Monday, April 22, 2013

When Death leaves you in the Lurch


First, You Cry.  Remember that book from the 1970s?  In it, Betty Rollin wrote of her transformative experience with breast cancer.

I stumbled on a more recent book of hers: Here's the Bright Side: of Failure, Fear, Cancer, Divorce, and Other Bum Raps , published in 2007.   I'd say widowhood qualifies as a bum rap, wouldn't you?  Death left us in the lurch.  No way around it.

There is a bright side. I couldn't say this better, so I'll quote a large portion of her book.  For all newer widows reading, remember - I've been at this eight years.  Eight years.

"I woke up one morning and realized I was happy. This struck me as weird. Not that I didn't have all kinds of things to be happy about—love, work, good health, enough money, the usual happy-making stuff. The weird part is, when I thought about it, I realized that the source of my happiness was, of all things, cancer—that cancer had everything to do with how good the good parts of my life were.

When I thought about it more—and looked into it and started talking to other people—survivors, not only of cancer but of various other of life's infinite variety of bum raps—failure, divorce, illnesses and reversals of all kinds, death of a spouse, and so on—it turned out I was not alone. It turns out there is often—it seems very often—an astonishingly bright side within darkness. People more than survive bum raps: they often thrive on them; they wind up stronger, livelier, happier; they wake up to new insights and new people and do better with the people around them who are not new. In short, they often wind up ahead. There are even studies, scientific studies (!) that show that people often say they have benefited from the terrible things that have happened to them.

Coping well is part of this phenomenon, but there's more to it than that. Within each form of misery, there seems to be something of worth, a hidden prize waiting to be found. Sometimes it's found right away, sometimes not: a painful, debilitating divorce or widowhood can lead, gradually, to a new tranquility within and without. (Not to mention the possible emergence of a swell new mate. Have you ever encountered the particularly dipsy-doodle joy of a newly married widow or widower? A person who thought love was forever buried with a deceased mate, but by golly, here it is again!) "


Thank you, Betty Rollin, for your eloquence. 
Widowhood, you left me in the lurch for a while, but you have given me new life.  I haven't had a sign of grief now, in what, weeks.  I'm happy. Wow.  I got to discover these ~

Faith in God and His/Her Provision
 Doing what needs to be done 'well enough' is well, enough

A fighting spirit,  mine, and yours is there when I need it
A welcoming heart and open mind is all Life asks
Who would've thought, that terrible day death changed the landscape, that the struggle would pay off so handsomely?


  1. Every cloud has a silver lining---this blog entry reminded me of that phrase. It's something my mother used to say. Thanks for sharing the Betty Rollin quote. We all need reminders once in a while, to be thankful.

  2. Yeah... It's hard to see when we're being pelted with sleet, that this cloud can bring warm summer rain. I've ordered Betty Rollin's book. I especially can't wait to see the illustrations by Jules Feiffer.