Most times I have no idea what I'll write for this blog, ahead of time. Sometimes I swear that I have nothing to say and no ideas and I think I just have to give up writing here. I have no more thoughts about widdahood.
But I've also realized that ideas come from the most unexpected places. I can be out and about and hear a phrase from strangers conversing. Or I notice how someone is dressed on a particular day. Or how their hair falls a certain way. Words beget ideas for me, and that's how today's blog happened.
I was out with my grand-goddesses, who are 4 and 2 years old, respectively. We're in Arizona, so we went for a walk to the park. The sun was out, they were wearing lightweight jackets, because 60* is cold to us here...as I hear all of you from everywhere else in the country groaning and wishing for that, as you freeze your patooties off in subzero temps.
The 4 year old was skipping along, and called my attention to her shadow, that was moving with her, of course.
As soon as I looked at her shadow, following along with her, I whipped out my phone and wrote the word in notes.
As widow/ers, we live with shadows. We become shadows of ourselves. Our shadows move with us. Our shadow represent the dark parts of grief, too...the parts we are often too frightened to explore. Also, society doesn't like peering at us and seeing our shadowed selves, so they try to move us from where we are to a place that is more comfortable for them.
Shadows make us humans uncomfortable. We want to see what we know is there.
Early on in my first year of grieving, my daughter said to me mom, maybe you need to let yourself be in the shadows for awhile. Maybe you need to stop fighting the shadows and just go there. Don't worry. I know you're there, and I won't let you stay there. I'll keep watch.
The most valuable, loving words I've heard in this widowed life.
Yes, it was frightening to fall into that darkness; it was all so unknown.
I couldn't see in front of me. Because not only was it dark...tears also blinded my vision.
I couldn't hear anything...except my hitching breath and broken sobs.
But, I realized in hindsight, when some of our senses aren't working, others work overtime.
The darkness allowed me to simply feel. As unbearable as it was...I allowed the grief to claim me.
I felt my heartbeat, even as a meat slicer chopped every breath I took.
My heart, even shattered, became aware of the hands reaching out to me.
Allowing myself to be in shadow gave me a place to rest, inasmuch as I could.
And I knew that no matter how severe it all was, there was a person who loved me standing in the light of my shadow, knowing I was there.
That mattered. It mattered so much.
I lost my fear of the shadows, and I welcome my shadow self now, in all its' glory, even though it's dark. Dark, and yet, revealing, at one and the same time.
My shadow self isn't an arbitrary unknown part of me that causes fear to rise up in me.
It exists just as surely as the walking, talking part of me.
I love my shadow self. I hate my shadow self too, honestly, because it was revealed to me as a result of Chuck's death, and I'll never be okay with that.
The duality of loss, again. The duality of widowhood, always.
My shadow selfie, and this blog.
That happened because, yesterday, I took a walk with my two grand-goddesses and she said Look, Granna! My shadow is following me!
I recall the tune from years ago...Me and My Shadow....strolling down the avenue...