It seems like we have instructions for everything. Instructions for putting things together like bicycles, grills, using hand tools, coffee pots, microwaves, washers, dryers, lawn mowers, downloading and installing software. I have found that LIFE does not come with a set of instructions nor does this journey through widowhood.
We just muddle our way through the journey of widowhood stumbling along the way, falling down, getting back up with some scrapes and bruises along the way. We search out support sites or grounds, find and read the books on grief, grieving, loss and healing that we can find and those recommended by friends. They are only books though written by people from their own perspective of what their widowhood journey is like. The similarities are the same but we soon discover that each journey is unique for each of us as we wonder along this path turning right, maybe a left turn here, going backwards, moving forwards only to go backwards again and wondering if we will ever see the light at the end of the tunnel.
I have this to be a very exhausting journey that takes a toll on us not only physically but on our nerves, emotions, it stresses us beyond belief, turns our hair gray or grayer and changes us forever in ways we never knew or wanted. It tests our courage, our strength, our trust in people, our faith and our spirituality. We widows/ers refer to it as the "New Normal" because the normal we once knew no longer exist and is gone forever.
We move from the numb and fog to the realization that this is our life, our "New Normal", now and go WTF happened. We ask "What happened? ... Where do I go? ... How do I cope? ... What lies ahead on this gut wrenching journey? So many questions and so few answers. We just continue to muddle through and we hope and pray at some point we will come to the end of this journey...but we discover there is no end to the journey. We just learn to live with the “it is what it is and it was what it was”.
Maybe LIFE isn't mean to come with a set of instructions. Maybe it is that LIFE is the teacher and we are the students learning new ways to live, new experiences, learning to deal with the road blocks along the way, taking detours but always finding our way back, learning "The Widow Dance" as Susan so aptly called it in her blog. We don't get lost on this journey but we are creating new excursions as we wander along hoping to reach our destination in life...whatever that maybe. We gain new way of learning to live, dealing with what has been given us, finding our own way through grief, making new friends, reflecting on the past and wondering about the future.
I have said and have other others make the same comment “I would not wish this on my worst enemy”. Getting through grief is tiring not only physically but it is mentally exhausting too. It doesn’t define us but it does help to shape us as we discover who we are now as one instead of the whole we were. Reflecting on the past and discovering who we are now instead of who we were; finding a strength we never knew we had; solving problems and making decisions without our partner to help us; learning to put us first in the grief process which is foreign ground for us. But we do keep moving forward if only one baby step at a time. We learn that we can and do survive.
Some as we have will eventually find their way here to Widowed Village. We find people who get it, understand and are willing to listen, become friends and our family, who accept us for who and what we are, we learn that it is okay to disagree and that some days cyber hugs are the next best thing to a real hug. We give of our time and our compassion to help others but we also take away a better understanding of who we are.
Thanks to all the wonderful people here who make life just a little easier for all of us on this journey. Thanks to Michele for creating Soaring Spirits and Supa Dupa for Widowed Village, a place to come to when we are down, a place to laugh and cry, to find hope and give us the courage to continue to move forward.