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The Transmutation of a widow: emotional metamorphosis

I've read many articles, books, and post about grief coming in layers, like that of an onion.  I've read about how grief changes a person.  So, I say to myself okay bring it on.  I imagined the metamorphosis to gently take place like that of a graceful butterfly emerging from its cocoon.  It was a lovely visualization I had, the changes within would come on softly, over time without me even realizing changes were taking place.  I'd wake up one day and be a whole person again.  Looking forward to a new me, I'd be delightful, charming, self-assured, and capable (pretty much everything I am NOT at the moment) OOOOH YEAH bring that on sistah!  

While I'm still looking forward to the day I feel whole again, no one told me it wouldn't be gentle or graceful.  I'm sure the changes are different for everyone, I'm also sure there are widows who somehow get stuck in one stage or the other.  Perhaps that is why I wasn't warned.  I've been researching and wracking my brain trying to find a visual, concrete example of how this it feels.  The best example I can find is of a butterfly.  But why? Why I asked myself is this metamorphosis so difficult for me and not that dang butterfly.  So, I did more research, and found out the struggle is indeed real for a butterfly too, not only that but it's a necessity to build strength.  Just like with grief, it does build strength and character.  As of late, I've entered into a new stage it seems and have been feeling quite stuck and unhappy.    Of course, true to my character, I wallow and contemplate.  Then I make a move, often times the wrong one.  It's okay, I allow myself mistakes, I've always learned through trial and error.  Then I write.  While researching what I wanted to say I found an article that helped me understand why I felt like a butterfly.  It's perfect so I just had to share it verbatim.  The following is copied from HERE:

  •  Larvae: Uncertain of who you are or how you got to where you are

 

  •  Caterpillar: Inching to grasp more from life; wondering if there is a light at the end of the tunnel; slowly getting by; struggling with low self-esteem and a desire for patience

 

  •  Chrysalis: Drawing inward; focusing on yourself; trying to identify which areas of your life you have control over and can improve; feeling stuck as you isolate yourself into depression and confusion regarding how to emerge

 

  •  Wounded Butterfly: Fearful of flying; confused about what to do or where to go; nursing a wounded wing from past hurt; hoping to fly again to rediscover lost freedom and peace     


My hope is somehow what I've found will help another new widow sistah (or brothah) along their way as it's helped me.  As grief and my pals here at WV have taught me.  It's okay to be where you are,  recognize the struggle is real (you are not alone), but hold on to the fact that there is meaning in it.  

"In this world there’s a whole lot of cold
In this world there’s a whole lot of blame
In this world you’ve a soul for a compass,
And a heart for a pair of wings
There’s a star on the far horizon,
Rising bright in an azure sky
For the rest of the time that you’re given,
Why walk when you can fly?" Mary Chapin Carpenter 





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Comment by MartyG (ver. 2.2) on July 24, 2018 at 4:19pm

As always, Misty...very well written!! Thank you.

Comment by Rainy (Misty) on July 11, 2018 at 3:02am

@Phyllis, I've come to the conclusion that I am OK.  I hate that Jerry is gone.  I miss him terribly every single day, but I am OK.   I'll miss him, always no matter what kind of turn my life takes.  Personally, I've just come to except that I'll always hate that he was taken from me to soon, I'll always miss him and I'll always love him.  I think it's all normal, and it's okay to be okay and still feel like that.

@Marty, Thanks.  

@Althena, I love the "launch" reference.  

Comment by MartyG (ver. 2.2) on July 10, 2018 at 2:11pm

Misty....WV would not be what it is w/o you. You "da man!!"   Thank you.....

Comment by Athena53 on July 10, 2018 at 4:27am

Phyllis, I love the reference to adolescence!  You know you have to "launch" eventually unless you want to spend the rest of your life living with Mom and Dad, but you're not yet equipped to go forward.  I remember feeling that way a little later, my last summer at home before my senior year in college, knowing I wouldn't be living there in a year, I didn't WANT to be living there in a year (really did want to be independent), but not knowing where I'd be.  It all worked out (found a good job in the city where I'd gone to college) but it was scary in the meantime.

For some of us, it takes longer than we'd like.

Comment by Phyllis on July 10, 2018 at 3:53am

 I remember my first grief session after Don died. He has been gone six years next month, and I went to this meeting only two months after he had died. We went around the room telling our stories and the last gentleman said that his wife had been gone 18 months and he was just not able  to go on and was hoping that this grief session would help. I remember thinking, 18 months? I’m going to be OK in 18 months. Silly me.  Little did I know that after almost 6 years I don’t feel like I have made the progress that I should.   That’s on some days. On other days I think I’m doing pretty darn good. It’s kind of like being in adolescence again. I just don’t know who I am. But I just take it day to day, accept my life, cry a little, and go on.  I read somewhere in one of these comments that the writer was eight years out. I was away from this website for a long time, thinking I should’ve been past looking at this every day, but I’m back now feeling better knowing that there are others like me, a widow with experience still looking for comfort, validation, and understanding. 

Comment by Rainy (Misty) on July 9, 2018 at 1:26pm

Thank you Janet and Shelly.  I'm still plugging away...only for now, I'm taking two steps forward and only 1/2 step back!  

Comment by Morgana (Janet) on July 9, 2018 at 12:07pm

Well said Misty. Yes it is similar to a butterfly. We we discover who we are as grow and learn on this journey. 

Comment by shellybean on July 8, 2018 at 6:34pm

Beautifully written, Misty.

Another way I've thought about the butterfly transformation... When in its chrysalis, it literally turns to goo and gets all rearranged into a butterfly. Then the butterfly has to struggle and fight to break free of the chrysalis. If it doesn't struggle and fight, it will never fly. I'm struggling. I'm fighting. I'll fly.

Comment by Rainy (Misty) on July 8, 2018 at 1:55pm

Thank you Rockon, Wow, you actually made me smile a real smile!  

Comment by Rockon on July 8, 2018 at 1:33pm

AWESOME Misty! Thank you for sharing this! The light at the end of the tunnel comes from Above! I am 8 years, 2 months and 20 days into my journey. My Richard was 24 years older than me. We were together over 30 years and married 14 years. He was 2 months shy of 80 and I was 55 when he passed. Keep on "Bringing It On" sistah! Rest assured my "Freebird" (Richard) and your "Freebird" (Jerry) are Soaring Together watching over You and I. Blessings and Peace Be With You! 

Debra

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