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.

Friday, June 03, 2011

Growing Anyway

Call me irrepressibly optimistic or call me nuts, but if I'm going to have to be widowed, I might as well try to make the best of it. In the early days, months and even years after losing a wonderful husband or wife, hurt predominates. I was there for a long, long time. But I hope that for others, as it FINALLY is for me (5 years since being widowed), there will come a time when you can find and make good in the new life you have been forced to create. I had a very happy marriage and I used to feel guilty even acknowledging that I could be happy without my husband, but the guilt is gone now and I can just be happy. It feels wonderful.

Before Ken died, I said to him, "I don't want to go through all the pain I'm going to feel when you're gone." But, I've done it. I've worked it. And now after all my hard work is done, I am finally experiencing some of the reward.

I once read a description of "the dandelion child". The description of this type of child has always inspired me. A dandelion child is a kid who thrives even in the worst of circumstances--like a dandelion that springs up through cracks in hard, barren concrete. 

I used to think it would be unbearably sad to reach a place where I could feel good again. Weird, right? Sad to be happy. Back when I couldn't imagine it, I felt like being happy again would mean that I was negating Ken, leaving him behind. And that felt, at the time, impossibly sad. Today I know that having Ken die,  losing him, losing the dream of being a husband and wife raising our two children together, will always, always, be sad. But happiness can grow out of sadness if you let it.

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Here are some good new things in my life that wouldn't be here if I hadn't been widowed:

I really and fully appreciate being healthy and I no longer consider it to be self-indulgent to exercise, go to yoga, meditate, eat good food, or get a massage. After seeing my once healthy husband suffer from cancer and cancer treatment, I completely understand that having a healthy strong body is an amazing gift and something to cherish.

I love making decisions and acting on them without having to always consult someone else. I feel more capable and powerful than I've ever felt in my life before because I have no choice but to make major and minor decisions for myself and my children all the time. It has been quite empowering for me.

I enjoy having a new man in my life who is not a husband. He has his own household and I have my own household and when we are together our time is not spent on domestic activities or chores. There is time for simply connecting and enjoying one another that isn't complicated by household tasks or shared responsibilities. Yes, we love helping one another out, but there is something to be said for time apart as well as time together, and even for time just appreciating what we are creating without necessarily knowing how it will all turn out.

I feel less fear in general. Now that I have survived one of the worst events that can happen to a person, I approach smaller obstacles with greater ease. This makes life so much more enjoyable and a lot less stressful.

I have more to give to others in wisdom, time and energy than ever before. Nothing matters more to me than my connections with others. I feel a greater desire to share what I know and to give what I can.

On the other hand, I am more comfortable being alone. I understand that loss prevails in the end, and I am learning to accept change and loss with more grace.


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Take 5 minutes to write about the good you have discovered growing from your loss. Or, if you're not  at that point yet, write about the good you imagine or hope for yourself in the future. Or, if you can't imagine ever feeling happy again, write about that.

1 comment:

Mark Wohlgenant said...

Dandelion child. I like that. Apt for you.