Oh yes, it is real! Widow fog is not a figment of my imagination. Before I became a widow, I had heard of this misunderstood phenomenon; yet, never identified or comprehended the jarring validity that it entails, as I frankly hadn’t walked in widowhood’s shoes. Now, I am a living, walking, and poster board example. Have you experienced widow fog?

Before my beloved husband’s death and life as I knew it for 24 years became an altered vortex of reality, I was organized and established. Our home was structured, bills were paid on time, birthday and Christmas presents were bought and wrapped months in advance, and time management was efficient. Likewise, even in times of adversity and challenges, there was a serene, simplified ease to life as we relied on the mutual strength and support of each other.

Unfortunately, the turbulent, multi-faceted cycle of sorrow has merged and played havoc with my mind. I have misplaced bills, thought I had paid certain bills, gotten days mixed-up, and I have even driven to the wrong destinations.  Moreover, I lost one set of my car keys, the second set, and then the third. How in the world could I possibly loose three sets?  In addition, grocery items that belong in my refrigerator somehow end up in my pantry and vice versa.  Furthermore, I have walked out of the house heading to town without shoes on, worn two different boots and forgotten how to spell my name.

As I attempted to explain this to one of my friends, I illustrated how it is similar to walking into a room and forgetting what you went in for; although, it is so much more elevated, disruptive and recurrent.  I have come to realize that absentmindedness, distraction, feeling sluggish and clouded judgment can all be normal factors of loss.

Below is one of my typical widow fog days; however, with a warm twist reflecting how the genuine kindness of strangers transformed and re-fueled my day.

I was at a doctor’s appointment, feeling very alone without my husband by my side (as he usually went with me, especially concerning a new diagnosis) when an x-ray technician came up to me. She seemed to sense my sorrow and started inquiring about my life. Her sincere compassion and the time that she spent with me was soul touching. Afterwards, as I walked to my car, a man started chasing and yelling at me. Unbeknownst to me, in the lobby, I had dropped a second pair of car keys that I didn’t know I had with me. The man was out of breath as he handed my keys back to me. Then, lost in my thoughts, I pulled up to a Starbuck’s drive-thru window, not even realizing that I had forgotten to order at the speaker. The barista looked at me, smiled and said, “I think you need a free drink!”  Next, as I walked into the store, I attempted to put my keys into my purse and take out my shopping list; but, somehow, I dropped my purse-and mind you, not just a simple drop! Every item in my purse scattered all across the floor! Two men came running to my rescue and helped me pick everything up. Okay, so the icing on the cake… somehow, as I was checking out and grabbing my wallet, my hair got wrapped around a little, embellished lock on my purse.  So here I was, with my head stuck to my purse and I couldn’t budge. The lady behind me in-line tried to help, the cashier tried to help, and another gentlemen employee also tried to help. Finally, my hair came loose! As I drove home, reflecting on the thoughtfulness of the 8 strangers, my heart was yet again softened with thankfulness.

Upon returning home, I found a poem amidst my pile of paper work. A cousin had sent it to me. The author is unknown. It is so fitting to my situation. “Excuse me, I am presently distressed and stricken by the most harrowing, unthinkable pain imaginable-grief!  Your kindness, your understanding, your empathy would lighten my load. Thank you in advance, as I might forget to express my appreciation.”

My day also reiterated the fact that I needed to be kind to myself.  I believe that widow fog is all part of the healing process. Grief is so real and debilitating emotionally, spiritually, mentally and physically. Our energy, bodies and minds innately slow themselves down as a natural defense mechanism in order to promote inner healing.  If you are experiencing widow fog, please from one friend to another, breathe, exhale deeply, go slow, strive to be gentle with your progress, praise yourself, allow yourself to react with humor instead of frustration and bask in the knowledge that you are OKAY!

As always, I appreciate hearing from you as we uplift and support each other. Please feel free to share and/or comment.

Now, if I can only remember my password and how to post this blog, I will be doing fine!

With Reverence and Blessings to You,

Lisa Dempsey Bargewell

My blog topic for next Wednesday: I Don’t Recognize Myself