Wednesday, June 17, 2015

Mourning and Being A Long Term Widow

It's like an indelible stamp. Death of a spouse. 

Does it fade with time or only if someone else enters your life and the pain and loss are replaced with more positive thoughts?

Your spouse has passed. You get letters and cards honoring the person. Friends and acquaintances express their condolences and their concerns for you -- for a while.

Life goes on. That's it. Adjust. Move on. 

Funny, looking back I remember sermons in Church after my husband passed about the "goodness" of the single life, of remaining true to the one that's been "lost".  

I didn't really get the message back then but since I've chosen to move away from that place I somehow find the memories of those advisories to be directed towards me even though I had no thought then nor do I now of "moving on" with someone else.

My daughter, however, had mentioned there was someone, a man, who wondered how long I'd stay a "widow" and thought I'd be quick to remarry. 

That was four and a half years ago. That was at my husband's funeral. 

Some people just don't have what used to be referred to as "class" to say that in front of an immediate family member.

But then there's no accounting for people's inability to have what was also called "manners" and the foresight to know what to say, when to say it and where to say it.

Oh, well.  Moving forward.

We're allowed to talk about the pet we had as a child and how much we missed the dog,cat or even goldfish when it died but people don't really want to hear about a dead spouse.

Yes. There is life in the here and now after death. For some it's a return to normal or a new chance. For others it's life continuing down a path somewhat planned, somewhat by chance but moving forward, sometimes looking back.

Maybe a son remembers it's still a difficult time -- father's day, his father's birthday, your anniversary.

Perhaps it's because my husband passed at a time in life when we were supposed to be beginning to enjoy our "freedom" from work, from the everyday -- a new start.

You still have some of his things. Hanging in "his" closet or in "his" drawers?  Give them away. Get rid of them. They're only reminders of what isn't and it's time you moved on.


Reminders are all around the widow or widower. 

They're not necessarily sad but sometimes they're not fun.

Amazing how you become "older" to some family members when you lose a spouse. 

You seem to lose your ability to "think clearly" and any annoyances or challenges they have in their life become reflections of how you, the remaining "parent', did a poor job and messed their lives up forever unless they totally "cut" the "imaginary umbilical cord" some people call contact or connection.

And, heaven help you if you finally succumb to momentous pressures you've risen to slay with your imaginary sword, in real life perseverance and persistence, and cry or show emotions reflecting your rejection of how you're being treated or actions taken not in your best interest.

YOU can have "mood swings" due to "change of life" or setbacks at work or for any reason. 

I dare not show I'm human, too, just like you, because you'll think "there's something wrong with me".

GET OVER IT. That's what I seem to hear even when there's only silence.

Although sometimes you have to go around, under, beside, between or over "IT" through many trials and tribulations and a little "help", a measure of "assistance" as with any challenge in life, often provides the "teamwork" needed to move positively and progressively.

My second son talked about perspective when we were last together. As with so much in life, sometimes it's the slightest comments that "stick" with you. He wasn't lecturing me, he was talking about a presentation he'd given to some younger and less experienced people where he works.

His comment reflected on making statements about a group of numbers he presented. It showed the amount of time he spent travelling, how many weeks he was on the road, the amount of air miles he'd accumulated and more -- all in the space of a few months.

The positive was how "successful" his efforts had been and how the group, as a whole, was moving towards their goal.

The negative came in the form of a text message from his oldest daughter about him not being around.

PERSPECTIVE.  Life is all about that word. 

A key to life, in my world, is realizing it's not just perspective but it's more REALIZATION.  

Recognizing the need to dig deeper, hear more completely and above all, respect the other person's viewpoint even when it's not your own.

How long will I be the widow? As with many other life experiences I may not choose to be nor have the ability to control or foresee the answer to that question. 

Time can be so short and it can be too long. These past four plus years moved ever so slowly yet now when I stand and look backwards, they passed so very quickly. 

It truly seems like yesterday we took that walk down the church aisle to get married and then I walked alongside our daughter and behind you as your friends walked alongside you honoring your life, honoring the man you were and the memory you continue to be.

I forgot some things for your funeral but I wasn't really expecting there to be one. 

You were getting better, you were coming home in a few days. Then it happened. The change. The turn around. 

The swift but slow movement towards our separation and your never coming home, never returning here to be with me again.

No. I don't need to "let go" to give away or throw away EVERYTHING about you. It's not a constant reminder, it's simply a part of life. 

As time moves forward, I take a little here and a little there to shelters and other places I think some man will benefit from having "new" clothes even if there are some small signs of wear and use.

We've always given to others; it was always a part of our life, of who we were separately and together. 

This should be no different. 

And, if there remains any visible signs of everyday life as it used to be what difference is that from living with family heirlooms passed from generation to generation.

It is my life; it was our life. It hurts no one. It helps me.

And that has become a part of my mourning, as individual as I am and always have been. 

A long term widow?  A long term wife, mother and daughter.

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