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Widowed Village connects peers with each other for friendship and sharing. The moderators, administrators, and others involved in running this site are not professionals.

Please don't interpret anything you read here as medical, legal, or otherwise expert advice. Don't disregard any expert's advice or take any action as a result of what you read here.

We're friends, not doctors, financial or legal professionals, and we're not "grief experts." But we are here, and we've been "there."

Call me irrepressibly optimistic or call me nuts, but if I'm going to have to be widowed, I might as well try to make the best of it. In the early days, months and even years after losing a wonderful husband or wife, hurt predominates. I was there for a long, long time. But I hope that for others, as it FINALLY is for me (5 years since being widowed), there will come a time when you can find and make good in the new life you have been forced to create. I had a very happy marriage and I used to feel guilty even acknowledging that I could be happy without my husband, but the guilt is gone now and I can just be happy. It feels wonderful.


Before Ken died, I said to him, "I don't want to go through all the pain I'm going to feel when you're gone." But, I've done it. I've worked it. And now after all my hard work is done, I am finally experiencing some of the reward. 

I once read a description of "the dandelion child". The description of this type of child has always inspired me. A dandelion child is a kid who thrives even in the worst of circumstances--like a dandelion that springs up through cracks in hard, barren concrete.  

I used to think it would be unbearably sad to reach a place where I could feel good again. Weird, right? Sad to be happy. Back when I couldn't imagine it, I felt like being happy again would mean that I was negating Ken, leaving him behind. And that felt, at the time, impossibly sad. Today I know that having Ken die,  losing him, losing the dream of being a husband and wife raising our two children together, will always, always, be sad. But happiness can grow out of sadness if you let it. 

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Here are some good new things in my life that wouldn't be here if I hadn't been widowed:

I really and fully appreciate being healthy and I no longer consider it to be self-indulgent to exercise, go to yoga, meditate, eat good food, or get a massage. After seeing my once healthy husband suffer from cancer and cancer treatment, I completely understand that having a healthy strong body is an amazing gift and something to cherish.

I love making decisions and acting on them without having to always consult someone else. I feel more capable and powerful than I've ever felt in my life before because I have no choice but to make major and minor decisions for myself and my children all the time. It has been quite empowering for me.

I enjoy having a new man in my life who is not a husband. He has his own household and I have my own household and when we are together our time is not spent on domestic activities or chores. There is time for simply connecting and enjoying one another that isn't complicated by household tasks or shared responsibilities. Yes, we love helping one another out, but there is something to be said for time apart as well as time together, and even for time just appreciating what we are creating without necessarily knowing how it will all turn out.

I feel less fear in general. Now that I have survived one of the worst events that can happen to a person, I approach smaller obstacles with greater ease. This makes life so much more enjoyable and a lot less stressful.

I have more to give to others in wisdom, time and energy than ever before. Nothing matters more to me than my connections with others. I feel a greater desire to share what I know and to give what I can.

On the other hand, I am more comfortable being alone. I understand that loss prevails in the end, and I am learning to accept change and loss with more grace.


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Take 5 minutes to write about the good you have discovered growing from your loss. Or, if you're not at that point yet, write about the good you imagine or hope for yourself in the future. Or, if you can't imagine ever feeling happy again, write about that.

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Comment by jules on September 30, 2011 at 2:28pm

Jill, I like your blog about writing.  I used to keep a journal all through school and university and then I stopped.  Tony kept a journal and after he died I continued the story.  Shortly after Tony died I read a great book: 50 Ways to Grieve Your Lover by Glennys Marsdon who totally supports writing in a journal to help you grieve.  By the way it is a very funny book at points and is very good for young widows who feel utterly and completely lost.  I have found writing has kept me sane, clears my mind before sleep and allows me to talk to Tony privately in my own way.  Ms. Marsdon also suggests keeping a list in the back of your journal where you write at least 3 things a day that were good.  Even simple things like getting dressed, eating a meal, doing laundry or watching a sunset.  My three things today are finding your blog, going for a long walk and not crying like a banshee and making cookies (even if there were Pilsbury!)

Thank you for writing and I look forward to your next post.

Be well, Jules

Comment by Tommi on June 5, 2011 at 4:34am
Thank you for sharing.  It gives me hope that there will be a day when I might even be the least bit happy again.  Right now dealing with the lonliness is challenging (One month since my husband passed away) so I am trying to "get out" when I can and not feel that I have to stay at home all the time. 
Comment by healing now on June 4, 2011 at 6:26pm
Thank you so much for sharring this, and you also NMWidower, I am feeling this as well but I am struggleing right now with the whole how do you get out there and date again thing.  I have grown a lot since he left us but I am longing for that relationship again, I have been helping others in ways I can, and have grown on the grief journey, just feeling the need now for someone new. 
Comment by Dianne in Nevada on June 4, 2011 at 12:23pm

I'm only 8 months out but I must admit I'm getting comfortable with being alone. I still miss my husband - I always will - but I'm finding some comfort in the quiet now. I can embrace it, fill it with whatever I need. Sometimes that means sitting in his recliner with memories and some tears; other times it's planning what I'd like to do with my future; or maybe working out in the yard and enjoying nature. The past 5 years were really tough and this transition is something I know I need.

I recently gave myself the gift of a complete physical - my first doctor visit in over 7 years. It does feel good to know that ignoring my own health for that long didn't bring any major issues for me to face alone. And I'm loving my weekly yoga class that my friend (the instructor) forced me to join. It's not always easy to head over there after a nearly 12 hour day at work, but it is truly a gift for me to do this for myself.

And, of course, Widowed Village must be included if I'm thinking about the good I've discovered from my loss. I have made some very dear friends here that I would not have otherwise. A true blessing.

Comment by NMWidower on June 3, 2011 at 10:04pm

Jill, 

Thanks so much for sharing this.  I am excited and very happy for you to see you coming out of the valley of grief and to give people here hope and glimpses that life truly can be found again and that it is a good thing.

 

I can see so much growth in my own life through grief.  I think I have learned to be more compassionate towards others.  From my own experience one never really knows what another has gone through and this helps be to be more patient and understanding of others now.  I think I am a lot slower to judge others too as I can see my own weaknesses so much clearer now!

 

I am certainly seeing healing in my own life as I continue to face life alone and am learning to be at peace with it.  I am still in the coming to accept this life , endure it and persevere through it, but this is a good place.  In this phase I have seen me grow stronger and less fearful of trials.  I see myself using the newfound strength to press through things just like I did as I faced grief as hard as that was. 

 

I look forward to coming out of this valley and one day enjoying sharing life with another one day.  Dont know when that will occur but it finally feels good to want it and to want to live life again.

 

Thanks for sharing with us and encouraging us to be honest where we ourselves are at...

 

Pat -NMWidower

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