As children, especially as adolescents and young adults we strive to fit in. We strive to find our niche, our posse, that group of friends that we call our extended family. We strive for various things and attributes which describe us and place us into categories. Smart. Athletic. Funny. Musical. Faithful. Wild. Thin. Pretty. Put together. We all want to be something. This process generally leads to finding others like us. Maybe this is a lifelong process. As we get older these goals change and evolve but somehow stay similar as we strive to find our niche in society. Maybe this happens in the workplace. Possibly within our neighborhoods. Maybe you have friends from college or from your childhood. Maybe it’s a book club. A prayer group. Your child’s athletic team. Mothers and fathers. CFO’s. Chefs. Administrators. Representatives. Homemakers. Creators. Engineers. Generally this core group is derived from a set of commonalities and likeness.
Most of us learn we care a little less about fitting in as we age, because fitting in becomes less important but also because we have already carved our spots within our circles. Sometimes these circles are fluid, adding and subtracting, weaving into other circles. I have a core group of friends from my childhood, another small group from college. A group at work. All of those foundations were not built on my marriage but all of our connections included my marriage.
And then it was all ripped away. I feel like I am back in my adolescent stage of trying to find my place again. Our core group was built on being with other couples or other families through our boys’ activities. There aren't many places for widows. I don't have many single friends these days other than my newfound fellow widows. Our “couple” friends no longer know what to do with me. I don't blame them. Restaurants are set up in evens, not odds. Tickets to events are generally given or supplied in duos. Men want to talk to other men. I am no longer a double date. I have become an extra. I throw off the feng shui at your dinner table. I don't even know what to tell people. Am I married? Am I single?
When you fill out paperwork for school for your children or for new medical appointments everyone wants you to check a box. Are you married or single? I don't feel that I'm necessarily either. I am on an island. It is no ones’ fault. I'm just once again lost. I don't fit anymore. Many of our foundations with friends and acquaintances have crumbled. I struggle to make decisions that once would have be so easy and deliberate. I was sitting with someone the other night and we were making plans to get together again sometime soon. She indicated that she needed to talk to her husband before making a decision. She stated she was not single like I was. A very basic comment not meant to hurt but it did. It stung. I don't view myself as single. I guess in reality I am but it wasn’t my choice to be in this situation. You cannot fathom how desperately I yearn for Daniel to aid in my decision making. How much I’d give to have his opinion. To affirm I’m making the right choices. To tell me I’m wrong. I’d even agree to have one more argument over something petty and unimportant. I yearn for his voice, his guidance, his love to manage challenges that arise every single day.
School supply list for 4K: family photo. Easy enough right? No. It's not. I want to use one of the four of us, but our most recent photo is already 18 months old. So much growth from both boys in such a short time period but so very evident. So do I take one that is more recent? What about how taking a simple family photograph to school affects others? Does taking a photo of Daniel open Lucas up to talking to peers about his dad being in heaven? Would you want your four or five year old coming home from school and asking about heaven? You may be thinking yes because you know Daniel or I and you want to show support but truly think about explaining heaven and the death of ones parent to your young child. It opens up several questions and anxiety for many young minds. So do I not include him? No, I’m sorry I can’t do that. I'm sorry that you may have to have a conversation with your child. I want to protect my boys even more so from all injustices is in this world as much as the next mother and father. We all know that is unrealistic. There will be events put on at school, at church, through their activities that specify one parent or the other. How many of you and your children have been invited to father/ daughter dances, muffins with mom, doughnuts with dad, mornings with mom, afternoons with dad? How do the kids feel who’s homes don’t fit that mold? How about the children that don’t have either or both parents in their lives? Are we causing others unnecessary pain? Do we think about what makes a family when we schedule and plan these events? Not usually. We are so focused on ourselves and our own busy lives that we often go with the norm. We decide that the majority rules. I challenge you to ask yourself what is the norm? Aren’t our family make-ups changing? Would it be so difficult to make events more universal to include everyone?
Here I am feeling lost, searching for my place. Trying to open the eyes of others. Look outside of your own home. Recognize loss. Recognize differences. And don’t just recognize them. Change the patterns. Accept and be inclusive of all. Make a difference.
Meet the Author (me)
Driven by a need to help others. I have known from a young age that this is what I wanted to do. This is my very real, somewhat sarcastic, look into my newfound widowhood. I hope this site will help you as much as it helps me.