What about the widow who was NOT married to her soul mate? What about the widow whose marriage was a challenge? Or, what about the widow who, after her husband died, had to grieve not only him, but who also had to grieve what didn't happen in her marriage? Who faces the reality of missed opportunities?
There are those women among us who married their soul mate, and there are those women among us who married a good mate, a mate who was right for them but about whom we might not use the word soul mate. Grief for these women is no less challenging.Read more
My (rather new) significant other is a geologist. A few months ago, he left (Martha’s Vineyard) for the desert West of Palm Springs CA to do field work. He called me each day, either before he left to do field work in the desert, or after he returned. All was well. I was, and am, bonkers over him. I enjoyed our telephone connection. We were a new couple so the phone calls were a daily surprise and not an expectation. Or so I thought.Read more
It is Anneke’s ‘Sweet Sixteen’ today.
On the one hand, I can’t really believe this day has arrived and her father is still gone. Like somehow, at some point he should have walked in the front door and with little fanfare saying “I’m back.” It has been 8 plus years. She has been without him longer than she had him. I should know better by now.
Dear Wonderful Widows.
Grieving is a self-centered act. It must be. It requires paying attention to one’s own broken heart, taking the time needed to adjust to a very different existence, and learning to live in a changed world. Grieving requires self-care.
This is especially true for widows with children. We eventually find that the only way our children will be OK is if we are OK. And the only way we will be OK is if we are willing to tend to ourselves.
Sometime after Mike's funeral, someone put a book into my hand. The book was Ruthless Trust by Brennan Manning.
Although I did not get past chapter one, (I was unable to concentrate long enough to read much at all and I am pretty sure I have a different spiritual leaning than the author), the title spoke to me. It still speaks to me, almost nine years later when life happens differently than I think it should.
Every day I get up at 5 AM, put on my bathrobe and head to the kitchen where I make my first cup of good, strong, coffee. Cup in hand, I return to my bed, slide between the covers and sip, doing my best to make my coffee last as long as possible. I love this time of day. It feels decadent to do nothing but ponder the hours ahead. Now that it is spring, my windows are open and I hear the sounds of the season, mostly cardinals, the occasional very bossy crow, and every 15 minutes or so a foghorn warning the fishing boats of the rocks of Vineyard Sound. And these days my cat Sophie joins me.Read more
Last week when I was posting to this blog I saw the following quote in the right hand column of the Widows Voice website.
“In the depth of winter, I finally learned that within me there lay an invincible summer.” Albert Camus
Albert Camus died in 1960. His life was not easy. His father died when he was an infant and he was raised in extreme poverty. Camus’s mother was deaf and according to his writings, she was in a state of almost continuous melancholy. Camus himself contracted tuberculosis at age 17.
There lies all of us an “invincible summer”. We all have resources we do not know we have until our lives change in such a way that we must find them.
I have been on my back for the last 3 weeks or so, nursing an inflamed sacroiliac joint. What a pain! Literally. Every turn and twist, every journey to the bathroom (all of 25 painful feet) and every trek to the kitchen elicits mild and not-so-mild expletives. Thankfully, my daughter is in school and the walls are my only witness.
Of course, lots of time on one's back allows for insights, welcome or unwelcome. I do wish these marvelous insights would happen when I was licking, say, a large, double chocolate ice cream cone instead of lying supine on an ice pack.
But no, my insights seem to come to me when I have finally over-done something or other (stacking wood, mowing the lawn... talking...) and have no choice but to cry "uncle" and finally settle down to listen to my body's teachings.
Sometimes I am quite certain that I am pathetic. Not only am I pathetic, but I am the pathetic-est of all. I am sure that no one anywhere is as petty, jealous or pissed off as I am. I feel like my cat Sophie must feel when she sleeps with her face jammed into her pillow. I don't want to see anyone, I don't want to hear anyone, and I especially don't want to speak to anyone...
This morning I sat down at my computer to work on a chapter in this so-called book that I am writing. This book that, if things go the way they are going, will most likely never get written.
Anyhow I sat down to write and realized that I had two choices. I could write a chapter that made me look good, like a good widow, a smart widow, a competent and gracious widow. In short, an admirable widow.
Or, I could write the truth. I decided on the truth.
Dear Wonderful Widows,
Last night was the first evening of this month's ‘Widows Dating Again Class’. It was fun and I know we all learned a lot.
What struck me after the class was how truly vulnerable widows are. I don’t mean that we are vulnerable to unscrupulous men.
We are vulnerable to our own need to connect, to touch, to be touched, and to our desire to rid ourselves of the devastating loneliness of loss.
If we expected our husband to die or if he died suddenly, the loneliness of loss is always sudden. There is no way to prepare for being alone and no way to anticipate and prepare for the unremitting loneliness that follows. It is this loneliness that makes widowhood so long and so arduous. And it is this loneliness that has us make mistakes.