her saying she would be happy living under a bridge in a cardboard box if only she could live there with Dave. Little did I know how exactly I would agree with her in just a few short years.
    On widowhood I can only say that it sucks. I hate everything about it. While I can no longer care for my dear Suzy in sickness and in health, I can though Love, Honor and Cherish her as long as I shall live. In our world guys like me are a dime a dozen, but it needs more people like Sue!

    Thank you for allowing me to say all this.

    Jim
  • Jim Jeffers
    followed this page 2019-11-04 06:52:58 -0800
  • Barbara Frame
    commented 2019-11-04 01:08:51 -0800
    Just reading your post now Kelley. My person was Tom and we met through friends and my first thought was “yeah, nice guy, not my type” then we went on our first date and I knew I would marry him. That was it for me.
    3 things about him: absolute ZEST and JOY for life, he was an amazing father – fun, kind, great listener to his two boys, his adoration of me and I of him, and the fun and laughs we had (that’s 4. Hard to stop.)
    Hardest thing since losing him: living alone for the first time in my life (at 56)
    Something I’m Proud Of: keeping my shit together for my sons so they don’t worry about me and can go out into the world – hurting for the loss of their dad, of course- but not with the added burden that mom is a mess and a heavy burden
    Greatest thing loss has taught me: I never knew that a human could feel such a deep all encompassing pain and still get up every morning
    What would I like the public to know: I have to echo the other responses…after 3 years I’m still aching, right below the surface is a large wound that is barely covered and easily reopened…
    Our song…was Your Song. Elton John. Tom’s favourite so , of course, it was at his celebration of life along with Always Look on the Bright Side of Life…because he did -always!!
    New hobbies etc: I started singing in a choir (haven’t done that since high school back in the dark ages), traveling on my own, my first year widowed I went to New Zealand to reconnect with good friends of ours and from there flew to the Cook Islands. Spent the week there crying pretty much!! Not sure what I was thinking but I did it. Stayed alone, ate alone, did some touring around on my own. Going back to NZ in January and going to try solo traveling part of the time again
    Thoughts about death now: I’m not religious but I had a visitation from Tom 2 weeks after he died and he told me how wonderful it is where he is and that it is in the “serapulse”!!! He was so excited to tell me. And when he said the word “serapulse” (which is not an earthly word it seems) there was warm circulating air going around him. So, I have to believe that he is close by and happy. His warm, loving, strong life force cannot just dissipate. It’s not possible.
    Can’t wait for Camp Widow in Toronto. This will be my second one. Looking forward to seeing you. My sister in law will be there as well (Two of Tom’s brothers died the same year) and at my urging she is signed up for My Husband is Not a Rainbow.❤️🇨🇦
  • wendy proctor
    commented 2019-11-03 06:11:47 -0800
    Love this post, but because my husband just passed, (Oct 5,2019) I think I will wait on answering. Read everyone’s responses though, comforting.
  • Annie McDonnell
    commented 2019-11-02 04:17:33 -0700
    Hi Kelley thank you for the welcome, and for your lovely message, it brought a little tear to my eyes, but it was a message of pride. 😀 Thank you. I hope someday i can fly out and join in one of your events, x
  • Kelley Lynn
    commented 2019-11-01 11:41:56 -0700
    WOW! I am just now finally getting back here to read all these great replies. It is SO awesome for me to talk back and forth with all of you , hear some of your stories, and get to know you all a bit more. I really am so happy you decided to answer these questions, and Ill try and do more like this in the future. VALERIA I love the word resilient. It is so perfect for what we have all been through and continue to live with. ANNIE I am so happy that these questions sparked you to join the blog and take part in the conversation. I also think you are way stronger than you realize, and not giving in to those darker thoughts AND being courageous enough to tell your story here is a big deal. You rock! RON Im so glad this blog has helped you and I love your responses. That trip to London sounds incredible and good for you for doing that! KIM I remember also being overwhelmed and shocked by the feeling of not wanting to live, and how all comsuming it was for such a long time. I think the fact that any of us get up each day and keep trying is just amazing and every one of you is amazing!!!!
  • Ron Marro
    commented 2019-10-29 12:03:44 -0700
    Valeria. Beautiful essay on the life we now have to face every day. To her last day I told Sandi, you are the cutest thing ever… then her smile would take over the room. Miss that so.
    Pease
  • Valeria Hargand
    commented 2019-10-29 10:40:16 -0700
    The 3 things that come to mind about my husband, Bob, that I’d really love for people to know about him is that Bob is love personified – he truly loved unconditionally and always dealt with people on a 1-to-1 equal status level. Bob was a natural ‘people piper’ … people flocked to him and just enjoyed being in his company. Bob was an honest-to-God peacenik: n.o.t.h.i.n.g.r.a.t.t.l.e.d.h.i.s.c.a.g.e. Nothing.

    The most unexpected and surprisingly hard thing for me in this, my new life, is the crying. Openly. Unexpectantly. I can’t control it. I hate crying; crying always meant vulnerability to me – I never really even cried around Bob. IF I cried openly, Bob knew I was dealing with something monumental and felt frustratingly trapped. I am not a girly-girl. I am tough – I am never in situations of entrapment. But since becoming a widow, the crying happens and I can’t stop it. I feel trapped by this new life. And I don’t even care anymore if people see my weakness …

    I am proud of the way I have been able to do things solo that I could never – or would never – do when Bob was still with me in the flesh. I have gone on solo adventuring drive; recently crossing the Hoffstat Bridge in the Mount St. Helen’s area of our home State: this bridge is very looooong and spans about a 2,000 foot deep ravine; when Bob was still present in the flesh, I always pulled over when we got to it, and said, “If you want to get us to the elk herd on the other side … you drive from here.” But I recently did that drive on my own (literally cried with relief & kissed the ground on the other side. LOL). I swear I could feel Bob smiling with pride and applauding my victory ;-) Last night I got past another long drive hurdle. I am doing this! Bob is proud of me.

    The loss of my husband’s physical presence in my life has taught me that life goes on – and that because his spirit continues to live on, I am always loved and never truly alone. Bob is still very much alive, and his love still surrounds me.

    I would love to tell the general public that grief and loss never goes away: it subsides, and then comes back in sneaker waves. Unbidden and totally unexpected; and your world is shaken again. Widows constantly live in a gray world. It is not something we want: it simply IS. Widows do not immerse themselves in the gray, but the gray exists and will always exist. We crave color in our new life, but all the color in our world – which runs parallel to everyone else’s world – is now muted and has lost its brilliance. We are doing the best we can to live joyful and vibrant lives in a world that has now lost it’s sparkle for us. I am thankful for the people in my life who understand that and don’t expect more from me than I can give at any given moment, and given day of any given week of any given year. My husband was my life … and my life has drastically been altered. My husband colored my world with glorious and unconditional love: that all ended for me December 14th, 2018 at 8:05 a.m. My life is different now. The shades of this new life I live now don’t “pop” anymore. People who know me and knew us, understand that. I don’t have time for those who don’t; trying to explain to those kind of people drains me, and I don’t need the energy vampires in my life. Selfish? Maybe. But I make no apologies.

    There are too many songs that meant a lot to the both of us at different times of our relationship and marriage! But, I can pick 2: “Happy Together” by The Turtles, because we were happy together al of our lives – and we couldn’t see us loving anyone else but ‘me for you & you for me’. And “One Hot Mama” by Trace Adkins – my husband made that his ring-tone for my number: for 44 years Bob told me I turned him on and was one hot mama ;-) Even with his last breath. Bob loved this fat and sassy grandma, who he always looked at with eyes of love and remembered as his 17 year old young chick bride. LMAO

    No new hobbies. No new career. But I am making a new and bold move to another State, forging a new and bold life with my kids and grandkids who live too close to the city for my comfort. This is a huge step for a country gal. But, one I believe Bob would be proud of. I am also stepping out of my comfort zone when it comes to trusting people with my heart. I am learning to love as Bob did – unconditionally and whole-heartedly. Trust has always been a big issue in my life: even with Bob … and I loved him. Bob understood me, and loved me unconditionally. THAT was his legacy. I am going to do everything in my power to carry that legacy forward and instill it in our children and grandchildren.

    My Faith remains the same – Bob was a Christian too: death never scared us. My thoughts on life is that it goes on, and so do we. Our life is what we make of it – we can sit in misery … or we can get up and get moving. Movement is healing. Healing is life-inspiring. Living is how we honor our spouses that have gone on Home ahead of us. Honoring our spouse is loving ourselves as our spouse would if they were still her with us in the flesh. I choose life. I choose Bob’s love all around me. Bob is still my husband; I will honor him.

    The word that comes to mind when I think on the word ‘Widow’ is RESILIENT. I was always a strong, tough, and adaptable woman; but since becoming a widow, I have learned to bend in new ways I never thought possible to overcome the most difficult circumstance and situations of my entire life. And I have learned that vulnerability can be a strong and sturdy as steel.
  • Annie McDonnell
    commented 2019-10-28 02:49:15 -0700
    Hope you enjoyed London and that the weather was kind to you. In the first year or two anniversaries and favourite places are hard to deal with, but that changes with time. Take care.
  • Ron Marro
    commented 2019-10-27 14:40:51 -0700
    My son and daughter in law live in London! Visited last June/July during what would have been our 25 anniversary. Happy and sad at the same time. Peace.
  • Annie McDonnell
    commented 2019-10-27 09:45:47 -0700
    Thanks Ron. I have been on here a few times but lacked courage to join. Glad i have now, looking forward to being a part of the online community, being the UK attending events is tricky.
  • Bonnie Rozean
    followed this page 2019-10-26 21:47:42 -0700
  • Ron Marro
    commented 2019-10-26 15:38:06 -0700
    Welcome Annie. This had been a great help to me the past 22 months.
    And thanks again Kelley.
  • Annie McDonnell
    commented 2019-10-26 15:12:09 -0700
    Hi this is my first time on the blog, this info thing made me want to join so here goes:-

    1. My loved one is Gary, we met at work, the original cliche, i was secretary he was an Accountant and one of my bosses. It took us 10 months, from first meeting, January 1987,, to act upon the feelings that were growing between us. We were together for 28 years, I lost him on 21st August 2015.

    2. Gary was the most generous person I knew, he was rarely seen without a smile and he loved the life he had.

    3. The hardest thing for me when i lost Gary was a desperate need to be with him, to go to him. I couldn’t bear the thought that he was on another plane alone. I was desperate to get to him, so much so that I begged a friend to help me end my life so i could go to him.

    4. I guess i am proud that I didn’t give in to my darker thoughts, that i even managed to comfort and help some of Gary’s clients who stuggled after we lost him. And recently i have rejoined the gym and have lost 4 stone.

    5. Loss has taught me that your truest friends and relatives will shine at this time and stand by you, care for you and help you through the darkest time. Fair weather relatives and friends will quickly start avoiding you, showing their true self centred shallow selves.

    6. I wish others could know how the pain never goes, never diminishes, despite what I may say. It is like an open wound with bandage over it. Take the bandage off and it is all still there.

    7. We are massive music lovers, both into rock. Our song when we met was all about eve by martha’s harbour. But we loved Hotel California by The Eagles. We were fortunate enough to seem them several times in concert and that was alway the best song of the concert.

    8. I haven’t really done anything extraordinary since losing Gary, but i did invest in a dslr camera to expand my interst in phoography. This is a work in progress at the moment.

    9. I was always more of a pagan, but even that went from me a bit. I do believe there is something more out there, especially since i have seen a medium and am sure i have received messages from Gary.

    10. The word widow is a tough one. Mostly it means pain, lonliness, isolation and anger, espcially at being pigeon holed by others into a group that needs putting together in the corner, out of sight.

    Thank you for these questions, it helped to put them down and to finally join the blog instead of just reading it and then running from it. I hope to be part of the blog a lot more in the future.
  • Ron Marro
    commented 2019-10-25 09:38:27 -0700
    1. Sandi and I met on a teachers conference day. She was working in another district and came to the office of a mutual friend to see about having lunch. The three of us went to the local mall and Sandi and I exchanged divorce attorney cards. That was in October. It took me until April to ask her out and only with prodding from our friend. That was the beginning of a 24 year love story.

    2. Sandi was the most loving, generous person I knew. She had a faith in god that was beautiful and child like in her belief. She had a naughty streak that always surprised me and begging for more.

    3. She was my world and I’m lost without her. I have a wonderful family and some friends but nothing can fill the hole in my heart.

    4. I got up the courage to go to London to visit my son and daughter in law at the time that would have been our 25th anniversary. I was 17 months out at the time. Almost didn’t make it. Best thing I’ve done so far.

    5. To steal from one of the Blog writers (so I forgot who). Sandi died and I didn’t and there’s nothing I can do to change that. And from a song, “I don’t want to live like this but I don’t want to die”. From the Lumineers I think.

    6. My insides don’t look anything like what my outside shows. My grief is always there, always.

    7. At Last by Etta James. We found each other after struggling for many years in bad relationships.

    8. No new hobbies although I’m now a reader and usher at church and leading a committee for a new rector. Never, ever thought I would be involved in church work. Sandi’s continuing influence.

    9. Even though I am involved with my church I struggle with the religious world. I read things Sandi read daily to try and understand where her faith came from.

    10. I was the luckiest man in the world to find Sandi. Now my world is filled with sadness, loneliness and being heartbroken.

    Thanks for this. I needed to say these things and needed the prompts to get it going.
  • Kim Boylan
    commented 2019-10-18 12:44:52 -0700
    Fun idea! Okay, here goes:
    1. Scott was hired to be Music Director at the rock radio station where I worked.
    2. He had an amazingly twisted sense of humor, he was very well read, little old ladies absolutely adored him!
    3. Most unexpected was how badly I wanted to die. I’ve never struggled with feelings like that ever in my life. For the first 4-5 months, I begged to die in my sleep. The isolation was (and still is at times) overwhelming.
    4. I’m proud that I’m keeping up with the house and yard – physically and financially.
    5. Loss has taught me that it doesn’t matter how much stuff you have, or how nice it is, none of it matters. None! The only thing that matters are the people you love.
    6. I wish people would fully realize that I will grieve Scott the rest of my life. I will never be over it, I will never stop missing him, I will never stop loving him. And if I’m having a good day, if I’m laughing and smiling, I’m STILL grieving him.
    7. For Scott’s Celebration of Life, two of his friends created a video tribute to him. When the photos of the two of us started, so did Queen’s “You’re My Best Friend” started. He really was my best friend and no one knows me better. That brings tears to my eyes every single time I hear it…crying even now!
    8. Not yet. I’m hopeful something wonderful occurs to me.
    9. No. I’ve been agnostic for many years. If anything, his death has me thinking more about other realms and possibilities that religion dare not touch.
    10. To me, the word “widow” represents strength. My grandmother was widowed a few months before I was born. She was only 44. No one in my life was stronger or more resilient – so to me, widowed people are strong.