Artist. Writer. Creative Mentor.

Soaring Spirits has had an enormously positive impact on my own life as a widow as well as the lives of so many friends and others. This organization is doing incredible work to help people not only to cope with widowhood, but to learn how to rebuild themselves beautifully... with love, laughter, tears, and authenticity. Most of all, Soaring Spirits gives us hope. Hope that life can still be amazing even after we have lost the most important person in our world. Hope that a beautiful life - one that our partner is always a part of - can be created. 

What's hard for Two Widowed People in Love: Card Canceling

Today Mike and I are writing together about a topic that our Friday writer Kelley asked about recently. Most people assume it is easier to be in a relationship with another widowed person when you are widowed. And it's true, a lot of things are simplified when you understand each other's loss. Kelley was curious to know what some of the specific challenges are when you have two widowed people in a relationship, so we thought we'd write a few posts on the topic... 

The first thing I thought of in relation to this question is that your widow card is basically canceled out. There is no way to leverage that card to your advantage during a fight when your partner has been through exactly as horrible of a loss too. I do know from others who have dated or married someone non-widowed, that it’s extremely tempting to use that widow card to trump their arguments and opinions. When I was with Drew, there were times that I used my “dead parents card” to trump him in fights or conjure up some extra pity and attention for myself. They aren’t proud moments, but I think it’s a very normal temptation to want to use victim tactics when you’ve been through a lot. 

That doesn’t work in a relationship with two widowed people. Even at times when we do try to lay down the widow card to trump each other, it doesn't really fly. We both have experienced losses in very different ways that are unfathomable to the other person… so there’s no hiding behind trump cards to manipulate a situation in our favor. 


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Sudden Death Shadows

Well, I made it through the long three days of Mike being out of town for work the other week. He made sure to text or call at every turn so that I knew he was safe - which helped so much to keep the panic at bay a bit. So no, he didn't die. Much to my relief. Although I will say, the whole ordeal of having to cope with my new person on a work trip after my previous person died on one, has stirred up a lot. In fact, Mike is currently fixing my car and as I watch him underneath 3000+ lbs of metal, the thoughts just come again. Before I know it I’m imagining the entire thing crashing down on him and me, standing there, not knowing what to do. Or what if it crashes down on him and kills him instantly, and there I am, standing there, my whole world flipped upside down again. Only this time I have a kid and no job. How will I take care of her? How will I get a job to pay for everything? There goes my mind... off on it's own horrific adventure. Although this is all highly unlikely, you all know, that doesn’t stop the stories in my head, or the physical reaction. 

I wish I could do something about this. I wish I could go back to not knowing what that would be like for my partner to die suddenly and instantly have my entire future taken away. Most of all, I wish my body didn’t remember the trauma. Seven years later, the thoughts, feelings, and sensations are quieter though. Or at least, I have gotten much better at calming myself and just allowing it to mildly be there.

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  • commented on Engagement from Two Sides 2019-09-16 20:03:55 -0700 · Flag
    Thank you for reading Bonnie!

  • commented on The Weight of a Living Legacy 2019-08-25 06:05:58 -0700
    This is so cool. And I totally get that feeling of heaviness. When I was 9, my mom died. She was only 44. I remember even at that young age having a depth of understanding that she did not get to live her life fully. I remember growing up with this silent weight that I needed to not only do well, but that I wanted to do important things in order to essentially live both her life and mine. It was a lot to grow up with that weight. Often times it does feel heavy. Other times, it feels like such an honor. Most of all, I try to remember though after having lived over 25 years since her death, that this choice to live for her and for me is just that – my choice. And if I did choose not to do any of that, it would still be okay.

    Wishing you the best on this trip and safe travels! How exciting, and healing, and beautiful that new things are unfolding that are meaningful for you. The biggest thing my fiance’s death has taught me is that this new life is best when I am making meaning out of all the experiences – even the hard ones. Sounds like you are doing just that.

  • commented on Paying Grief Forward 2019-07-28 06:23:35 -0700 · Flag
    This was so beautiful. I teared up. And you are living that legacy so well. What a legacy to leave behind. <3 Helping people turn death back into life. I freaking LOVE that. And you!

  • commented on The Rifts of Loss 2019-07-24 09:08:57 -0700
    Hi Ed,

    Thank you for your words. Hopefully if not nature, there are other things you appreciate more… Perhaps human relationships with those you love? It’s different for us all.

    I’d love to see the tattoos, and I do remember your message before. If you get this here, feel free to email me at to send them. I would really love to see.

    All my Best,

  • commented on Call Me Anytime 2019-09-29 18:21:23 -0700
    Thanks for stopping by to read, and to share Julie. I’m so very sorry you are on this awful journey too… if you haven’t yet, you might check out the Widowed Village forum here on Soaring Spirits, or many other widow groups on Facebook one you’re ready to reach out to some other widows. We will always be here for you :) Hang in there friend.

  • commented on Trauma Return 2019-05-19 04:54:49 -0700
    I am so sorry this happened. That it happened in the first place and that it resurfaced too. I’m glad you are sharing about it these days, because it helps me to understand it more. It helps me understand the many other women in my life who have been through their own experiences with rape and what it does to you in a way I haven’t been able to understand it before. Thank you <3 And still, I wish I wasn’t able to thank you for writing this. <3

  • commented on Over the Edge. Maybe~ 2019-02-17 06:44:38 -0800 · Flag
    I love this so much!!! And I know exactly that feeling of YES/NO excitement that comes when you get accepted to do a workshop at Camp! It is one of the scariest things I have stepped into the role of doing in my life, and one of the most rewarding and special things also. To lead a group of others in a workshop, and to build love and hope and connection with them, was one of the most healing and empowering experiences for me both times I’ve hosted at Camp… and it has literally changed me as a person for the better.

    I am SO thrilled for you, and I am so excited. I know that you are going to do SO amazing at this and I’m so proud of you! Yeah! I only wish we were going to make it to Tampa this year – if we were I would definitely be signed up for your workshop!!! Lots of love! <3

  • commented on Don't Die 2019-01-20 07:31:09 -0800 · Flag
    Wow, such beautiful comments from everyone here. I’m so touched by the things you’ve all shared. Each story is so different and complex but so full of love and bravery. It is why I love this community so much. I cannot imagine how difficult long-term illness is for those of you who have endured it. Even though I did deal with it with my parents, it’s very different from it being your spouse. I suppose it’s no different than how difficult sudden loss seems to those on the other side of things.

    And to Mike, here’s me saying my usual “Don’t die!” today ;) And I will also add, thank you, for not dying on any of the other nearly 1,460 days thus far since we met! <3

  • commented on Will I Ever Stop Asking ... 2018-12-02 06:41:55 -0800 · Flag
    A thousand times yes. I still wonder about this all of the time… all of this. sigh

  • commented on The Forgotten 2018-08-05 06:20:25 -0700
    It’s horrible when people start to do this, but sadly so much of our society is completely inept these days to know how to properly support and deal with loss. One of my very best friends did the same sort of thing to me in the months after my fiance died… I almost walked away from the friendship entirely. Five years later, I was there on the other end of the phone, while her dad was dying from a very aggressive cancer, which took him within only months. She didn’t understand how to be there for me, but now she does. Now we have had many conversations about my loss, and what I went through, and how sorry she is that she didn’t really understand what to do. Some people truly just do not get it and they end up saying stupid things.

    My only hope on this journey is that now, as I am healing more, I can show up for others – even the ones who did not know how to show up for me – and at least show them "THIS is what you do. And THIS is what you say. " So that they can learn from it and learn to be there for others down the road. Sadly, it usually takes going through their own horror story for them to get it.

    Its horrible, the way so many run off after a few months. My new partner, also widowed, he had the same experience as you… and I do think sometimes it is harder for men. There is a double standard for men to just suck it up and deal silently. Total crap. Nearly everyone abandoned him after his wife of ten years died. Worst of all, it has made him untrusting of people now, and much less willing to build close friendships… because people he thought would be there, left him alone in his time of need. I don’t blame him. Sometimes people can be so unbelievably unaware of how their actions, and words, affect others. The “IT” thing – yep – so horrible!

    Despite how shitty it is to go through, this was really well written, and it portrays how truly awful those words do feel, so completely.

  • commented on Sympathy Pains 2018-07-15 07:17:03 -0700
    I can TOTALLY understand having that fear… especially since his illness came so suddenly and was so aggressive. How you could NOT think “I could be dead in 8 months too”. One of my best friends lost her dad – whom she was very close to – last year from a very sudden and aggressive cancer. One moment they were hiking the Appalachian Trail together, and just a few months later he was diagnosed… and less than 6 months later he was gone. I know for a fact that this has impacted her own fears about her health too.

    My mom died from breast cancer when I was nine. It was a few years and an awful battle. Even though I don’t have a lot of memory of her illness, I do feel like it is buried within me somewhere… and my hugest fear is of course the same happening to me. Even 25 years later, I am STILL occasionally just randomly afraid of it. I definitely get it.

    It sounds like you’re doing your best to keep the fears from growing too big too often, and being proactive. I definitely like to think our physical ailments are our bodies trying to get our attention and remind us to take better care of ourselves emotionally. I certainly hope it’s nothing serious and resolves quickly.

  • commented on Navigating My New Normal 2018-06-17 06:58:04 -0700
    I’m so sorry you’ve joined this club. I’m the Sunday writer, and have been without my partner for 6 years as of last week. I didn’t go to a wedding after he died for over two years, no doubt it will be hard. All the firsts are hard and terrifying. All I can say is to let the emotions and the demons out when you can, how you feel you can. Sometimes that means taking a break from your trip to call a close friend and unload. Or even just slipping away to the bathroom to have a moment to let some of it out on your own. I’ve found giving myself permission to have little breaks like this helps with the anxiety of having to face lots of faces and questions and times of celebration that are tough.

    I’ve told a lot of folks this… I think of grief and the pain it causes as something that needs to be bled out of us. A bit like a toxin. And it must be done gradually, and often… and our tears are the way that we let the pain bleed out. Over time, as we bleed out the pain, we have more and more room for the love that remains for them.

    Wishing you the best on this tough journey. We’re sorry your with us, but glad to have you.

  • commented on A Friend I Never Knew 2018-06-12 06:58:42 -0700
    Yup, you two would be the most successful annoying team ever, I can assure you of that! ;D Thank you, for welcoming both me AND him into your life. <3

  • commented on Truth in a Weedwacker 2018-06-03 06:42:20 -0700 · Flag
    I love this story. That weedwacker is so symbolic of so very much. It’s amazing how eventually, one day, something that’s been hanging there suddenly just looks different… how eventually, something shifts inside us and we’re ready for some new part of living. Awesome post! I’ll remember this one for sure.

    I just wrote my Sunday post about buying a stove with my new guy, and though it was a different sort of symbolism, it’s amazing how a stove or a weedwacker could become so deeply symbolic!

    Thanks for sharing :) And proud of you!

  • commented on You Have Been my Best Surprise 2018-05-20 05:54:00 -0700 · Flag
    Thank you April, that really means so much to me! Vulnerability is SO hard as a widow, no matter what our circumstance, but seems always worth trying for!

  • commented on My Husband Died, And I Am Not A Child 2018-04-20 18:30:41 -0700
    I had to comment. I so get it. As you know, living with Drew’s folks for so long I constantly felt like a child. There is still a bit of that feeling now, because Mike takes care of making the money, that somehow people don’t think I can do that. As if I didnt do it for a decade before Drew died. It did get better when I met Mike, except for what you say.. everyone who never noticed any of the other shit suddenly was noticing lol.

    So yep, also a yes to that feeling that everyone either avoided me or coddled me until I met Mike, and once I met him… All the coddlers disappeared, thinking “finally we don’t have to worry anymore!” And all the avoiders crept out to express how happy they were (i.e. how they were finally comfortable again with my life lol). It’s tough. I’ve felt so alone since moving g to Ohio because everyone just thinks a new love solves it all and we can all go back to “normal”. Only I cant go back to normal. Not ever. I get it for sure.

    These days I dont have too many folks treating me like a child.. I really think it is partly you living back home as I felt it more then too. It’s annoying. They mean well, but they are annoying lol. What do you do about it? No idea, other than give me a call so we can laugh it off. Love you!!

  • commented on Joy Seeker 2018-04-14 19:48:10 -0700
    I loved this post… it was so comforting, the idea of floating or drifting in the direction you are meant to go. Being where you’re meant to be. It made me feel a great big exhale. I think lately I’ve been trying to be somewhere else too much… further along in certain parts of my life. Thank you for this! Tomorrow I will try and just float and enjoy it. ;)

  • commented on New Directions Coming 2018-03-06 07:12:59 -0800 · Flag
    Thank you Cathy and Beth! It does feel like a great fit, I’m hoping it works out well. :)

  • commented on This One isn't for You, if You're Offended by the F Word~ 2018-01-31 06:50:55 -0800
    Yes. Fucking yes to this. I might have to just print this out and keep it in my journal for those really fucking fuck kind of days. Thank you <3

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