The LIFE of a Widow(er)

The life of a widow(er) these are just some of the comments you see from the young folks in this predicament….

***I just want someone to care again
***I just want to cook for someone again
***I need a hug
***I am not a good enough single parent
***Why doesn’t he or she understand how long its been since I have dated…
***Why am I not enough
***Why did they go and leave me
***Why did that friend say they cared about me and walk away
***Why did someone just tell me to move on its only been x-months

********* I AM HAVING A BAD DAY AND I HAVE NO ONE TO TELL!!!!!!

(and for anyone who is about to say you have friends/family…. that is VERY different.

These are some awesome people stuck in an unfortunate club. Learn compassion. Watch what you say. They are doing the best they can, without the person they expected to love them forever.
Give some grace to the mistakes, brain farts, and emotions that come.

Imagine how lonely it is and how hard it is to get back into dating. How much courage it takes to even try. Imagine how it feels when people take advantage and use you for what they think a widow(er) is or has to offer.

Off my soap box now. This message was triggered by a man in our group who said “I am a good dad but even a good daddy makes a horrible mother.” THIS IS A REAL MAN!

Reflections on my birthday

So today is my 37th birthday. I typically celebrate on Dec 8th because my grandfather passed away on the 9th of Dec. As I sit here enjoying a day to relax, drink coffee, do some shopping, and prepare for a Christmas party tonight, I thought it would be a good time to do a blog entry. As I look outside the first snowflakes of the season are falling around my backyard.

Last night a few close friends got together at my house. We went for a few drinks at a local bar to listen to an acoustic set by Johnny Orr, a local talent. It was a very nice calm evening. Our original plans were to have a wild night out in downtown Raleigh at the 80’s and 90’s bar. The weather was cold rainy and unforgiving. We will postpone this part of the celebration until next Friday. This means an extra party for me!

I was never a big birthday party person. I am not the center of attention girl at all. I used to throw Matt some wonderful birthday celebrations (even surprise ones). I was just thinking about how I surprised him with his parents coming to our apartment once for a birthday party, he was in a foul mood but he did not know why I was all twitchy. I was trying to get them there without him knowing.  I did not usually have people over or go out specifically for my birthday. After losing Matt unexpectedly,  I realized that a birthday is one more excuse to see friends and live life joyfully. So I will take that extra party and do just that!

I am really blessed with amazing friends I have in my life. Moments like the holidays and birthdays are hard for the widow and single community. Both of which I am the unlucky member of. Friends truly help to support you in these tough times.

Last years birthday saw me going under contract for a house (the very one I am writing from right now). I recall buying it unceremoniously and then crying into my burger and beer at Gatehouse Tavern with my parents and friend Laura. I also went to therapy that day knowing I needed it. All I wanted last year was to survive the day without making a complete fool of myself and not get too many pity looks. I wanted to find a moment to stop crying. I wanted to be stronger. I did the best I could.

All I want on my birthday this year is to be hugged by someone special who cares about me. Someone who can look at me with a smile and say it’s getting better Dana, it is going to be ok.  It is not need, I do not need anything. It is a want. I want to share my time with someone, getting to know one another. I want to go on fun dates, sit home and watch tv after cooking together, talk about random things, and develop a friendship that turns into something special. I want someone to take care of me for the first time in my life. I want companionship. And of course on a day like my birthday I am going to assess and take stock of my life.

In this new life I am living, I am not sure if it is harder to love someone who is gone or like some who is right there but unavailable. I do know just writing that sentence has me filled with guilt (ask any widow who tries to move forward and they will say guilt is a step in this). You see when someone is gone you have no ability to change it you just scream, cry, punch, and grieve. You never stop loving your deceased husband. You do learn how large your heart is and how it has the capacity to let someone new in and start to beat again. When someone is physically available and emotionally not all you can do is offer compassion, space, distance and time. The difference is in the 2nd situation you have hope. A hope that someday your paths cross again, and a real attempt can be made to get to know each other with clearer minds. Sometimes the person you want around you the most has to be distanced from, because they do not care enough about you. The fact is if they felt the same they would be there on your birthday and taking you to the fancy party tonite.

I wanted this day to be much different. I wanted this life to look much different.

Just once in what has been a very hard time, I wanted to put a Win in my corner.

You should be here….

Most people who choose to give advice to Widows go home to someone everyday who is there to talk to them, hold them, and care for them. Believe me I appreciate the sentiment and know you are trying to help. Just realize you cannot really understand a young suicide widow unless you are one. I would not wish this on anyone. A few people have reminded me that being alone in this world is not the worst thing. That I do not need any man to complete me or show my worth. They say I have to love myself alone first. Over the past 13.5 months I have done that. I probably spend more time working on my mind, body, and improving myself than most people do. I have learned to love myself for who I am, faults and weaknesses and all. It happens really quickly when you have no other choice but to move forward, dig deep, and trust yourself. When you see your strength and ability to survive tragedy, you quickly know who you are and love yourself for it. The woman I am today is amazing, outstanding, loving, compassionate, passionate, thoughtful, and unbreakable. I am a suicide survivor and a widow warrior. I am a fierce friend and family member. I am a fur-baby mom. I am strong AF.

So tonight I am going to put on my fancy party dress, grab my fellow single widow friend Elizabeth, and go to my favorite bar. We will rock this Christmas party where I know very few people. We are two strong, single, independent, amazing ladies who support each other. We both value having a strong and good man in our lives we just haven’t found one to keep up with us yet and know they want to take us off the market! So cheers to me for making it through this year. I truly hope 37 is my best age.

The Holiday Season for Widow Warriors

This time of year is all parties, couples, and families. I have two parties on my birthday, Saturday. I will be going alone to them both. When you are alone it is a tough time. You reflect on your past relationships or in my case the loss of Matt. It does not mean make bad or desperate choices because you find yourself alone during the holiday season. It is the time of year to take stock of who you are and what you have.

Do your best to do you, love you, and the right person will take notice. They will be magnetically drawn to you for how much you respect and love who you are and how you live your life with passion and enjoyment. The right person wants nothing more than to be with you. The right person could not conceive of hurting you, leaving, or making you sad. The right person compliments all that you are and makes you shine even brighter. The right person cannot stand to be next to you without being affectionate, smiling at you, admiring you, and giving you a feeling of security and safety.

This actually applies to all people not just Widows. The holidays are emotional and filled with extra time away from jobs. Use this time to clean house (literally and figuratively), remove clutter, clear your mind, and finally tap into your needs, wants, desires, and goals for the future.

I consider this the time to reflect, think, ponder, evaluate, and shall we dare to even say… dream. Much like your performance review at work, I evaluate how I did against my goals for the year, and list new goals for the following year. I am not a resolution person. Most people abandon resolutions immediately after they write them down! I am very goal oriented.

Goals of 2017

  1. Survive the one year mark without Matt
    • (don’t give up/stay alive/keep job/maintain friendships)
  2. Get back to working out
  3. Get my body back and sexy
  4. Take better care of myself
  5. Learn Patience and Grace for myself in my new world as a Widow
  6. Walk the dogs more

I feel I have accomplished many of these goals.

Areas for Improvement:

  • Walk the dogs more
  • Have more grace and patience for myself this is a hard experience.

Current Goals for 2018 (work in process)

  1. Be more Assertive when it comes to personal relationships
    1. With men be clear on what I want and accept nothing less
    2. Don’t be afraid to ask for help/rely on people/or demand respect
    3. With friends that take advantage, are unkind, or create stress and anxiety cut them loose or talk to them about the behavior.
  2. Become Yoga Teacher Certified (already signed up)
  3. Formally work on my book proposal
  4. Walk the dogs more
  5. Consider public speaking about Grief, Loss, Widowhood, Suicide Survivorship
  6. Attract an emotionally available man into my life who wants nothing more than to be with me.

I would love to hear what your goals were/are and how you are doing on them.

 

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Note about this blog post this entry is inspired by the widow groups hearing all of our collective stories about the holiday season, putting up trees and putting away stockings of LH. It is inspired by them and the collective dating stories. Widows get treated horrible in the dating community from all I see.
This is really a part one because I think there is more to tell here. It is also inspired by them because of how much effort that the Widows put into GOALS and improvement of self. We are strong and mighty and supportive of each other!!

Simply This

I thought I found something that would evolve with patience and time. I guess we were reading two different books. I thought chapter one had just begun. He is still reading the prequel, who knew?! He kept acting like he wanted to know the ending of the sequel. Fostering confusion. I was slowing down. I was truly being there in the moment. I enjoyed the pages one at a time. I am pretty certain he is going to abandon the book completely and leave it on the shelf to collect dust. I guess it’s hard to know if it’s that or if the book is being thoughtlessly traded for another story.

Either way I cannot idly sit by and watch it hurts too much. Maybe I will watch a movie instead.

“If it’s meant to be it’ll be, baby if it’s meant to be.”