Skip to main content

how i've surived and how you can too.

it's funny, there are hundreds of women that are thrust into this role every day, the widow role.  maybe becoming a single mom, maybe just marked by the death of a spouse.  and somehow i have found myself already eight months out from it.  i look back and think "how did i survive?" even though, in all honesty, i have a very clear idea of how it was done.  i've been wanting to write this for a while (because i know you haven't heard from me much recently and are just WAITING for more posts - ha!)
because although i have done this with the grace of jackie kennedy i know there are so many women out there who are just waiting for my sage advice on this subject matter.

so in no particular order, here are my top steps for surviving as a widow written entirely from my perspective and bias

(1) focus on the immediate moment.  immediate moments can be your saving grace.  my life is pretty much still really freaking hard, but i pull myself back.  right now i am sitting in starbucks, listening to music, i've got my kids christmas presents wrapped (PTL) and you know what, it's kosher.

(2) do what you can to get yourself proper sleep.  some days i was able to just meditate and have a cup of tea and calmly lull myself to sleep, some days i slammed four beers or a bottle of wine and passed out.  it just depends on how i am doing.  not all of my habits are healthy right now, and some of them will continually be evaluated down the line, but right now, just cut yourself some slack.

(3) remember there is no right way to grieve and no right way to be a widow.  this one is hard, because your mind can be your own worst enemy.  i have found myself at times feeling relief, happiness, and excruciating pain.  don't be hard on yourself for your feelings or stuff them away telling yourself they are wrong.  death is a complicated thing, something we do not entirely understand.  when i lean into my feelings and allow them to be expressed fully within myself, it is then i discover the freedom to release them.

(4) be kind to yourself.  in all matters.  if you don't want to talk to people, don't talk to them, if you want a cupcake for dinner, do it.  i pay for convenience in all forms now, precut vegetables, juice boxes, frozen meals, more takeout.  it's just reality for now.  i do whatever i can to make my job easier, because in all reality, my job is still really freaking hard and i am still really wounded.

(5) when you are ready, challenge yourself.  i recently took my kids on a disney cruise by myself.  it was something i just had to do.  i had to prove to myself i could still give them happy memories.  i had to prove to myself i could still travel.  i had to prove to myself i could do something really hard still.  and i had to prove to myself that who i was before everything was still there.  i am an all in type of person, sure an overnight trip to the beach would have been easier but that's not me.  i take every challenge to the highest level possible, and that girl was still there.

(6) find something that grounds you and do it.  my personal recommendation is some time of exercise because the benefits are just HUGE.  for me it's running, but anything works.  pottery, music, poetry, find it and HANG ONTO it.  when you are down and depressed, do your thing.  there were moments i was like forest, i just had to put on my shoes and run until i felt connected to the earth.  one day it took four miles before i even felt like i was on this planet.  

(7) your timelines is your timeline.  you wanna go on a date, do it.  you wanna flirt and talk to guys and make sure you aren't totally repulsive to the opposite sex, do it.  those parts of you didn't die just because your husband did.  you aren't ready and you wanna hole up with ice cream in your pajamas- that's cool too.  you do you girlfriend.

(8) find those people that let you do you and HANG ONTO THEM FOR DEAR LIFE

know that you can come out of the other side of this.  we all got scars girl, we all got them.  but keep pushing, you can do it.

much love.


Popular posts from this blog

treat it.

to everyone who has never been touched by suicide,

i get it.  i used to be like you too.  here are the most common views of suicide i either heard or personally held growing up:

that person is selfish
that person is crazy
that person is a coward
they wanted to die
they were depressed for a long time and finally went through with it
there are always warning signs, so people know it's coming
that it's preventable

there is this social stigma around depression, suicide, etc.  i can't tell you what it is like to not be able to talk openly about my husband's death.  to see people either openly or privately distance themselves from my pain, search for reasons that he did it beyond the fact that he was ill and we didn't catch it in time, connect dots that aren't connected.  all so they can convince themselves that they will never know the pain, and i honestly hope they don't- but it's possible they will.  i know people whose lives…

life we expect over life we're given

one of the undying truths i have discovered through this process is that few of us live the life we imagine.  sure, some do.  but most have speed bumps thrown their way throughout life.  whether it's a divorce or death or financial insecurity, many start over, many rebuild, many take stock throughout their thirties, forties, fifties and think "well this isn't where i thought i would be"

granted... all things considered, mine is more tragic than most.  even outside of these most recent events my life has seen its fill of trying circumstances.  by the age of eight i had seen abuse and death in my family.  not exactly what you would hope for, but certainly it has given me the coping mechanisms i have now.  

as i navigate these next steps, the great unknown, there are many that have opinions and voices into my life.  everyone wants what's best for me and everyone has their own idea of what that is.
people... i don't even know what that is.  but i know what i want…

dating in 2016, also huge LOL at even posting this.

Half of me can’t even believe I am writing this post.  Dating is gruesome, isn’t it?  Like most of life, I suppose.
The weekend that Jim died I was standing there, a wreck, while my phone was blowing up.  Alayne goes “who is texting you so much?”
I respond “oh those are just my tinder matches” 
and I know that not everybody gets the hilarity and all I can say is until you are in the fire, you don’t see the need for a respite from getting burned.
anyways, i was talking to my therapist about dating and i commented “single, widowed mom, sole custody of two kids… it’s a tough sell” and it is.  
i have this story that literally leaves people speechless.  most people when they hear it don’t even really know how to interact with me much less get involved romantically.  and i know eventually it won’t be such a big part of my identity, this widowed, grieving mom, but right now it is and if i want anything to do with the person then it’s like they have to know it.  
again, it’s a tough sell.