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.
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.