Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Oh, How I Wish All Of My Thoughts Would Start Running in the Same Direction. They're Causing A Traffic Jam.

I’m not working on what I’m supposed to be working on right now.  Shhhh...don’t tell.

I’ve had something on my mind all morning and I don’t really know why it’s been pressing on me so much.  But you know me...if I don’t vent I might explode and I don’t think that’s a headline any of us want to see.

“Widow Chick Spontaneously Combusts in Office Because of Thoughts She Couldn’t Get Down on Paper Fast Enough.”

Okay, okay...I’ll work on it.

I started thinking this morning about why I wanted to start theWiddahood.com.  And although this has been a labor of love...it was really born out of total frustration.

I started the Widow Chick Facebook page around June (I think) and by July we had around 200 people checking in every once in awhile.  I started to feel a motivation like I’d never felt before.  I felt a little lighter when I woke up every morning...mainly because I was making new friends who would always say, “I understand.”

No matter what my problem was, that was the answer I got.

Even when I would have down days, I would know that I had a place where I could go to find a friend.  I knew that even though I was coordinating the page, I didn’t have to be “up” all of the time and I found comfort in the knowledge that if I posted something about not feeling “quite right” I would have a few other people saying they felt the same.

My level of frustration started rising when people started asking me how they could connect with each other and I had no answer to give them.  There are other wonderful websites out there who can put people in touch with each other, but for some reason...it didn’t seem like enough to me.  You see...I know what it feels like to need to talk RIGHT NOW and it seemed like there wasn’t a place anyone could go and know that someone would be online any time of the day and they could talk or chat instantly.

And let me tell you...I don’t like not having the answer.

Then one day, I had 3 people I know well actually call me and ask me the same question:  “Where can I tell someone to go who wants to connect with other widows?” 

That’s right.  Three people.  In one day.  And once again...I didn’t have the answer.

My frustration finally peaked when someone posted a comment on the Widow Chick page about a Texas mayor, a widow, who had killed herself and her 19 year old daughter in mid July of 2010. 

Now, most of us will never know why someone has taken their own life or ended the life of someone else.  And this woman left no note indicating that the reason why she had done this was because she was a widow.  But most of us who know how low we can sink in the depths of grief and depression know that she didn’t do this because she was late paying her Visa bill.

I sat there and stared at that posting...angry, upset, and shaking.  Even now, when I think back...I still tear up. 

Why?  Why???  Didn’t she have anyone she could talk to?  Didn’t she have a friend she could go to and say, “I can’t go any lower.  I don’t know what to do”? 

And I knew, because at that point I had encountered so many people out there desperate to find a friend who could understand what they’ve been through...that she probably didn’t.

There are a lot of people out there who, for whatever reason, can’t really say what they’re feeling.  It may be because they don’t want their in-laws to read it.  Or someone at work.  Or post something while they’re really in the throes of grief...only to have it thrown back in their faces at some point. 

And I’m betting that a mayor can’t just go knocking on someone’s door and say, “I’m feeling completely alone and suicidal” without it getting out somehow.

I couldn’t stand it.  I literally couldn’t stand it.  I immediately called my best friend and said, “What if we made a place where someone could go?  What if we made it so that they didn’t have share any information if they didn’t want to?  What if they could make up their own name and vent, rant, and cry as much as they wanted to?  What if, when someone couldn’t sleep, they could get online any time and hear the words we all want to hear?”

I understand.

The second the words left my mouth, he said two words:  “Do it.”

Don’t get me wrong.  I know that a good friendship can’t take the place of professional help when it’s needed.  Lord knows I don’t know where I’d be without my therapist.  And if someone is really low...sometimes a friend doesn’t have the resources or know-how to get you out of that slump.  You can’t put a price on good professional help when you need it.

But it’s also nice to have a friend who really understands what you’ve been through who says, “I love you and I’ll always be here for you.  But you need more help than I can give you right now.”

I couldn’t stand the thought that some people didn’t even have that.

Now, taking on a project like this is easier said than done.  To make theWiddahood.com the way I wanted it...had never been done before.  All of the elements of theWiddahood are out there...but they’re on separate websites.  No one had ever really created a website that had all of the things we have combined. 

And no one has all of the things I still want to do.

But I’ll tell you what really sealed the deal for me.  While I was going through the process of interviewing and hiring the people I needed, I sat down with a web designer who was probably a little younger than my mom.  She listened to me as I explained my vision, taking notes, and quietly nodding her head.  At the end of the discussion she looked at me and said...

“You know...I was widowed in my 20s.  This is personal.  I really want to work on this project with you.”

As I sat with an attorney, going over the finer points of what it would take (and cost...OUCH) to get this done, she sat there quietly in a stuffy conference room in her business suit and took notes...she really didn’t say much at all.  At the end of the meeting, I thought, “She’s going to tell me this is a terrible idea.”

But she suddenly looked up at me and quietly said, “You know?  Every once in awhile I have a client who comes to me with an idea and I feel like there is something bigger than us handing it to them and saying, ‘Take this.  It’s what you’re meant to do.’  That’s what I feel is happening.”

I felt it too.  I still feel it...only in a different way.

This time it’s me saying it to you.  Take this.  Run with it.  I’ve created the space but you can help me create the network.  TheWiddahood is only as strong and as powerful as we make it. 

This project...it’s not mine anymore. 

It’s ours.

For more blogs and articles from other widow(er) writers, join us at www.theWiddahood.com!  

© Catherine Tidd 2011