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

You know, I thought I was over dreading upcoming anniversaries. Maybe I’m being naïve, but I thought by now that I would have a better handle on myself. Yet I feel this soft gnawing in my stomach…a pit opening before me.

Rick will be gone for three years on the 23rd of this month…and today is the 1st

Twenty-one days to dread the arrival of the 23rd

Days to think back on a September three years ago…

To dip my emotional toes back into those waters…black, deep waters…

To float in that blackness…aching all over…inside and out…

 

Or NOT!

 

What about…

Twenty-one days to gather flowers instead?

Beautiful blue/green…like his eyes…

Fresh, apricot-colored roses…one of his favorites.

Maybe little pink daisies and white Queen Anne’s Lace to fill the gaps between.

Deep green leaves that make the blossoms pop!

A beautiful rolling lawn to walk on my way to brighten up his space…he would like that.

A soft brush to clean off our marker with his beautiful face etched in it…grinning up at me.

The sun shining over my head…as bright as his smile...as warm as his hugs.

Twenty-one days to appreciate 32 years with the kindest man I ever knew…

A man who loved me with all his heart…and to marvel at how few I’ve known who can say that.

Twenty-one days to hug the children we made together…who tell everyone that they had the best father in the whole, wide world…and still do.

To laugh with them about all the silly things Daddy did.

Twenty-one days of wonder ahead…

Days to remember the best marriage any woman could have hoped for…

Days I will spend throwing dread in the trash where it belongs, and saying a prayer of thanks for the days I have been given to be with my children…

To help those around me…

To learn, to love…

To wonder at the amazing world God created.

Twenty-one days of GRATITUDE!

Oh, yes…that is much better.

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Comment by chef (John) on September 17, 2016 at 4:15am

You're doing quite well. Congratulations!

Comment by lizbeth4 on September 16, 2016 at 1:03pm

Hi.  I am at the 3 1/2 year mark since my Husbands death.  It wasn't sudden but we had 2 months from prognosis to his death.   I think I am doing better but I still have moments of loneliness and sadness.  I have made a lot of changes in my life.  All for the good!   I don't live in fear or uncertainty like I did in the beginning.  But it is still very hard without him.   I knew the day he passed that my life would never be the same.  I try to find something to be grateful for everyday or I would probably lose my mind.

Comment by Nieta on September 6, 2016 at 3:37pm

Comment by smit09 on September 6, 2016 at 10:43am

YOU are amazing,  this post is amazing.  KEEP on feeling this gratitude.  amazing.... thank you,  I needed to read this.  I NEED to shift my way of thinking...it's funny, as life goes on, our grief changes form and shape...and every once and again, even after 5 years, I still choose to float in those dark waters....although, sometimes it feels as though I'm drowning in them.  

gratitude. oh yes.  the water gets much more clear, doesn't it? and much more comfortable to tread. :)

Comment by SweetMelissa2007 on September 4, 2016 at 11:02am

(((HUGS)))  

Just a few more to go ...

The important info I found to remember about grief is we are all programmed to experience it for a great length of time; it cannot be controlled or be dispelled w/mind over matter. It ends when it's time. An acceptance of grief & an understanding of what it provides were a great help in calming my expectations to prevent being hard on myself. Life and death are monumental experiences.

At 9 years out, my mind, body & soul are no longer automatically activated by grief to recall anniversaries. I remember by the marks I've made on the calender as well as being aware of what month it is. At some point, it happens to everyone toward & at the end of grief. It becomes similar to kicking yourself when remembering a physically present family member's b-day on the day of or the day after or later. Family & friends forget until they are reminded. Then there's the question of what to do if nothing has been planned.

This is what comes when a sense of peace is developed ...

Comment by Hornet (Cindy) on September 2, 2016 at 9:22am

Yes, Laura. Both kinds of thoughts exist in me at all times as well. Dread and anticipation. Rick died suddenly too. We went to bed one evening, and I found him gone the next morning. He had health problems, but none that we expected to take him away so suddenly. I was completely floored.

I walk around at all times with my 'hole', my 'wound'. It is as much a part of me as my arm or leg now. My heart is always tender when I think of Rick...every single day...and sadness is a part of it. Sadness because he is not here...and never will be again.

But three years later, I find the battles I wage with dread I win more than lose. I can dwell on the blackness of that morning three years ago and lay in bed (which I have done plenty of), or I can focus on the present and being grateful for all that I had with Rick and still have (which I am doing more and more of).

After all, I cannot change what happened three years ago, but I can choose gratitude over dread. I can pick flowers instead of laying in bed. No doubt, the days I have left on this earth will be brighter if I do...and I know my children will be better for it as well.

It sounds like you are like me in that we had a lot to be thankful for. Others are not so fortunate, I know. But since I cannot change the past, I must change my present and what future is given to me. I wish you all the best.

Comment by laurajay on September 1, 2016 at 9:43pm

I passed the 4 yr mark this past Mar 30.  I think a little bit of both actions/thoughts you mentioned  is the most realistic. My husband died suddenly and unexpectedly  and like Black Magic he was here and then gone....I believe I will always think on the suddenness of his death because before him....I never knew anyone who died -just died.  Usually it's old age,  or sickness, accident or murder/suicide...but  sometimes people have none of those th ings happen and they still die- so I know there  will always be mystery that  I will think on from time to time until the end of my life comes while remaining grateful for life in the here and now.

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