Saturday, April 16, 2011

My Worst Year Was ______.

You know...I always hesitate before I write about something hard I’m going through.  There is always a fear that a new widow will read it and think, “My gosh...I’m just trying to get through today.  This woman has been at it for almost four years and she’s still having a hard time???”

I’m always worried about it because when I was newly widowed, I became friends with this woman I had an instant connection with who was about a year ahead of me in the Grief Game.  As I neared my 1 year mark, so proud of myself that I had actually made it, she made a comment to me that just about shattered my world.

“The second year is the hardest.”

I hate to sound like a 16-year-old, but...WTF???  I had waded through birthdays, tread water through holidays, just about drowned in the every day...and now you’re telling me it’s going to get hard?

Yeah.  Thanks.

I swore that when I started the Widow Chick support group on Facebook and later launched would never say that.  Because the truth may not be true.  Grief is different for everyone.  For some, the first year is the hardest.  For others...they may sail through until the 10th.  You may have very well had your worst year and it's behind you.  But if you think that the worst is in front of might be.  Because that's what you're expecting.

Bottom line:   

You should never listen to or read about what another widow is going through and think it’s absolutely going to happen to you.

Because they’re not you.

Our hardest times are as different as we are.  I don’t share your birthday.  And even if I did...that may not be the hardest day for you.  You may have more memories on New Years Eve or President’s Day or...Monday.  All of these things are different. 

We’re all different.

As I’ve always said...grief is a tricky bitch.  Just when you think you’ve pummeled her into the ground, she sometimes sticks out her foot with her gross, gnarly toes and trips you up. 

I know I should put it in a more poetic way, but I’m tired so that’s all I got.

Being’s not who you are.  It’s where you are right now.  And some days, you’re more widowed than others.   Some days, you can actually function like a normal human being.

And’re tripping some stranger at Wal-Mart with your own gnarly toes.  Just ‘cause you feel like it.

Yup.  I get it.’s something to get used to. 

It’s kind of like a new relationship. 

I’m pretty sure you didn’t move in with your significant other the moment you said “hello.”  They took some getting used to.  Even if it was a quick eventually figured out what life was going to be like from day to day.

I mean, really.  Remember when you were first together with your significant other?  And the feelings were so intense?  What you were experiencing was so new.  It was all you thought about.  It just completely consumed you. dated for awhile.  You got to know each other.  You were more comfortable.

Finally the relationship part of it settled in.  You didn’t really think about were just in it.  Occasionally, feelings from when you were first together would pop up and surprise you.

Well...flip it.

When the loss first happens, it’s there.  It’s in your face.  It’s all you can think about.  Every decision you make is based on that new relationship.

Then it settles in a little.  You start figuring out its quirks and how it operates.  But instead of bringing you roses, it’s playing songs on the radio at inopportune times.  It sneaks up behind you to give you a “hug” when you least expect it.  And even though it never did the dishes, you’ve figured out by now that it never will. 

Sooner or later, it stops shaving and you don’t really think about it.  It farts in bed, tells you what it doesn’t want for dinner but doesn’t offer a solution, and goes out with its friends without clearing it with you.

It’s kind of here to stay.

Eventually the newness wears off.  And just like any relationship...that happens it its own time.  Could be a year.  Could be a week.  Could be a decade.  Or for may always seem new.  It’s just all about where you are.

Where my analogy fails to help is with the mortgage.  ‘Cause Grief never stepped in and offered to pay half.

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© Catherine Tidd 2011


  1. Thank you so much for your reminder that being widowed is not who I am but where I am. Tonight especially I really needed to hear that.

  2. Yes, widowhood is where I am. But it is also not where I ever wanted to be. Learning my way to another place (now, just what and where is THAT place!!!???) is hard work every hour, every day. Your posts make it a less lonely search. Thank you.

  3. Thank you. Hearing that the 2nd year was worse made me crazy. I just couldn't imagine anything worse than what I had already been through.

  4. The "2nd year is the hardest" boogeyman is a pet peeve of mine. Year two was the year I remarried. It was not a downer of a year. I think for those who haven't moved on focus-wise might be in for a let down b/c the first anniversary is built up to be such a finish line, but overall, the 2nd year thing is all in the perspective - a self-fulling prophecy. Anyone who is selling you there personal experience as a guidepost for all widows, should be taken with a lot of salt.

  5. I'm in the middle of year two. I'm at one and a half. Last year was harder for me. Much, much harder. My brain has rebooted. I can function again. I'm not crying all the time anymore. The grief is not crushingly overwhelming anymore. It's still there, of constant companion...and I still have moments when it hits me harder. But last year was worse than this year is.

    It really is different for everybody. I have a friend who said that it hit her at three months in. For me, I was barely functional my first three basket case...started to regain function in month three. Everybody is different.

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  7. I re-wrote my post as I didnt like how I worded a couple of things, after a good night's cry and sleep .....I am 56 yrs old and just one week away from the 2nd anniversary of the sudden death of my husband. I was searching on the 'net to try to find someone or something that could explain why I am feeling so much more depressed now than I have been since day one. Hearing that "year 2" is harder actually made me feel better tonight as it told me I am not alone in it...but you are right, it is different for each of us. My husband was disabled and I was his hands and his feet. In other words, I was sole provider for all his needs...physical, mental and financial....for 17 years. For the first year, I think I denied myself the healing power of open grieving. I am a quiet, private person and I don't show my very inner feelings at all, even to my self. I kept busy with helping my adult daughter thru this period and threw my self into my job...continuing my life as a supporter of others. Now nearing the end of this 2nd year, it has finally truly hit me....the extent of my loss. I guess I am going thru the grieving process in a different order?? But, hearing someone else say that the 2nd year is the hardest tells me that there is hope! That perhaps now I can start to open the door back to life...that I deserve to carry on with my life and while I will always love him and never forget my life with him, I WILL start to heal into a new way of life.
    The hardest part of the entire journey is that we had moved to a new town not long before he passed....and I dont have the support of nearby friends. Blogs such as this one have been a super source of comfort. I, like all the rest of you, will survive! "You never know how strong you are until strong is the only choice you have."