About Me

My wonderful husband died when I was 44 years old. Being widowed this young happens to less than 3% of married people. Writing through this loss one word at time helps me understand what I've lost and helps me continue to grow. It is how I have gradually recovered from such a severe loss. Research shows that you can benefit from taking just 15 minutes a day to write out your deepest feelings as a way of healing. On the right side of this blog, you'll see a tag for Exercises to Try. If you need some help knowing how to use writing to help heal yourself, I suggest you start there.

Thursday, August 07, 2008

Grief Meet Hope

Grief and hope try to be friends, but it isn't easy. Grief pulls back, gets scared, loses its mind in the past. Hope moves forward quickly, not even imagining all the trouble that might lie in wait up ahead. Hope is full of energy. Hope wants to branch out, try something new, get out and get going.

Grief takes a big long nap and is grateful for the quiet. Grief needs to lose weight and feels too heavy to get up and start all over again. Grief holds on tight to what is known. Grief demands an accounting of all that's been lost for fear that it will disappear altogether.

Hope says, "Fine, let it all come along for the ride. There's plenty of room. All are welcome here."

Grief wants very badly to believe that Hope can be trusted. Can they really co-exist? If they get together, will they be betraying anyone else?

Hope sings, voices echoing into the future, moving with confidence into unknown territory. Grief mutters in the background. Grief is simply exhausted and needs something to lean on.

"Lean on me", says Hope. I will always be outside your door and if you let me I will help you. It's what I'm here to do.

Grief rests her head on the pillow and pulls the covers up under her chin. She closes her eyes, invigorated by the darkness. She could stay here forever imagining how it used to be, how it could have been, how everything is alien now.

Hope sits on the screened front porch basking in the filtered warm sun, holding a cup of tea. Grief lumbers in, squints uncomfortably in the light. but takes a seat anyway.

"This feels like a good beginning for us," says Grief.

"No hurry," says Hope. "We can get up whenever you're ready to go."

Sunday, June 15, 2008

Another Father's Day Goes By

I'd say this Father's Day felt a lot better than the last two we spent without Ken. I didn't feel the need to engineer the perfect day designed to both honor Ken and minimize our own awkward or despairing feelings. I didn't do anything to distract us from the subject at hand: father's day without a father. I let the day be.

We went to the pool with friends. Invited Ken's parents over for a really nice dinner. And we decided we would try to behave as Ken almost always did...by being calm and understanding at all times. I'm not sure we succeeded in that, but what was I thinking? Ken's understanding, calm nature was to my mind what set him apart. He was dazzlingly calm. Blow me away calm. Impossibly calm. How could anyone replicate that? But somehow we were happy today. Progress has been made.

Two and a half years after Ken's death, I still live with his loss every day. It continues to define me. And it continues to shape me and change me into someone new, someone I wasn't before he left. I don't know myself as well anymore. So I've learned by living it that a loss this big somehow rearranges your whole sense of self and of the world. What I feel most often now is how everything is different, different than it was before. And I am different too. Atomically blown apart and rearranged and still settling.

I now know that Ken is gone. I believe it. And it's taken me this long.

Natalie said a few days ago: "I can't believe it's only been 2 and a half years. It feels like forever." And Alec said today, "I can't imagine what it would be like to have two parents."

Funny enough, I can take these sad statements and see them as positive. The kids are adjusting. They are resettling too.

We've survived another Father's Day.

We've survived. Period.

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Poems of Partial Understanding

I STILL (love you)

CAN'T (don't want to)

BELIEVE (the truth)

YOU ARE (still here)

GONE. (forever)


DEATH (sucks)

ISN'T (fair)

ONLY (lonely)

AN ENDING. (finito!)

IT'S (metamorphic)

THE BEGINNING (not again!!)



COMPLETELY (lacking)

DIFFERENT (not at all the same)

Sunday, March 23, 2008

What I Am

I am alone.
I am afraid to be alone.
I am OK alone.
I am one.
I am lonely.
I am incomplete.
I am without.
I am.
I am at wits end.
I am just at the beginning.
I am optimistic.
I am pessimistic.
I am lonely.
I am alone.
I am not alone.
I am.
I am lucky.
I am unlucky.
I am fortunate.
I am unfortunate.
I am nervous.
I am stable.
I am healthy.
I am in waiting.
I am alive.
I am friendly.
I am funny.
I am social.
I am a mother.
I am a daughter-in-law.
I am a sister.
I am a friend.
I am an aunt.
I am 46 years old.
I am a widow.
I am a writer.
I am relaxed.
I am responsible.
I am not working.
I am fit.
I am strong.
I am looking.
I am a woman.
I am missing you still.
I am here.
I am a human being.
I am one who has lost.
I am sad.
I am happy, but not as happy as I once was.
I am still grieving.
I am always going to miss you.
I am never going to be the same.
I am a different person now.
I am sorry you had to go so soon.
I am still here.
I am trying to be content.