Let's face it, widows. It's not our fault that we're single. It's not our fault that we hurt. Our particular loss is earth shattering. If someone else understands, hallelujah! But if they don't, shrug and love them anyway. Expecting special treatment after say, the first year is silly. Really...
Widowhood is lonely work. It's supposed to be. At the end of the day it's up to us to choose how we will go on.
Easier said than done, I know. Next to impossible in the beginning. Pushing that huge boulder of tasks and grief up the steep, rocky hill of life leaves us wondering if we'll ever get it to the top. My experience? People help out. But they have their own boulders to push. Leave them be.
Let them leave us to our own devices.
By golly, pushing that huge boulder up that hill one grisly step at a time made me the woman I am today. Stronger, fitter, wiser and happier. We've all been there. All done the hard part. Pushing that weight up that rocky slope. It feels like forever. Looking back, it wasn't such a long time. After five years, that boulder got lighter and the ground levelled off. After six years, no big deal. At seven years, I was eyeing the open sea, wading in now and again. Nice. But I was still looking back. Stuck and scared. Where to head completely on my own? In a world of two's, a bold new course: toward love that has my name, and my name alone, on it. I don't believe this is selfish, because with that decision joy returned. Peace, too. Evidently I was overdue for self love. And he would have been happy I'd finally let him belong to the past.
Maybe the difference between the weight of grief and the freedom from it is reclaiming our own power to choose. After all, Choice was something that was stripped from us when death came.
Joy is here for us.
Why did it take me so long? I'm slow. Why not sooner? Well, exactly when is 'sooner'? Common wisdom says it takes widows five to seven years to move on. It took me seven. To others, it looked like I was doing well a lot sooner than I really was. So many of us put on a happy face and actually fool others into thinking we're well, because we're rather private. Stoic. Proud.
I decided to take my private angst public, through this blog. The reason is my belief: God continually offers us gifts, and if I couldn't find the gift in this tragedy, I wasn't looking hard enough. One year ago yesterday I wrote my first entry. I posted my efforts, holding myself accountable to my readers to find the gift in my tragedy and move on. Now I'm considering moving on from this blog.
Like Julian of Norwich, I believe that "All shall be well, all shall be well and all manner of thing shall be well". Why? Because God is love, and God lives in the present tense. I can hold the gift of life and be filled. No longer am I like a bucket so drained of life by grief, and so full of holes no one can console me. I am healed. Circumstances could at any time pierce my bucket with more holes. I hope in the future I can be more resilient.
Here is what I had to do
- Recognize that I was that empty bucket full of holes, and nobody could fill my emptiness no matter how much love and attention they poured in.
- Plug the holes in my bucket myself. Do this by giving up the illusion that all shall be well only if time reverses itself. Or if only people would be more generous.
- Fill my bucket with all manner of things - a few old things, but mostly new skills, new attitudes, new friends, new surroundings, new interests.
- Share my journey publicly on this blog.
Every day is a challenge. For everybody.
Good luck. God, and Love, is with you.
P.S. Please don't hesitate to share in my comment section. I'll write back!