“I am recovering. Little by little. Day by day. I am recovering.”
Losing a person from your life steals part of your soul, part of your identity, part of who you are. Any loss, any traumatic experience changes your present and your future. I have become awkward. I have become more guarded. More over protective. I have been hardened. I am numb. I have lost confidence. I am consumed with guilt. Consumed with exhaustion. Consumed with worry. Consumed with anxiety. Consumed with loneliness. Consumed by tears.
I fight each morning to make a conscious effort to get up and move forward. Some days are easier than others. What shapes those choices? What motivates us? How do we decide to tackle each day? How do we make pivotal decisions in our lives?
I believe the majority of us spend our lives doing things for others and allowing our decisions to be molded by others. Whether that’s our spouse, partner in life, colleagues, boss, parents, siblings, religious advisors, beliefs or even our children. Usually it is a combination of these integral people and beliefs that set in motion a chain of events ultimately leading to making choices, making decisions, and choosing which paths to travel.
How much time do we spend trying to please others? How much time do we spend seeking validation from others? How much time do we spend at each crossroad until we decide which way to turn? Who do we allow to influence us? Why can’t we simply be, and feel, without needing someone else to tell us its’ ok?
Are we ever satisfied with ourselves? If we spent as much time putting ourselves first would we be happier and well-adjusted? Or would people judge us and suggest we are selfish and egocentric? Can’t we just BE?
How about this? Should we even be seeking others’ approval? Should we care? What about seeking contentment within ourselves? What about accepting others for who they are, as they are. What about putting time and effort into improving ourselves and simply accepting and appreciating others’ flaws. Accepting the qualities that make us their family, friends, co-workers, children, parents, lovers, siblings and supporters. I challenge you to focus on you and be more accepting of others. Accept yourself. Make an exception. Think about what others may be going through that you are unaware of. Accept them. Accept you. Just BE.
Becoming a widow has brought several unique situations with it. This is obviously not a path I ever anticipated walking down. But here I am. People make blanket statements, comments and accusations daily. Generally not to harm but to generate conversation and usually because they care. It’s not their fault. Even though I feel tattooed and marked I know I am not. My scarlet letter is invisible.
“You are on the defensive end today, you are outnumbered aren't you?” a man stated after recently boarding a plane with Lucas and Reed. I’m positive he had been observing us in the crowded airport earlier playing ring around the rosie, shouting loudly, and doing forward rolls between chairs. (The kids, not me. I was able to refrain from rolling on the floor, this time.) I paused in my response. I wanted to say I'm always outnumbered, I’m always playing defense. I wanted to sigh in frustration. I wanted that scarlet letter at that moment. No explanation would be needed. But I did none of these things. I simply smiled, nodded and kept pushing one child down the narrow center aisle while pulling the other. I’m sure I appeared as frazzled as I felt.
A new neighbor came by to introduce himself this week. Don’t ask me his name I couldn’t even tell you his first initial. He shook my hand, gave me a little background on himself and said he was looking forward to introducing me to his wife. I just stood there for a moment using the lawn mower as my shield. Gathering my wits for a response Lucas came outside in his Crocs and underwear and demanded help with opening a go-gurt. I slowly stammered a reply about us living here, I mean I live here, I mean my, our, boys live here. Good lord, spit it out already. I was annoying myself. But what do I spit out? I don’t want to tell every person I meet that my husbands’ dead upon shaking their hand. I don’t want to talk about cancer, unless I want to talk about cancer. I don’t want others to hear my voice catch, because simply meeting a new person reminds me of the absence of Daniel. Honestly, I avoid new places and new situations for that very reason. It begets questions. And I do not have the answers to all of your questions.
I struggle with why and how others feel that they may know what is best for me. I do seek validation just as you do. I want to please. I want to succeed and be a successful parent. A contributor to society. There is also a healthy balance in these requests. While I want your approval and agreeance, I am also ready to flip you off in a heartbeat for those blanket statements and opinions. “I can’t believe she this or that. Don’t you think she should move? Should she talk about her husband so much to her children?” Trust me I do enough self-doubting for all of us. Focus on you and accept others for who they are. I don’t have all the answers. I am simply trying to live. To get up each day and move forward. I am simply trying to recover.
“Hold me here in the dark. Little by little, day by day, One step at a time. Tell him I love him.”
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.