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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."

Last night I came to a realization , an epiphany if you will about who I have become. I am more than four and a half years now on this grief's journey which is enough time to make such a discovery. I now understand who I am and how I shall be for the rest of my days. I read a post about triggers inside our homes and one persons need to remove them replacing old with new. I began thinking about the changes I had made in my own home and as I was sitting looking around, I realized I hadn't had a trigger moment there for quite some time. Even with changes I have made my home is still filled with Kathy's memory in the furniture, décor, tableware, family pictures and the like yet it has been years since they have caused a sad moment. The more I thought about it, the more I realized that my trigger moments were happening when I was away from home. When I travel, shop, eat out, and yes even at work I have moments when sorrow creeps in. It's not the object. It's not the smell, sound, or taste that does it. It is just simply her memory. That memory enters my thoughts so many times during my day. Every night when I go to bed I think about how much I love her and it's the first thought as I wake. I understood that it has been that way ever since that first night. I know now that it will be that way for the rest of my life and that isn't such a bad thing.

What I understand now is that this is who I am. I know beyond any doubt that I shall live this way functioning quite well as I explore life. I shall be a bit lonely for certain but that is my choice to not have another relationship. This new me which is called widowed will function in society, pay his taxes, and seem outwardly okay. I will however still have those sad moments and find sanctuary when I get home for there I can let it out and not puzzle those who "don't get it:. I will travel, enjoy my sons and grandchildren, dine with friends and often alone. This is who I understand that I have become and always shall be. I am so very okay with that and so very aware that I am nothing like I was before she left.

After enough time don't we develop a good understanding of who we are? For me last night was the moment............my moment.

I am simply put just Steve, not Steve and Kathy.

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Comment by Dianne in Nevada on January 17, 2018 at 4:02pm

Wish there was a "love" button to click on your last post, Steve. Thank you.

Comment by katpilot on January 17, 2018 at 11:47am

I am thinking that "just Dianne" is who Vern fell in love with. Of course you are and that is what makes it so cool. It was only when I realized and accepted that I was just Steve that I could go back to being the man who Kathy fell in love with. She never knew me as a grieving person with sorrow in my heart and tears in my eyes. Am I still grieving? You bet I am and I will for the rest of my days but I am not destroyed by it. I would like to think that she is happier being near me and inside me when I live like the man she loved on earth.  If you love someone as deeply as I do you can never stop missing them. So what do I do?  I find a way to carry on with her memory as a testament to the beautiful human angel that I was lucky enough to know. In her memory I will live life as best I can for to waste it would be so sad for her. Life is short she used to say. We can't afford to waste it. One day when I am done I shall find her again and wow what a foursome we shall be in our soul group.

Comment by katpilot on January 17, 2018 at 11:46am

Yes "just Dianne" is who Vern fell in love with.  That is what it all means to let go.

You truly do "get it".I know that letting go is a description of moving through sorrow to the point where you start to remember who you are. You remember who you were and you take your life and start living it once more. We never stop loving them and we never truly stop grieving for we miss them still. We always will. Kathy always said that life is short. In her case how short it was but she also said that we should live life as good as we can for it is a gift and you don't throw a gift back at the cosmos saying "thanks anyway". I didn't realize that that simple truth was her legacy. I owe her too much to do that any longer. 

Should we marry again or find some other path we honor them by living for life's sake not death's sake. 

Comment by Dianne in Nevada on January 17, 2018 at 10:53am

Your words are beautiful, Steve. Back when you first posted this in 2015 and last Friday when you shared about your new life. 

I remember wondering how "just Dianne" could ever be worth knowing since "Vern & Dianne" had been my cherished identity for 41 years. I eventually grew to like "just Dianne", after doing a lot of seeking and learning and traveling and giving, and acknowledging that I am who I am - even as "just Dianne" - because he loved me. You are a lucky man, Steve, and if I am to ever have another relationship I want what you and Patty have - one that includes your first loves.

Comment by Rainy (Misty) on January 13, 2018 at 1:57pm

Much peace and happiness to you and your new wife.  

Comment by katpilot on January 12, 2018 at 8:14am

What I should ad to my blog is that while I may be "just Steve" Kathy will live inside me for all of time. It took me four years to arrive at this understanding and now at eight years I am married again. Within this marriage to another widowed soul I still have Kathy in my heart. That will never end and my bride has the same feelings for her lost husband. We allow each other this and that love we have for them is a joy we can share. We speak often about her husband Ron and Kathy and what they know now and how they brought us together.

I am so sorry for the reason you have found your way here Rainy. Your journey is an adventure. I call it an adventure for even though it is filled with sorrow, even to the point that you will be in despair much of the time but one day you will find that you smile more than you cry. One day you will find yourself still standing even if you can't imagine how you got there. 

The name katpilot came from my being a pilot and Kat was my brides nickname so I became her pilot on many adventures we had. I have been a commercial pilot for nearly fifty years now and soon I will hang it up yet I beam with pride as my oldest son flies me around when I go back east to visit. I am glad you get to know that same joy and pride.

Comment by Rainy (Misty) on January 12, 2018 at 6:08am

Hi, I just wanted to say this post spoke to me.  I am struggling with my identity at the moment.  I'm only 25 days "out" as you all say.  Who knew that would even be a thing?  You're words on the post resonate a peace I hope I'll find someday.  

On a side note...your name caught my eye.  My son is a pilot too.  Well one day he will be professionally.  I gotta take a moment to brag on him.  He solo'ed in 5hrs!!  He is currently a Jr in the University of North Dakota in the commercial aviation program.  :)  Sorry for the off subject brag but, I am a MOM!   

Anyway, thank you for sharing your thoughts and spreading hope.

Comment by Callie2 on October 18, 2015 at 11:53am
Deb,
Anxiety along with the lack of self confidence were two things I never expected! It does seem to take a while for them to run it's course though I still feel a little every now and again after almost seven years!
Comment by Deborah B on October 18, 2015 at 10:15am

I completely understand.  Christmastime will be two years since my husband passed into Eternity.  I also would get severe anxiety outside of my little home, even though it is the little townhouse we moved to when he was diagnosed terminal and we sold our home where we raised our children.  His pictures are on every wall and they bring me great comfort.  Just a few weeks ago I was finally able to spend the night at my son's home without panic.  I have come to understand that although I am highly functional at my teaching career, when I leave school, I shut down, and perhaps I will always be this way.  I am the walking wounded.  Incomplete.  I am so grateful that he chose me every day for 35 years.  I told him before he left that I would be okay, but that I would never get over him.  I don't even want, and people who have not experienced this kind of loss do not understand. I am in the depths of my human experience.  This is my life now.  Who I am is a woman without her man.

Comment by Hornet (Cindy) on October 18, 2015 at 6:08am

This is so well written, Steve. And it hits home on a very deep level.

I am still fighting with myself...after 2 years...to be Cindy. Just Cindy. I underestimated...by a loooong shot...who I really was. A person so connected with my spouse, that much of HIM became me. I am reminded of the scripture that tells us, "And the two shall become one." In a solid marriage, it is really true. The two DO become one. One becomes half of the other. And you don't realize how true it is until it is yanked away and you must walk through life as a solitary soul...not in tandem any longer.

Your words give me hope. They give me the feeling that I will get where you are...eventually. I am trying very hard to get there...I just couldn't name that place until I read this post.

I, too, choose not to enter into another relationship. But I will struggle to accept that idea...of being just Cindy...for a while longer, I suppose. I haven't arrived yet. 

But I will get there. I will get back to Cindy.

Thank you for this. Thank you.

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