on march 25th, 2008
i had more
i'd ever thought
and more family members
than i remembered having.
When Michele and I first met, we were each about 4ish months into the process of widowhood. We connected instantly via email, and eventually became phone friends, only to move onto being a daily touchstone in each other's lives. We are separated by thousands of miles, but manage to connect in person at least 3 or 4 times a year. We were 36 went we met and are getting ready to celebrate 41...who knew we'd become such fabulous life-long friends?Read more
Since I have been widowed, the single most helpful, comforting, hopeful, motivating experience for me has been meeting other widowed people. I can still recall the moment of relief that I felt when I first sat down for a long conversation with another widowed person. Words tumbled out of my mouth in a way they hadn't before. Suddenly my pain, insecurities, questions, and fears sprang from my lips as if someone opened them with a key. That key was shared experience.Read more
Lately I have been asked by more than one person when I think I might be done with this whole, "widow thing." Hmmm...done. Well I guess that depends on the definition of done.
See the thing is, I will always be widowed. Remarriage doesn't erase my widowhood. Being happy doesn't erase the memories I have of lying in bed dry heaving as I screamed in agony over the news that the man I loved was dead. Loving a different man doesn't make me stop loving Phil. There is no such thing in my mind as replacement, and I can't figure out what done would look like.
I looked at the calendar last night and realized...I'm leaving for Camp Widow in 5 weeks. 5 weeks!!!!
It seems like just yesterday I was packing my bags to head home from last year's surprisingly fantastic weekend. I was expecting the weekend to be great, we had planned it for months and Michele can make anything fabulous. What I wasn't expecting was how amazing it would be. I wasn't expecting the feeling of immediate kinship I felt with almost everyone I met. I wasn't expecting to be so moved by seeing the groups of widows chatting like old friends, sharing each other's horror stories, laughing, hugging each other, and having a wonderful time. I was expecting it to be good for everyone else - and expecting it to be all work for myself. Boy, was I wrong! :)Read more
June 16, 2010 was a really busy day. In fact, the night before I was laughing about the fact that every minute of the next day was so scheduled that I felt like the day had flown by before it even began. These last few weeks have been packed with events, meetings, Camp Widow arrangements, packing to take the kids on a trip, the last day of school, baby showers, birthdays, friend traumas, and a seemingly never ending list of things to do. So maybe that is why I didn't remember the significance of June 16th.Read more
I have experienced using the word death, or the word grief, or the word widow and having people physically step away from me. I have been told that since I am young the death of my husband isn't as large a tragedy as it might be if I were older, since I am sure to remarry. I have been asked whether or not I am "over" my husband. People have looked at me from behind walls, sunglasses, the back of their cars, and then purposely walked the other direction. I have been told that finding another man to love would mean that Phil was not my soul mate, because how could you replace a soul mate? I have been asked to explain why I still talk about my dead husband when I have a new one waiting in the wings. I have been asked how I can possibly listen to the stories of other widowed people day in and day out without wanting to jump off the nearest bridge.Read more
So it's been one of those weeks, filled with wonderful things: Widow's Rock Austin was a great time, with some great widows and friends of widows (thanks to all who came!!) and we raised money for Camp Widow 2010 (yay!!!); my sister surprised me at Widow's Rock - she flew in unexpectedly from England for the event and will stay for a week; Grayson had basketball tryouts and an awesome choir concert which went well....on the other hand the week was filled with stressful things: at work I have been second guessed and condescended to in ways I haven't since I was just starting out in my career, I have a had a crick in my neck for four days, and I have a nasty case of PMS....good times!Read more
I have the very distinct honor of leading a group of the most compassionate people I have ever met. Really. When I tell someone what I do for a living, I am generally met with a questioning look and an awkward silence. Since I don't look like a widow ;) the person across from me generally spends a few seconds trying to figure out WHY I am the director of an organization that supports people who are grieving the loss of someone they love. Many times the assumption is made that I am just that kind of giving person, one who reaches out to the downtrodden, grief stricken, mourners of our world.Read more
I've heard that statement countless times in the past almost 4 years. I wondered early on, "what do widows look like then?" I knew what I thought they looked like before: old, black dress, and so very sad and lonely. Well, I had the sad and lonely part down pat. Old and a black dress? Not so much.Read more