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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.


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