I was reading a post recently of a fellow widow and it broke my heart. It broke my heart for her and her child and it broke my heart for my own children.

It is a fact that often when someone loses a spouse, they lose many people that were in their life pre-loss. I’ve written about this before and given my thoughts and perspectives as to why this might happen. But, quite honestly, it is just plain sad.

This woman made a post on her personal FB page stating that she was tired of people disappointing her child. Now, normally we save that sort of thing for our widow support groups where we can freely talk about things with people who truly understand. She was brave enough to just come out and say it. GOOD. FOR. HER.

People should know that their actions (or lack thereof) have real and…

View original post 62 more words

Advertisements

Letting Go 2.0

On this day 6 years ago, I had no idea that in one short week, my our lives would be forever changed. In an instant.

Some days it feels like yesterday while other days it seems like it’s been an entire lifetime since I’ve seen you.

So much has happened.

You’ve missed so much.

What I’m finally realizing?

I’VE MISSED SO MUCH

The majority of the last 6 years has been spent going through the motions, getting by each day, surviving. We have come so very far, but the fact still remains that I haven’t been able to truly live.

Why haven’t I been able to live?

I haven’t been able to let go.

I wrote a post about this very thing nearly a year ago (click Letting Go to read that post) and I have done done what I said I was going to do. I said I was…

View original post 149 more words

Feeling Guilty For Grieving

Did you know that the majority of people who have lost a loved one are made to feel guilty about their grief?

Did you know that someone grieving often isolates themselves, disconnects from people, because they feel misunderstood?

Unfortunately, a loved one left behind will often suffer in silence because they have been told:

It’s time to move on.

Aren’t you over this yet?

You need to stop dwelling on this.

It’s been long enough, it’s time to let go.

Aren’t you ready to get on with your life yet?

Or, some of my favorites:

He’s in a better place.

Time heals all wounds.

God needed another angel.

Everything happens for a reason.

Although, some of these things are said with the best of intentions, let me make this clear, they just aren’t helpful! At all!

We didn’t lose something that can be replaced. We lost a person. For…

View original post 347 more words

Deciding Pain Away

So many well intentioned people will give you advice based on the thought that you can simply make a choice to not grieve. As someone who has been walking a painful road for almost 6 years, let me tell you, we really do wish it was that easy.

Can you choose happiness? Yes, I believe you can. That being said though; I can wake up in the morning and choose to be happy, but that does not make the pain go away. The cause of the pain, the root of the emotions, is still there.

You must walk through it.

Now, how long does it take? That’s just it; it is different for everyone. Loss and the journey to healing is so very personal. We all deal in our own way. Some don’t deal at all and therefore, their path is going look very different from someone who is feeling…

View original post 173 more words

Not Just Another Day

It’s crazy how a particular date can stop you in your tracks. No matter how you’ve been feeling, a significant date can change everything. I always tell myself; it’s just a number, just another day. But no matter how much I tell myself that, my feelings take over. I guess I just need to accept that this day will always be significant. I will always be taken back to what took my best friend from me, my kids’ Dad from them. Sometimes it feels like yesterday and sometimes it feels like a hundred years. No matter how long it’s been though, some things will never change. I will always love him. I will always miss him. I will always wish he was here. I will always wonder how different my life would be if he was still here. I will always hurt for my kids. I will always remember who he was, what he brought to my life and what he meant to me and our kids. I will always be grateful for the time we had. I will always look forward to the day we will be together again.

I will never forget.

Scars

There is a quote that I love that always makes me think. I have a big ugly scar on my leg. That’s what I think when I look at it. Ugly. In the past I have been really self conscious about it. Most summers I wore long pants to cover it. I hated when I noticed people notice it. I didn’t want people to see it. So I hid it.

But I realize some things…

• We all have scars; both physical and emotional

• We typically hide our scars, I know that I hide mine

• Our scars make other people uncomfortable so, we don’t show them; for fear of what others will think, fear of seeming weak, of being judged, being misunderstood, _______________________.

But our scars tell a story. Mine tells a story.

Scars originate with pain, whether it be physical or emotional. Sometimes, and in my case, the origin is both. My scar began as open wound. A literal, physical open wound. The instant I received that physical wound was the instant my heart became an open wound; both resulting in the most unexplainable pain I had ever felt.

The wound on my leg took a long time to heal. I use the word heal lightly because I wouldn’t say that it actually healed.  After a long and painful period of time, it closed up.  But it left a big “ugly” mark on my leg that will never go away. It has changed and improved over these last 5 years; it has faded, although it is still very visible to the eye.

The story behind that scar is one that tells the story of the open wound in my heart, the wound that is not visible to the eye.  This wound is much more painful. It is a story of loss and sorrow, of suffering and grief, sadness and anger, fear and isolation…

This wound isn’t so easily “closed.”

Neither will ever fully heal. They will never go away.

You see, for whatever reason, I am supposed to be here. I’ve often wrestled with the burning question, why?? That is a question that I will never truly understand on this side of heaven. I do know that there are two young people that almost lost two parents in the same day. They needed me. I also know that my work here isn’t done. I don’t fully know what that entails but I do believe we all have a purpose. I also know that life is precious. I know that our days are numbered, tomorrow is not promised.

We can choose to let the pain behind our scars keep our wounds from closing. We can choose to hide our “ugly” scars and live in fear; fear of judgment, fear of being misunderstood, fear of being seen as weak and vulnerable. We can let the pain overtake us and keep us from fulfilling our purpose.

Whatever pain and scars you are trying to hide, may not ever fully heal. But, when you face them, when you show them, when you overcome them; there will be a story, a testimony of what you have made it through. That story just might help someone else who would otherwise be overtaken by the pain, that otherwise might choose to lay down and quit living.

I’m don’t hide my visible scar anymore. It is a constant reminder of loss and pain for sure. But, it is also a reminder of where I’ve been, what I have made it through and of what should have, could have, but did not end me.

“My scars remind me that I did indeed survive my deepest wounds. That in itself is an accomplishment. And they bring to mind something else, too. They remind me that the damage life has inflicted on me has, in many places, left me stronger and more resilient. What hurt me in the past has actually made me better equipped to face the present.” ~ Steve Goodier

Where Did They Go?

I have been a “W” word for almost 6 years now.  In that time, I have had the opportunity to connect with many others who have experienced loss.  About a year after Jonathan passed away, I started a group for people who were grieving.  It wasn’t just for people who had experienced the same loss as me, but had lost someone very important to them.  My heart behind starting that group was this…

I felt very, very alone trying to adjust to the new world I was thrown into when I suddenly lost my husband.  I won’t say that people didn’t care but after the “dust settled” most everyone went on about their normal lives while I was completely stuck.  Do I blame people for living their lives? Absolutely not.  Although there were so many people also grieving the loss of my husband and my children’s father, we were the ones whose everyday life was affected horribly.  In connecting with other people who were grieving, particularly those who lost a spouse of whose children lost their parent, I learned the saddest part of grief… I found that many people felt like I did.  Alone.  So, I’m not singling myself out here.  Most people would not think this to be the case but, believe it or not, it is all too common.

There are so many reasons why people tend to distance themselves from someone after they have lost like I did. I couldn’t name them all if I tried.  Some assume you are surrounded by family and friends and don’t want to overwhelm you. But guess what?? If everyone assumes the same thing?? You guessed it.  No one is there.  Some people just don’t know how to “be” around you.  They worry about what to say or what to not say. So guess what?? Often they say nothing.  Some are so overwhelmed with their own grief that it is just too difficult to be around you.  THEIR grief.  I’m not trivializing the loss of others, don’t get me wrong.  I hope you get what I’m saying… Some just don’t want to face the reality that you aren’t the same person and they don’t know how you will fit into their lives anymore.

I can’t begin to tell you how many times I listened to others’ talk to me or in front of me and my kids about their grief.  I’m not saying they aren’t allowed their grief but, it was extremely difficult to be the one to shoulder others’ pain when you are already carrying so much of your own.  Some people made it, most likely not intentional, almost like a contest.  Who missed him the most? Who was affected the most?  Who was closest to him?  This was my husband and even I didn’t make it all about me.  My focus was my kids and how they were affected. They were almost 10 and almost 12.  They lost their Daddy and almost lost both of their parents in the blink of an eye. On top of that, their Mother was hurt (car accident) and they had to watch me in pain, endure daily (very painful) in home healthcare, not being able to walk, two surgeries, not being in their home that they never returned to, going back to school just over a month after, getting drug to grief counseling, and losing connections with a lot of people that they were extremely close to.  I could go on and on but even if I continued, those not experiencing that with them day in and out, just wouldn’t understand.  They lost so much.

The last (almost) 6 years have been more difficult and painful than I can even begin to say.  But, we are still here.  We have a long way to go still in the journey of learning how to live again without the one who meant so much but, we are pushing through and doing our best.

In the last year or so I have connected specifically with other people like me.  Amazing groups of people that have lost a spouse and (most of them) raising grieving children.  Oh, what a blessing!  How amazing it has been to finally have relationships with people who truly get what I have been going through.  I have also formed super strong friendships with smaller groups of people that have lost their spouses.  These people now mean the world to me.  We are doing life together every day.  All of us in different states even.  But, we are each other’s lifelines.

As I’ve heard other open up about their lives, their struggles, their grief and their relationships… I have learned something that is more disheartening than anything else.  The judgment they receive from others.  It seems everyone has an opinion on how they are “dealing with” their grief.  They aren’t moving forward fast enough.  They are moving forward too quickly. I could go on and on… Some of my friends have started to move forward in the areas of opening themselves up to try and find love again.  Oh, how many have opinions on that! Some are judged on how they are living, how they are parenting, etc.  Well, guess what?? It is plain nobody else’s business!  Don’t get me wrong, some people are very well intentioned and don’t mean to come across the way they do but, regardless, it’s just not okay!  I can’t speak for anyone of them but for me…. I am raising two (now) teenagers all on my own without the help of anyone else.  I have a home.  With that comes expense, maintenance and just plain burden! It’s hard!  I would love to say that I have done it all without struggle.  But I can say that I have done a good job.  I’m far from perfect but I am doing the best that I know how. That is more than enough for my kids and that is all that matters.  Set aside the fact that I know beyond a shadow of a doubt that Jonathan would so proud of me. Nobody else, especially people that have been on the outside of our lives, should even have the right to weigh in.  The worst part is that people weigh in anyway (a lot of times, not even to you) and armed with information that just isn’t accurate.

The moral of the story… Who are you to judge??  You don’t live my life.  You don’t pay my bills.  Most of you have someone to go home to, someone to aid you in making the tough decisions life throws at you daily. You aren’t dealing with grieving kids, teenagers at that. Blah blah blah…

Quite honestly, I have been quiet for too long, always making excuses for people’s hurtful behaviors, always pretending that everything is okay.  Well, I’m proud to say that those days are over.  Am I going to go rogue and catapult myself to the other side of that spectrum?  Absolutely not, because that’s not who I am.  But, I am going to speak up for myself.  I’m going to speak up for my kids. I’m going to help my friends who are dealing with similar issues, find their voice too.

If you weren’t around during the most difficult times, please don’t judge me now.