Monday, October 22, 2012

Flying Solo

Years ago, when I started writing this blog, I swore I would do it honestly.  I would write about my life as a widow - the ups, downs, changes, and what I learned from it all.  And in those early years, people related to those posts because they were raw at the beginning of my journey.

Now that I'm past the 5 year mark, I find that less people can relate to what I have to say.  In the beginning throes of grief, so many of the fundamental elements are the same for us all.  And as we move further away from that dreaded day, our lives expand, becoming more complicated and, therefore, more our own and less for everyone else.

But I still write.  Mainly because I can't help it.  I've given up on the idea that people read it and use it as sort of a diary.  Because this blog has been a map of my life and I need it more than anyone else.

Last week I ended a 3 and a half year relationship.  It wasn't without drama, but it was for the simple fact that it wasn't working.  No one did anything wrong and neither party was a bad person.  It just happened.

It happened.

I'm wondering if that's the hardest kind of break-up - the kind where you can't say that someone else was horrible.  The kind that you have to admit the basics aren't there. What I am starting to understand about that kind of parting is that it makes it harder to explain to other people when both sides of the relationship are basically good in their own way.  Just maybe not good together.

So here I am...over 5 years since my husband died.  And for over half that time I've been in this relationship in which I've invested not only my heart but my precious time and visions for the future.  The other party asked at one point, "What the hell is wrong with you?"

And I had no answer.

I spent the beginning of my widowhood afraid of being alone.  Insecure with myself, my baggage, and what I thought I didn't have to offer I needed someone to tell me that, yes, I was worth something.  That I was dynamic and down-to-earth at the same time.  To give me worth when, for some reason, I felt like I had none. 

It's strange to say that becoming a widow probably made me feel as abandoned as someone else might feel going through a divorce.  But it's true.

So now what?  Here I am, single for the first time since 2009.  The kids have lost the only father figure they really remember because they were so young when my husband died.  There have been tears and hearts broken that I hope will mend.  There are things around the house that I don't know how to fix that I was once dependent on my husband for, then a boyfriend, and now...who?

I guess that would be me.

If there's one thing I know about myself at this point is that I can be alone. Yes, I was in a relationship for a while, but I was alone before that.  If I don't know how to fix it, I know who to call.  I know where the plunger is.  I know how to start a lawn mower.

These are all vast improvements from my early widow years.

All I can think is that with every heartbreak - whether it's from death or the loss of a relationship - there is something to be learned.

It could be what we want.

It could be what we miss.

Then again, it might just be what we find out about ourselves through the barrel rolls of life.



Widow Chick (aka, Catherine Tidd) is the owner of www.theWiddahood.com and the author of the upcoming memoir Confessions of a Mediocre Widow (Jan. 2014).  She is also a writer for The Denver Post's Mile High Mamas and a contributor to several books on grief and renewal.

6 comments:

  1. I find myself in a similar situation... I've been a widow for 11 years and was in a 4 year relationship that ended recently... there were issues with the boyfriend that I couldn't live with any longer... but as i sit here 6 months later...(I promised myself a year off of men) and realize that this time it's my choice to be single... when I was widowed at 30 with 3 kids (11, 8, and 3 weeks) it was so out of my control... I'm sure those of us widowed realize that so much of life is out of our control... I don't know... I didn't date until 6 years after the death of my husband because i didn't want my daughter to think of any other man as her father... but she still experienced a terrible loss at the end of this relationship... One reason my last relationship had troubles was I was so independent! I didn't need a man to take care of me... and he had a hard time with that! I can do some basic things around the house... but for the things i can't... I have a handyman on speed dial!! You will land on your feet! Enjoy the time just being a mom to your children!

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  2. Thank you for writing. I think that beyond the loss of our loved ones and the grief of not seeing them or feeling them again, there is the grief for us, for who we thought we were, who we used to be; once someone so profoundly linked and connected to you is lost we can't help but wonder if we fly solo from now on (not by choice), if we will find it again, or if we are worth of being found again.

    I wish you the best.

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  3. I emailed my dating coach about my reservations regarding a wanna-be beau. This very-newly minted widower seems to not want to "play the field." I wrote that widower may wake up one morning six months from now and realize he "could have done better. Or that he's missing his second chance to sow his wild oats."
    Dating coach replied: Even if he "wakes up" in 6 months and heads off to another, it would have (hopefully) been a 6 month period in which you had some fun and shared some interesting activities - I think it is a better option than spending all your time with 2 cats...

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  4. I relate to you very much, and appreciate all that you share and write about. Sending you peace and love for your heart. You have done one of the hardest things after being widowed - willingly leaving a man who is alive. I think it shows great gumption and conviction of your sense of self. You are amazing and I appreciate you. Hang in there. You're finding your path, you always do. <3

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  5. Thank you for your honest description of widowhood. You have inspired me. You have told me it will get better and now honestly say sometimes it is just rough. Eitherway I get tired of these blogs that make everything seem so damn perfect. Life isn't perfect. If it was, we wouldn't be widows.

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  6. "All I can think is that with every heartbreak - whether it's from death or the loss of a relationship - there is something to be learned." There is. And the thing is, as a widow, we are emerging http://www.familyis.org/blogs/widow-remarried/2012/10/24/emerging-and-not-know-who-you-are/ We are not what we were before and I'm not quite sure we know who we are becoming but we hope.

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