First of all, I love you. I am so incredibly sorry you are having to experience the gut-wrenching pain of the loss of your Love. He was a good husband, father, a kind and generous man, funny, talented, and searched for meaning beyond the surface of life. Most of the time friends are happy when another friend joins their club, their sisterhood. However, being a member of the widow sisterhood is one club none of us wants to belong to and we wouldn’t wish it on even the meanest person we know.
I know I have shared with you over the last week you need not feel particularly strong or capable right now. One of the things which really bothered me when I became a widow was being told all the things I “had” to do. I needed to be strong for the kids, I had to accept my new normal, I had to go on living when I really didn’t feel it was possible. I received a lot of unsolicited advice at a time when my brain was literally not capable of processing anything beyond doing the next thing. Yet, I realized yesterday, as I had sent you text messages of encouragement over the last week, I was perhaps guilty of offering unsolicited advice when all I really meant to convey is “you’re going to get through this, and you will get through this your way. I want to be a help to you.” I will gladly share with you my experiences, the mistakes I made I wish I hadn’t, but since you and I are different women, your experience may not be like mine.
When friends say to you “you are so strong” they are simply saying this is the way they see you. To them, you are a beautiful, capable, strong, and confident woman. You ARE all of those things, but you don’t have to be them all of the time. It is alright to admit you are scared. It is not crazy if one day you feel like you can move mountains and the next day you feel incompetent to move the pile of dirty clothes. According to every widow I have talked with and all the reading I have done on-line, this is totally normal. I remember the horror I felt when, six months after Paul’s death, a 15-yr veteran of widowhood told me, “you won’t feel normal again for five years.” My immediate reaction to her was “Oh God I hope it doesn’t take that long!” because I couldn’t imagine living in the wraith-like way I had been living. Here but not wholly myself, drifting no longer knowing my purpose, an empty nothingness of feeling one day, and way too much feeling the next. Here’s the good news: her journey is not my journey and my journey will not be yours, but we can both be traveller’s together.
I love you, Friend, and I am here for you. xoxo
Photo credit: goodnightpictures.com