Martha Barrett-Smith

  • commented on Life Without Mike 2017-02-19 05:46:03 -0800
    Dear Indie (and all on this post), I completely know where you are at. The loss is so incredible, so total and absolute, it goes beyond the puny word “PAIN”. More like astonishing, incomprehensible horror, every time the “box” comes out of the closet. It paralyzes you, stuns you into an open-mouthed silence. I, too, have begged for the mercy of an end. It’s been like having one’s own internal Hiroshima, and I hope that reference does not offend anyone, but that IS what it’s like, and for nearly five years I’ve been like one of the walking dead. But as the days have crawled by, I have come to see myself as a strange sort of human tree—the heartwood completely dead on the inside, but somehow alive on the very surface layers just under the tough bark. Hollow, empty, void, yet still carrying on living activity, at least at some cellular level. And we will go on this way until we fall in the forest. Love, happiness, purpose, joy; these things may or may not have meaning for us again. But sheer dogged determination, the will to stand each day against the rain of cold fire, that we can eventually do. We cannot move on (as so many of our non-widowed friends would have us do). But we get to a place where we GO on. I’m betting you will find that your bark is tough, too. We are trees, and together we OWN this forest called Widowhood. Love to all.

  • commented on Things That Will Never Be 2016-06-07 05:34:44 -0700
    This is the special hell of people who lose their partners early, who don’t have many happy years and hundreds of memories to cushion them. This is the hell of those who have lost a future as well as a partner. My mother had 65 years of a wonderful marriage—I had six. This is not to say that people who have had their partners for decades grieve less; of course they do not. But there is an emptiness in this hell so vast, so sudden, so complete that it defies being. It simply astonishes. We mourn our love, and we mourn our stillborn life. “Starting over”, “picking up the pieces”…these are meaningless concepts. Today would have been my tenth anniversary; next week brings the fourth anniversary of his death. What am I to do? I am struck silent in the face of this…

  • commented on Wandering Thoughts of the Moment~ 2016-05-20 05:46:02 -0700
    It’s always intrigued me that children generally spend the first twenty years of life being told that they can do anything they want in life, be whatever they dream of being. What is not emphasized is that almost all of life is just hard work, emotional, intellectual, physical slogging through. That is how a life is created. But if you layer widowhood on top of it…well, the only thing I can think of is…watching a turtle. A turtle carries its home and all its worldly goods on its back, moving glacially one slow, patient step at a time, negotiating whatever it runs up against as it fulfills life’s imperative to survive. It is a painful, yet admirable, process to watch. But what if you dump a few cubic yards of crushed rock on top of that turtle? How then will it make its way, dig through, continue its life, that is if the shock alone doesn’t kill it? That is what widowhood is like. It is the Universe dumped on your head.

  • commented on The Meaningless of Time~ 2016-03-31 06:24:08 -0700
    An apt title, the Meaninglessness of Time. Seems as if “meaningless” becomes a common descriptor when the Beloved is lost. Many things, time among them, become meaningless: “purpose” comes to mind. Our lives may be full of activity, some of it joyful and rewarding, but Purpose, as a coherent guiding force, evaporates. I am reminded of Didion’s elegant expression of the nature of grief, “…the relentless succession of moments during which we will confront the experience of meaninglessness itself.”. We are gazing into the void.

  • commented on The Widow Word 2016-03-28 05:22:01 -0700
    I once researched the etymology of the word widow. It has an ancient meaning: “empty”, the same root for the English word “void”, and the French “vide” . “Empty” certainly is one adjective that I apply to myself as a widow…and yet, consider that some of the finest Champagne houses in Europe were founded by widows! (Where would we all be without the Veuve Clicquot?) It is a term of sorrow and emptiness, but also one of power and respect. We lost our love, our joy, our life, through no fault of our own. We have paid our dues to the Universe. WE CAN DO WHATEVER WE WANT!!!!!