When I first started writing for Hope for Widows I chuckled to myself, “Now there’s an anomaly!” A handful of faceless women, of all demographics, trying to convince other women; yes, women widows on the internet that there is hope after tragedy.
Something inside me screamed “I’m in!” I mean, how hard could it be to share the story of loss, grief, resurrection, and new birth of life, so to speak, after the death of a spouse.Turns out that the joke has been on me, it is very difficult. However, trying to express my thoughts and put them into actual words that make (somewhat) sense has been cathartic and pivotal to my grief and healing process.
I have discovered that I am actually a widow anomaly.
(1) I’m relatively young as the general widow stereotype goes.
(2) My husband died of a horribly rare disease called Lou Gehrig’s disease or ALS. People don’t even know how to respond to that. Guess what? It’s okay. It wasn’t a secret, we all knew he had it!
(3) I have one divorced friend. All of my friends are married. Although they were there for me at the drop of a hat physically the first year, life has gone on. They are involved in their own weekend lives. Phone calls or texts are still daily. We plan lunch or dinner dates. This has been a change going into the second year for me, socially. It was not until my husband died that I realized that my part of the world is couple driven. Being single is almost uncomfortable if you aren’t settled into who you are.
There is hope in being a widow. You must get past the initial shell shocked pain. I don’t know when the grief leaves or if ever, but when the dazed and confused lifts you breathe. And then you access. Then you start to slowly rebuild. And there is hope in that process. Sure I miss having someone open doors for me, holding my hand, driving me places, spooning in the bed, intimacy, conversations, laughter, shooting skeet at the farm, the boat, vacations, texts to make sure I’m okay, flowers on Friday’s. I miss my husband of almost 28 years. I miss my most intimate friend of 33 years. I think that’s normal widow grief.
Here is what I find I do like, not because I want to replace my husband, but because the reality is he’s gone so I must live. I want to focus on what the positives are because I figure I’ve had enough negative for a lifetime, Amen? So here we go:
*I love I don’t have a time schedule. If I want to stay out until 3am, (I don’t) I can.
*I love knowing every square inch of my new home is me. I hung every painting and placed every item. I organized the garage, closets, kitchen all of it. On my own. There was a rite of passage into the abyss of the new world and I like that.
*I like that I can purchase something and it’s my decision and not a family decision.
*I like that I can go forward in life not making the same mistakes twice.
*I like that I am in control of my finances. I let go everyone my husband used and picked my people. Not because they were bad but because I needed advisors with whom I could communicate and who understood me. And I’ll probably shake it up some more in 2020.
*I like that I have learned I will not spend my time with things or people unless they bring me joy. The old me accommodated and pleased the world thus leaving me miserable (and my family). Not new me. New me wants only relationships that flourish or are purposeful.
*I like that I can watch HGTV all day long if I choose too
*I like that my toilet seat is always in the proper down position.
It is not that I wouldn’t want my handsome, charismatic, southern husband back should he walk through that door tonight–I would! More than anything. The reality is that he is not going to walk through that door. So I choose hope, in what to others may deem, a hopeless life. There is both joy and hope in every tragedy. We just have to give ourselves permission to find it.
I can relate to the reorganizing closets, the garage, the basement because I could and because I had to. Thank you for sharing your words…it’s refreshing to know I am not alone in wanting to redo my home little by little.
Yes to all of the above. My husband died in October 2018 of Younger Onset Alzheimer’s at 61 and am just starting to come out of the shell shock stage into the reality of my life. When he was diagnosed at age 54 there was no hope for us but that didn’t mean we couldn’t find joy in every day…and we did. Some days we had to work at it as it was hidden but we would eventually find it. I still look for and find joy in every day though some days are harder than others. This is not the path I saw for our future together but it is the path I am on like it or not. Life is a journey and although Jim’s journey, our journey, has ended the rest of my journey is yet to unfold. I would have rather finished my journey with Jim but that was not a choice given to us so I will continue down this path full of grief and pain but also love and laughter, ohhh and memories, so many memories 😊♥️
I have read a lot on grief but your article really touched me.It was so beautifully written and so true. Thank you so much for writing what I had difficulty expressing.