Never before has a New Year been so anticipated during our lifetime.

While there have been many eulogies written regarding 2020; I write from a different vantage point – that of a widow and, once again, a survivor – with wisdom to share.

2020 

  • we collectively celebrated every-day heroes, witnessed environmental renewal, developed and honed hobbies, appreciated family and discovered a vaccine in miraculous speed
  • a year of death, unemployment, poverty and divisiveness
  • loneliness became a constant for many

Surprisingly, although I live alone (with my dog), the solitude and isolation seemed less difficult for me to accept than for many of my mostly married friends. Their lack of patience and day-to-day negativity during this pandemic continues to surprise me.

Why am I able to withstand the pandemic better than others?

I believe it is because I am a widow and have had to accept the constant uncertainty of life in order to survive after loss. For us, life had already been forever disrupted and our new reality is a constant rollercoaster of ups and downs.

I am certainly not saying 2020 was easy for me; but, I quickly moved forward understanding that there was nothing more I could do but accept the rules and responsibilities and etch out a revised lifestyle.

Lessons Learned

Our loss has taught us many valuable life lessons:

We understand that there shall never be ‘normal’ – now or after the pandemic. We have learned to grab onto moments of joy and calm as they are precious and fleeting. We have learned to SURVIVE uncertainty and change.

The words of Professor O’Donnell are so insightful; yet, difficult to swallow:

 “Uncertainty is chronic

Instability is permanent

Disruption is common

And we can neither predict nor govern events

There will be no new normal

There will only be a continuous series of not normal episodes,

 Define prediction and unforeseen by most of us until they happen.”

 -Professor Edward T. O’Donnell

Temporary

This pandemic is temporary.

As the Professor asserts, it is another unwanted disruption we cannot control and must accept.

No one knows what 2021 will bring.

What I do know is that we can and WILL survive whatever life throws our way because we are resilient and strong (even if we don’t always feel that way). We have become flexible like a rubber band.

New Year’s Wishes

I wish all my widowed sisters a New Year filled with hope, health, strength and happiness.

Drop me a line and share the skill-sets that are helping you cope on this roller coaster called life.

Together, we shall help one-another to survive and flourish.

Forever evolving,

susan

About 

Susan met her husband when she was only 14 and he was 15 in their hometown of Toronto, Canada. By 16, he was her one and only, and at the age of 21 they were married. They lived a life many would describe as the American (Canadian) dream. They were a family of 5, with a dog, their large, extended families close by and wonderful friends who completed their life.

On May 20, 2014, her world came crashing down. Her 54-year old husband passed unexpectedly of a heart attack as he was getting ready for work. The years since have been a whirlwind of emotion, trauma & joy (yes, she said joy, thanks mostly to the birth of her grandchildren) Prior to Covid-19, Susan experienced more isolation and tragedy through the loss of my dad & both of her brothers. She knew she had to make sense of all the grief and instinctively understood that volunteering to help others would also be vital for my healing. Subsequently, she has completed a coaching program and has been invited to guide caregivers thru a provincial initiative.

When Covid-19 left her even more alone than she could ever imagine, she took the leap and began: Evolve for Widows. Its purpose is to encourage widows, once able to move past the debilitating period of grief, to reclaim their lives within the comfort and encouragement of a positive sisterhood. You can also find Susan and her organization, Evolve on Facebook, Website and Instagram.