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To all the Widows I Never Understood Before

(No it’s not a Willie Nelson song)

I don’t think I understood the struggles of widows until now. I never understood it when someone said, “I don’t know how to live without him.” My judgmental mind seemed to think that this was a person that lacked independence.  Did they not know how to pay the bills, or cook, or whatever, without their spouse?  But this was before. And I apologize, right now, for thinking that about anyone.

Now, I know exactly what it means. It isn’t about paying the bills, or fixing the car, or any of those mundane things.  How do I live in this world without the love of my life? That isn’t an abstract question. Not anymore.  My life changed forever two months ago. A huge part of me is gone. I am no longer a whole person. And the way I look at the world is forever altered.  The world is dark and joyless. All the color and the spark that Alan gave to my life is gone.  I don’t know how to live this way. I find myself saying, “I don’t know how to live without him.” Only now I know too well what that means.

It means that I don’t know how to be happy or look forward in life any more. It means that even though I may look like I’m doing well, I’m faking it and I am only seeing the world in black and white. I’m wandering through life now without much purpose except taking care of my kids. It’s not the way I’m used to living.  But there’s no getting around it, and I will have to get used to it.

So I apologize for not understanding. I know now. But I wish I didn’t.

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Comment by Hope on November 28, 2016 at 1:18pm

I so understand. I was the same way. I never gave it much thought. I hope that you will find some peace as you move through these difficult months. For me its been 16 months and it is still an uphill battle to face the day each morning. It takes hope and courage everyday. God bless you

Comment by Widow_erDad on November 24, 2016 at 5:05pm
I wrote my own version of this post 5 1/2 years ago. Two months ago. Wow. This is a good place. It is a roller coaster for a while. It is hard to envision it getting better but over time it gets less hard. Holidays challenge me particularly now that my kids are grown. Friends don't understand. I'm ok with that. I don't want them to know this feeling. Take life in small bites. Be kind to yourself. There are no rules to this. You don't need approval from anyone. It is a matter of emotional survival right now. People who would judge may mean well but they truly have no clue unless they've experienced it. You can vent here. Connect here. Question the meaning of it all here. And find your footing as time goes on. This quote from Anne LaMotte helped me tremendously. Hope begins in the dark, the stubborn hope that if you just show up and try to do the right thing, the dawn will come. You wait and watch and work: You don't give up.

- Anne Lamott

Be well.
Comment by RogueFour on November 22, 2016 at 4:23pm

Sherry, I completely agree. Although I'm at a loss with a couple of things because he handled it and I am trying to figure out HOW he did it, it has nothing to do with whether I can be alone, or whether I was too dependent. It's a gray world with no happiness because my partner is gone. I can't randomly text him to tell him something funny; can't complain about work. Can't give him tons of kisses. I don't know how to live without him either. Two months for you, two weeks for you. We can do it together somehow with everyone else here.

I called an old college friend who lost her husband in 2012. She said "I'm so sorry for the next year of your life. I have no words and it's going to be so hard." But she gave me hope that it gets better. I hang on to that.

Comment by lonelyinaz on November 19, 2016 at 6:53pm

Hang in there Sherry, you are much stronger than you know.  One day at about month 6, a grief counselor pointed out to me that when we marry, if we don't divorce, we will always have a 50/50 chance that one of us will pass without the other!!  Never really thought of that before.  Can't say it did much for me at that time, but later it began to sink in.  Shit what the hell were we thinking?  The grief was going to come for one of us, and now I'm glad it was me (well, not all the time anyway).  I think the plan (whatever plan before we arrive here) is in place.  And, in my wonderful married life (up and down like and everyone) I was the stronger one.  Take Care Friend

Comment by Austin on November 19, 2016 at 4:56pm

Sherry you are not the only who thought the person was too dependent on someone else.  I never liked those words.

I am at 4 months and I feel a lot like what you feel.  I feel like I am going through the motions and everything is grey.

One of my husbands friend told me I use to have blue and green aura and now it is no longer. I didn't ask what color it is now.

Love the picture of the cracked heart with the bandage on it.

Please do something nice for yourself for you matter.

Austin (Diane)

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