One of my favourite widbuds is Charlotte, who I met last year at the Soaring Spirits Camp Widow event in Toronto 2018. She is beautiful and strong and capable and clever and funny. And she’s grieving. And despite her grieving, she attended my daughter’s funeral, “just because she happened to be in Europe at the time”. We are both in a WhatsApp group of five widbuds, all of whom were at Camp Widow. Our Whatsapp name is Mourning Glories, which I love and think is rather brilliant. That was Pamela’s idea.
Despite there being just five of us, we rarely go quiet on one another as a group. I am sure that once a week “something happens” to one of us. Something of a trigger. Something hard. A challenge outside of the normal challenge of grieving. A challenge where we just wish our partner were there with us to pick up and carry the blanket of weight for a while. Or at least a corner of it. Or failing that, just witness it being carried.
Like Pamela attending the funeral of a dear, way-too-young friend, and witnessing the left-behind wife, and 7- and 9-year old kids.
Like Charlotte packing up a holiday home in the mountains, putting belongings in boxes, crying out past memories and future dreams, then driving home alone, for hours, to an empty home.
Like me packing up my youngest child’s bedroom this week, two hours a day over five separate days, this time wisely accompanied by friends who care.Read more
This past weekend my friend from British Columbia flew to Ontario to come to visit me. I haven’t seen her in a year since we last did a road trip together. I’ve written about her before on my own personal blog about her being The Friend I Never Wanted. She is an amazing and inspiring person. She’s a young widow too and an incredible support. We have been navigating life after loss with very similar timelines across the country.
We talk on a regular basis but it’s different actually being together. We know we’re both moving forward, and we talk about our lives now, but it just feels so much more obvious when we’re together. Our visits are like a timeline of progress in grief, to me anyways. Much has stayed the same but there’s also been change. For example, when I was asking what food she wanted as I grocery shopped for her visit she commented that she doesn’t think she had food in her house the first time I visited. At that time we were both in the first year of loss. We then tried to remember what we even did during that first visit. It all seemed like a blur. We talked about our trip together the last time we met up, just over a year out from the death of our husbands, and how we struggled to come up with a plan between the two of us. We had joked that between the two of us we had a total of 1 working brain and we hoped that would be enough to manage everything.Read more
Last week I was anxious and annoyed (raging, actually) over the seemingly endless list of things I thought I could not do without Ben. At the time, the top of my list of stressors was the fact that I was headed off to Camp Widow where I would be attending a Saturday night Masquerade Ball, and I realized there was no one to zip up my dress. It sent me into a full blown panic.
Well, one week later and I’m here to tell you that I survived. Not only did I survive, but I thrived. Yes, I said it … I thrived. And I’ll let you in on a secret I have always known on some level but often refused to admit …
My Mother Was Right.Read more
It's been a busy week, and the highlight was a visit with my friend Margaret who flew in for a nice long weekend from her home in the Bay area. Her husband Dave, who was healthy and fit, died of a sudden, massive stroke at age 50 three months after Mike died, and she and I were put together by mutual friends and family who saw us both falling apart and thought we might benefit from a friendship. They were right.
We have a lot in common, being suddenly and unexpectedly widowed in middle age, and without our own children (I have two beautiful adult stepdaughters). When life throws you a curveball like this - well, having someone with which to share the burden of grief, who reallygets what you're going through, can make all the difference. We spent those early days emailing, texting and chatting like mad, sobbing and laughing together nearly every day, and I went to meet her in SF when I was there to visit family the summer before last.Read more
Kevin was a fictional character on the award-winning Australian television series “Sea Change”.
Kevin ran the local caravan park and on the surface, he appeared to be a fairly one-dimensional character – a gullible, but honest single-father doing the best he could on minimum wage and abilities. ..... but doing it with an air of a man who was seemingly happy with his lot in life. ...and he loved his son. A lot.
He was the kind of bloke that quietly went about his business, giving a hand to anyone in need and asking nothing in return. Kevin could fix a toaster or a VW Kombi van and he did odd jobs for the townsfolk of the fictional seaside town of “Pearl Bay”.Read more
I wanted to take some time to just talk about my friends.
These past few months have been some of the most changing and challenging months since Michael was first killed. The difference though, is I now have an unwavering support system.
.... between a battle and a war.
But unfortunately, when you're in a war .... there are many, many battles to fight.
I am not sure what your beliefs are ..... I don't think our differing beliefs will matter as I write this. At least I hope they won't.
Home is where you hang your heart, not only your hat. When Phil died, the four walls of my home became both a refuge and a prison. I hated going out; I hated staying in.
The outside world was too bright. I felt blinded by other people's lightness, innocent happiness, and especially by their apparent disregard for the fact that the world had stopped.
Nine months after Jeff died, my beloved grandfather joined him in the great fishing grounds in the sky. My grandmother was, understandably bereft. She asked me, "Does it ever begin to feel any better?" In that moment, I was struck by one thing. We were now not only linked by blood and family, but by the kinship of grieving our spouse.Read more
“You can hold yourself back from the sufferings of the world, that is something you are free to do and it accords with your nature, but perhaps this very holding back is the one suffering you could avoid.”
I'm at one of our bi-monthly AWP events. Our first night is one of the most interesting. For many of the widows, it is there first time to meet another with shared grief, it is a first to finally realize that they are not alone.Read more