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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."

We widows tend to put our spouses on pedestals. And why not. There’s nothing to be gained by cataloging the things that used to annoy us when our husbands were alive. It would only make us feel petty or ashamed to remember the hissy-fits we had over things like a forgotten anniversary, tracking snow in the house and toothpaste caps that didn’t get put back on. When our husbands were alive, most of us never would have acknowledged there could come a day when we’d give anything to have one of those little annoyances back in our lives. Not us! Widowhood happens to other people. We were going to live happily ever after. We had our heads in the sand.

But it didn’t happen to someone else. It happened to me. I had no special immunity that protected me from the widowhood word. My imperfect spouse died and my memory of our time together on earth became like a watercolor painting that blurs the details and brings the focal point to the foreground to stay frozen for all eternity. But I remember the details. I touch them on my watercolor painting like I’m reading Braille. Those quiet conversations in the night, the smiles that could light my soul on fire, the scent of his after shave, and the shoulder I leaned on when times were hard. I remember in a watercolor hazy way our whole lives together and I mourn what was and what still could have been.
It’s hard to be alone when you’re used to being half of a whole. It’s hard to think of the future when your arms ache from hugging emptiness and you have so many unspoken words bottled up inside. It’s hard to face the long days and nights. And yet there are many times when I feel his presence still around me, telling me I can do this, telling me I will never be truly alone or have thoughts he doesn’t hear. Maybe it’s because I knew my husband so well that I’m imaging I can hear his voice in my ear. Or maybe I’m just turning into a crazy old lady who wants to believe a ghost is living in the house. A ghost who, in my head, is highly amused that I now picture him not old like he was when he died but young and healthy and ready to slay any dragons that cross my path. A crazy old lady and a knight in shinning armor in love. What’s so funny about that? I tell him. It’s my watercolor memory. I’ll paint it anyway I want.
In the quiet of the night, if I’m totally honest with myself, I know I will eventually come to terms with widowhood and moving forward. I can’t dwell forever in the land of dark and ugly grief. Well, I could but what would that prove? Prolonging grief beyond its nature expiration date won’t honor what my husband and I had together. And the love we shared demands that I must honor him. If I were from another time and place I’d have to throw myself on a knife and die to honor him. But my husband would laugh at that antiquated, drama queen idea and tell me to carve out a new life for myself. “Live, love, laugh and be happy,” he’d sing in my ear. Did I ever tell you my husband had a rich, deep voice like a country western legend?
He’d also tell me I have one year---one year from the day he died before he’d come back and start kicking ass if I haven’t taken enough steps toward finding a future of peace and acceptance. Death wouldn’t have changed my perfect, imperfect spouse’s values and that’s how I know that his ghost wants to see joy and happiness back in my life---sooner rather than later. He was my biggest fan, was always proud of me, and that is the focal point in my watercolor painting that will be frozen in place for all eternity. So I will do the mental work it takes to get me through to the other side of grief. The bottom line is we widows should accept no less for ourselves than what our spouses would want for us, if they still had a voice in our futures. ©
My full blog is here.

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Comment by hendrixx2 on November 12, 2012 at 2:48pm

Hi Snow,

Thank you so much for this touching declaration of the positive, I'm with you, we will come out the other side of grief, and yes, we know our partners expect no less from us...Peace

Comment by Blue Snow on November 12, 2012 at 2:23pm

Thank you all for your comments, for understanding what I wrote, and for the hugs. How could we live without hugs, even the virtual kind....

Comment by bj628(Bonnie) on November 12, 2012 at 8:02am

(((((((((((((((Blue Snow)))))))))))  I too miss the little things, the sweet things he did and the little imperfections.

 What I would give now, to find tooth paste on the mirror, underwear on the floor. things left in pants pockets before laundry. The little inside jokes.  Like you  I know he would kick butt if I didn't enjoy life and things we did together. Doing things in his memory..filling the bird feeders.. he loved feeding and watching them.

So I am working on re-joining life learning little by little. (((((((((((((((((Blue Snow)))))))))))

Comment by Lori on November 11, 2012 at 6:47pm

Blue snow it's like you've been inside my head, maybe our husbands are ganging up on us.  to living!  blessings

Comment by smit09 on November 11, 2012 at 6:47pm

you made me cry.

I've been missing my husband lately.

everything you said, its all true. I feel it too.  And I have solace in knowing that the 'ghost of my husband' won't have to kick my ass...i've made many steps. The other day, I was in the grocery parking lot and this woman (who worked with my husband---so clearly knows that I AM A WIDOW) starts complaining TO ME about her husband!!! "mike won't do this, and mike won't do that" cursing included in her rant!! I was beside myself. 'hello lady, isn't it nice to have a husband to complain about?" but then again, remember being the woman before the widow.  I'd love to be able to complain about the little things again, I'd remind myself how much those things were AWESOME. lol.

thanks for your post! 

Comment by kathy_rich on November 11, 2012 at 5:51pm

That was very beautiful and well said!

Comment by Blue Snow on November 11, 2012 at 4:13pm

Lauralee, your 'love journal' is a wonderful idea. I, too, worry about forgetting so many of the things that made our relationship unique. Writing really helps........

Comment by Lauralee on November 11, 2012 at 12:46pm

Very well said and so so true.  I loved my husband dearly and certainly the good in our relationship outweighed everything, even his faults, even the secrets discovered after his death and even though his family is trying everything in their power to make me bitter and resentful.  As my legal battle with his adult children winds down (fingers crossed) and the months continue to pass, I don't think it is really necessary to remember those faults, but I do worry that I might forget some of the special things about our marriage and relationship.  To that end, I started to keep what I call  a love journal - jotting down all that I can remember that was special about our relationship so I can keep all of those memories forever.  That way, at any point in the future, I can look in that journal and cherish those memories.  We can still put our spouses on that pedestal if we want to - after all, most of them held us up on that pedestal as well.

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