Writing doesn’t come easy for me.  I wish it did.  I am envious of those people that can write down their thoughts in a flowing, coherent and reflective way without second-guessing or heavily editing.  Maybe someday I’ll get there.

When I prepare to write, I always sit and meditate on what I would have liked to have known after the shock of Dave’s death was starting to wear off and I realized that I was truly without my partner, husband, best friend, and my love.  

And I also think about what I would have liked someone to share with me when I was 1 year out or 2 years out and beyond. After moving through all the “firsts” – birthdays, wedding anniversary, death anniversary – going into that 2nd year was really rough and I experienced some dark times during that period. I was not sleeping, I was over drinking to help me sleep, I was lonely and in a lot of emotional pain.

I recently wrote a letter to myself, the Melissa from 2012-2013 that needed to understand and feel that there was hope for the future, that things might feel better at some point.

Dear Melissa – 

Even though you might feel alone, you are not alone. There are other women who understand what you are going through. Seek these women out. There are supportive organizations for widows that will help you.

You’ve suffered a tremendous shock to your physical, emotional, and spiritual self so please go easy on yourself.

You’re going to feel grief in your body so do whatever you can to move and process it through walking, dancing, hiking, massage, and even pedicures because it’s nice to be touched in a safe way.

You have a tendency to be impatient and hard on yourself.  Sometimes you don’t speak very kindly to yourself so I’d like you to notice what thoughts are running around your head and ask some questions: Is what I’m saying helpful?  Would I say these words to a close friend or another widow? How could I talk to myself in a loving, supportive way?

Now is also the time to embrace your “woo woo” side and dig into alternative healing practices like yoga, hypnosis, reiki, meditation, acupuncture, deep breathing, and energy healing. It’ll help clear your mind and manage your stress, I swear.

Sometimes it’ll feel like you’re doing the “work” of grieving – and you are – it’s like a job but, little by little as you are taking care of yourself, you’ll notice some glimmers of hope. You’ll feel flashes of joy. You’ll be present and a better parent because you are filling your cup first so you have the energy to care for your kids. You’ll avoid numbing your pain with wine and beer and you’ll process your grief in a healthy way.

Melissa, I want you to know that you will be a different person because of Dave’s death. You will be a kinder, more compassionate, and empathetic human being. You will feel joy again, you will feel love again and share it with a loving partner and life companion. Your kids will grow up into young adults and they are OK.  They know you love them.

You will know that you are strong and capable and confident. You will live a life of service and purpose.

You are loved!

Future Melissa (2021)