Wednesday, January 18, 2017

Memories in the Closet…

It’s been nearly 8 years now since I became a Widow. Some days it feels like just yesterday and others it feels like forever. Some days it is horrible and I miss him dreadfully, some days I go about my business as if I have lived this way forever.

But his memory is always right there, following me around, watching my every move. Sometimes I feel like I can turn around and he will be right there behind me, standing there watching as I go about my daily tasks. Even after 8 years I can feel his breath on my cheek as we sleep.

I can smell how the bathroom would smell after his shower…the distinct smell of Head and Shoulders shampoo and Black Suede aftershave. I have these senses ingrained deep into my memories, yet I still hold on to the material things as if they help keep those memories alive.

Truth is, his shirts still hang in the closet. His coats still hang next to mine in another closet. In the beginning, it was just too painful to think about doing anything with them. Years went by and it was just easier not to think about all those shirts hanging there. I don’t use that closet so I rarely even see them.

If I pull them out, will they open a flood gate of pain that I just can’t deal with? I don’t know the answer to that, so maybe that is why I just leave them there. The thing is, I was discussing holding onto material things with a friend earlier. I made a statement about how material things don’t hold memories, our hearts and mind do. Sounds good, right? So, why can’t I bring myself to get rid of those shirts?

Maybe because it is an actual physical part of him that is still here with me? Even though I hardly ever see them or touch them, I know they are there and that I could even pull one of the hanger and wrap it around me if I wanted to. You can’t do that with a memory no matter how badly you want to.

I have given a few of them to my grandsons. I was okay with that because I was used to my sons or grandsons raiding his closet when he was alive. I took comfort in knowing his sons or grandsons were out and about, wearing one of his shirts. But the rest of them that still hang there?

I could donate them, but I cringe at the thought of strangers wearing his clothes, as awful as that sounds. Throwing them in the trash is an even worse thought! So, they hang there because I am just not comfortable with any of the other options.

I have known Widows who get rid of their spouse’s clothing right away and that is okay. I also know Widows like me, who just leave the clothes hang there for reasons of their own. There is no “right time” to empty his side of the closet…at least not in a certain time frame.

Don’t let anyone else tell you it’s time to empty the closet. Only you can decide that …until then, just know that many Widows have “Memories in the Closet.” We are here for you, whatever you need, whenever you need…

Tuesday, August 23, 2016

Starting a Whole New Life with No Choice…

"I hope these post give you some peace or comfort, or at least lets you know that you are not alone. There are many widows out there that know exactly what you are feeling and thinking. Together we can go step at a time."

Once the funeral or Memorial Service is over, most all of the family and friends go back to their busy lives, not much has really changed for them accept being able to seeing the person from time to time. When the deceased person is your spouse, you have nothing to return to…your life is not now, or will it ever be the same again.

Your home, your routine, your very existence has changed. You feel lost, even in familiar surroundings. Your home is the same, but it’s different. You’ll never sit down to the dinner table with him again, you will never lay beside him as he snores away at night. You’ll never have long conversations late into the night.

Most widows will tell you that it is the comfort and companionship of having him there that they miss the most. Just the mere thought of knowing someone is there with you while you eat, sleep or watch TV makes you feel safe and comfortable and that has been suddenly taken from you.

Though friends may insist it is not true, even social relationships change. Some friends will stay away simply because they don’t know what to say or do for you. Others will hover and try to do everything until you are both annoyed with each other.

It’s not that they are doing anything wrong, it’s basically that they don’t understand what you are going through, or how you really feel or what you need. Then again, how could they when you don’t understand it all yourself?

When you are used to going out with other couples, they will continue to ask you. I get that it feels strange to go out as the third wheel, but they won’t understand why you keep declining invitations. I have turned down invitations with family and friends just because it felt so strange to be there alone. I was used to being a “couple” and was not comfortable as a “single” so I chose not to go.

It is hard to try to go on and have some kind of life after the one you are used to totally vanishes. Someone once told me something that has stuck with me all of these years…It’s like losing a jacket that you have had forever. 

You loved that jacket and it fit perfectly. No other jacket will ever replace that one, but you can get a new, different jacket. It will never replace your old one, but you will come to like the new one too….it’ll just take awhile.

I hope these post give you some peace or comfort, or at least lets you know that you are not alone. There are many widows out there that know exactly what you are feeling and thinking. Together we can go step at a time.

Monday, July 4, 2016

Widow to Widow

I happened across a Widow’s group on Facebook one night. I was feeling especially lonely and figured I’d check them out. It’s one of the best things I have ever done, because nobody understands exactly how you feel when you lose a loved one like someone who has been through it.

This group is in various stages of dealing with their grief. Some have not been widows for very long…some have been widows for years, much like me. Belonging to a group like this on the internet means that there is someone always there to talk to, no matter what time of the day or night you feel the need to log on.

In this group, you can express your sadness, your anger, your frustration or whatever else you need to say without being judged. No one tells you to “just deal with it” because they understand.

It’s not a “pity party” group. We help each other with things that are new to us. Out of all the members, usually someone has dealt with one circumstance or another and can give advice. We even tell each other how to make household or automotive repairs!

Widows often feel like they are alone and struggling. Joining a group of other widows helps us to feel…well, not so alone. We can ask questions about all the many things a widow faces as she makes this new lonely walk. Trust me, it helps.

If you are a new widow, or even a long time widow, I would recommend joining a group on Facebook. You may even find another widow that lives close enough so that the two of you (or three or four) can get together for lunch, dinner or any other kind of outing you all enjoy.

We even call it a “Sisterhood” of sorts and we all understand that none of us really want to be a part of a Widow’s group, but it’s the hand we have been dealt. Trust me, the women in my group are pretty awesome and we sure have gotten each other over some tough hurdles.

The admin is pretty strict about who she lets in, as we all know that widows get preyed on by some unscrupulous folks, so you can feel pretty safe, in my group at least. If you are a Widow and are interested in the group I am in, find me on Facebook and let me know and I will pass your info along to the admin of the group.

Friday, January 17, 2014

Nearly Five Years After...

I haven't been here much and I don't know if anyone will be around to read this or not, but an on-line friend recently found the link to this blog on my Facebook page and sent me a nice message thanking me for saying the words others that have been through it felt.

It's amazing that a neglected blog can still reach out there and touch someone, so I felt the Widow's Web page deserved an update, as it appears it has been over a year since my last post. Has life gotten grand for me? No, I wouldn't exactly say that, but I have learned to cope and adapt much better.

It is coming up to the 5 year mark of losing my husband, and if you have been there, near there or beyond, you know there are still days when it is hard. You will still get overwhelmed with lonliness and miss your loved one so much it hurts. Time may heal, but the hurt never really goes away, you just sort of get used to it and adapt your life around it.

The one thing that time does help, is the ability to talk about your spouse with out totally losing it. In the beginning memories of my husband would have me in tears within seconds. Now I am able to talk about those memories and it is a sad happiness that envelopes me. Sad because he is no longer here to create anymore memories, yet happy to have the ones I do have to hold onto and share.

Incase you are wondering, I am still alone. I haven't had much interest in the dating scene. Actually, from a few things I hear, maybe that's a good thing! It is scary for anyone to put themself out there and meet someone knew that may or may not work out. I think I am more afraid of all that drama than I am of being alone!

I still do some writing and I have gotten back into sewing and crocheting more so I have plenty to do, plus I have my two little Shih tzu to keep me company. We have established quite  routine, just the 3 of us. They tell me when it is bedtime every night and follow me around the house like my very own pint sized protectors. Who could ask for more?

I hope you will follow me round the web as I attempt to revive these long neglected blogs! Who knows, you might read something of interest that will help you out, or atleast give you a laugh as me and my silly furbabies try to figure out this crazy life we are attempting to live!

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Another Year, Another Post

I get to the point that I neglect this blog, thinking I'm not sure that I have anymore left to say. It turns out that I was wrong. You see, a writer friend was developing a new website and she sent out a call that she was interested in guest posters. I am always game for new writing gigs so I went to the site and looked around.

The site is called Everyday Women and what I saw impressed me. She covers a lot of subjects that are of great value to women. Things like diet, excersice, beauty, dating etc were all there. What I didn't see was right up my alley to write about - being a widow.

I emailed my friend, told her my idea and she quickly responded that she thought it was a great idea. We worked out all of the boring business details and I sat down to write my first post. Turns out that the words poured out of me with a great ease!

I sent it to her for consideration. She loved every  word of it, and the column on the site was born. She aptly named the section Widow's Walk and it is all mine, to write things that widows may be feeling, or needing to know.

I was amazed that it had went so well. I thought I was all talked out on the subject, but writing for Everyday Women brought back the desire to reach out to you all again and see how you are doing.

Since my arrangement with Everyday Women is only for two posts a month right now, I came back to this blog, where I can write my heart out, whenever I want to. I am coming up to the four year mark now and it hasn't been easy. I find that when a friend loses a loved one, I feel it all over again.

I also realise that I am a bit of a comfort to them to talk to because I have been through it. A new widow will reach out to an "old" one, because there is hope that if one survived, then surely the other can...

Check out Everyday Women by clicking on the link above and have a look around. Don't forget to peep into my column while you are there. Let us know what you think about the over all site and about my column. I think they are both fantastic, don't you?

See you guys again real soon...I promise!

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Losing a Soul Mate Hurts…License or Not

Karen and I have never met in person, yet we have a very strong bond between us. Though we have been “cyber” friends for a long time, we now “get” each other even more and spend countless hours talking about our feelings. Unfortunately, the thing we have in common is that Karen recently lost the love of her life just like I did back in 2009.

Karen and John’s tale is a magical love story that many of us were privileged to watch develop on line. John’s death was sudden and left Karen alone and devastated. I get that feeling….it’s still there after more than two years of living alone in a world I never wanted. Karen and John never got the chance to marry, though I am sure that would have been in their plans, yet her grief is every bit as strong as mine is.

The thing is, a soul mate is a soul mate and a marriage license does not dictate the level of pain a person goes through when they lose someone that they loved with all of their heart. Marriage license or not, we both hurt the same, shed the same storm of tears, feel the same loneliness and grief.

I got to thinking about all of this, and the use of the term Widow. It doesn’t necessarily mean someone who was married and lost her mate. Karen feels as much a widow now as I do. I called this blog “My Widow’s Web” not because of the term, but much because of the way I felt.

Losing someone you love, is like running into a spider web. You know that panicked, creepy feeling, where you swing your arms and want to get away, but it seems like every direction you turn that web is still there, seeming to cut off your sanity and any rational thought you could possibly muster? I feel like I have been walking around in a web these past two years. The small little threads cling to me, even though others might not be able to see them.

I encouraged Karen, who is also a writer, to start a blog of her own to express her feelings. The grief of losing a soul mate is not something we wanted to have in common, but it is something we can help each other through. If you need us, we will help you, console you or just listen to you. You can even help us, as Karen starts her Journey Through the Darkness and I continue to fight my way out of My Widows Web.

A marriage license doesn’t dictate how much you love someone or how much it hurts to lose them….we all hurt, grieve, cry and feel totally lost…it’s a journey none of us wanted, but hopefully together, we can continue to put one foot in front of the other. Sometimes, I’ll hold you up and sometimes you may have to hold me up….we can do this, one step at a time.

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Year Two of My Journey

I find it hard to believe that it has been 2 years now that have been a widow. The past year has seen many ups and downs for me. Is life getting any better? Sometimes I think it is and at other times I think I am just adapting as best as I can. I still miss my husband and I suppose always will.

I do try to venture out of the house more than I did the first year. It still feels very odd to attend family functions by myself, but I am managing and most times I enjoy them. It's the times when I come home or everyone leaves my home, that I am hit with the intense loneliness.

The Midwest has been slammed with severe storms this spring. I am terrified of storms and especially tornadoes. That is really the worst! They didn't bother my husband in the least, but he was always there to comfort me when the thunder and lightening began. Now I pace the floors in fear. I have family that will come over if they think I am really scared or if the storms get bad, but then I feel like such a big baby for asking them!

So many things to get used to that you would never even think about. Summer is quickly approaching and I find myself missing motorcycle riding and camping. Those were the two things my husband and I enjoyed the most. Motorcycles go by and I wish I was on one just racing down the highway!