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.

Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Widow Birthday #5; Regular Birthday #49

My birthday was Monday, the fifth birthday I've had as a widow. Birthdays, anniversaries, holidays, milestones of all kinds present opportunities to check out what kind of progress I'm making on the path through grief.

This was the first birthday I've had since Ken died where I feel more good than bad, more happiness than pain, more deep appreciation for my life than that feeling that what is missing is so vital to my being that without it my life is less.

Sitting out on the deck in my backyard on a beautiful June evening, the wind presented a sweet, warm and active breeze. My birthday candle, immersed in a gorgeous homemade chocolate cake made by my daughter and her friend, flickered wildly.

"Ken," I thought to myself. "Is that you? Do you want to blow this out with me?"

But the wind died down, the flame straightened, and I blew it out on my own.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Writing Works. Writing Heals.

Whether you practice the following disciplines or not, we all know that activities like aerobic exercise, meditation, and yoga are good for us. Maybe you run daily, or maybe once in a while. Maybe you meditate on a regular basis, or perhaps just when you feel really extra stressed out. Maybe you have a daily yoga practice, or perhaps you just get into the downward dog on occasion, or stretch before bed. All of these practices are healthy. They contribute to wellness. You don't have to be a championship runner to run. You don't have to be a monk to meditate. Likewise, you don't have to be a professional writer to write.

Writing can be one of the tools in your toolbox for building a better life. For me, writing is a way to transcend loss. To find meaning in my life. To open a path that wasn't always cleared. It helps me make sense of who I am now and where I am heading.

Reading back through my latest journal, I found the following entry from late March 2010. It shows me how far I've come in relation to the profound loss of losing Ken. (My husband had been dead then for four years and two months. I have been writing about this loss for years now, including writing about his sickness for years before that.)

This piece of writing shows me that I am on a precipice of something new. I am moving to a different phase of the grieving process. I am recovering. I am feeling better. I am changing.

Here's the entry:

What the loss of you feels like today:

It feels old and tired, on it's last legs, out of breath, sagging, ancient, exhausted.

It feels boring, a waste of time, a weight on my shoulders.

It feels like a broken record going round and round on an old stereo, in an empty room, with the door locked and there is no key.

It is colorless, soundless, weightless, invisible, powerless.

It has been done before, overdone, redone, reworked.

It feels like ancient history brought to my door here in the present.

It feels unescapable, unshareable, unspeakable, boring.

It feels like a hangover.

It feels like something I need to shake off, shrug off, lose, get rid of, eliminate.

It feels like a curse.

It feels like a blanket wrapped around my face.

It feels like a path to another world, another life, a way out, an exit, a prompt, a stimulus plan, an inspiration, a wake up call.

It is palpable.

It is a work of art.

It is the most significant event that has ever happened to me.


Ask yourself: How does my loss feel today? Ask the same question in six months, in a year, in two years.

Ask yourself now, and find out the answers by writing them down.