The Wandering Widow

Observations, Tips and Reckless Truth Telling on the Road Through Grief


September 2016

The Little Things

I find it amazing that it’s the little things that will suddenly turn off my auto pilot and force me to remember. Force me to take control of the jet in the middle of extreme turbulence.  The little things are the ones that force me to live the pain, wondering if this is just what my life will be like going forward.

Practical. One of the many adjectives used to describe me.  I love it when form and function make beautiful babies, but ultimately things exist to serve a purpose and there is no emotional attachment. Or there didn’t used to be.  It was one of the few things Dan and I squabbled about…his need to keep things to help remember those he loved, and my need to get rid of clutter.  Imagine my shock when the simple and practical act of throwing his toothbrush out dropped me to my knees, sobbing on the bathroom floor.  And it kept happening!  The disposal of his razor, his house slippers, and his ridiculous collection of articles and magazines celebrating an old Boise State football victory all became chapters in my new  crazy pain chronicles.  

Today it was breakfast.  For the first time in months I made breakfast.  It was his favorite.  He loved making breakfast.  I enjoyed waking up in time to eat it.  He love it so much he talked about opening a breakfast restaurant when he retired so he could cook and  hang out with people in the mornings and then go golf all afternoon.  Yep…ham and eggs have me curled in the fetal position cursing breakfast memories.

Even when he didn’t feel like eating he still enjoyed cooking breakfast.

Because of the little things it’s easier to avoid doing things that remind me of him altogether.  My grief counselor says that never doing anything we loved or did together makes him disappear.  I’m told I’ll find new things to explore and adventure, but that Dan wil always be part of the old me and future me needs to honor that, even thought it hurts like a mother.  I dunno…I can’t even bring myself to watch Boise football this season. All I know is you don’t need salt when you’re crying in the skillet. 

This F@#$%d Up Club

People like to say life is a bitch. I think that’s because they’ve never had a front row seat to death.  If life is a bitch, death is the psycho ex that torments you in ways you never imagined possible.

I like to hike. I’m not especially good at it, but I enjoy it.  Last year I blindly signed up for a “hike” of Idaho’s tallest mountain.  I didn’t know anything about it, but it was a fundraiser for a cause I’m passionate about.  It was horrible…40% grade, ugly shale covered path, and my fibromyalgia screaming at me all the way up.  I very quickly fell behind our group.  It wasn’t long before I couldn’t see anyone ahead of us. (My lovely husband and friend never left my side).  Periodically I’d catch a glimpse far ahead of someone from our group.  It was both reassuring that I was on the right path, and disheartening to realize how far behind I was and how there was no end in sight.

Bringing up the rear.

That “hike” has become a metaphor for the horrible climb I’m on right now. Only this time I didn’t volunteer. Like everyone else in this f@#$%d up club, I was kidnapped and put on a forced march. Unprepared, hauling all the wrong gear and trying to stay alive.  Every now and again I can see others, my mentors in widowhood, up ahead.  They give me comfort in knowing I’m still on the path and that there is something ahead.  They help me understand that I’m not alone on this really crappy ugly trail.  They call back to me to encourage me to keep going.  And when I’m about to go over the edge, those beautiful women are there to reach out and help me find my footing.

I can’t imagine going through this alone.  And while each of us carries our pain differently, sometimes sharing that pain with others helps us get through our own.   I don’t know where I’d be without them. My beautiful Michelle who lost her love decades ago, leaving her a young widow and single mom, who only just remarried.  My beautiful Susanne who lost her love two years ago to the same horrible disease that stole Dan from me. And my Double Whammy Widow Club mentor, my beautiful Julie, who is just a few months ahead of me and also dealing with the profound loss of both husband and father so close together.  And since this club keeps forcing women to join, I know that all too soon I’ll be the one up the path looking back to encourage our newest member to keep going.

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