Monday, November 23, 2009

Being Okay With Me

Last week was very difficult. More than one person took issue with the way I handled an issue or a choice, and one of the questionable decisions involved my opinion about the man who killed my husband. Finding out four years later that my choice was not appreciated hit me hard. And I found myself floundering in the abyss of grief once again.

Being widowed for over four years has provided me with a certain grounding. Most of the time I feel confident about the person that I have become since losing my husband, and my post-death self recognizes that life is too short to waste time trying to please everyone. I don't hold grudges, I say I love you (even when I am angry or annoyed) often, and I attempt to honor the good in myself and others. These are things that death has stamped on my heart, and lessons that have been reinforced the hard way. So, when my world began to spin wildly this week I was taken by surprise.

My solid footing was shaken by the idea that someone doesn't think I did right by Phil. Having spent every minute of the last 449 days in an effort to leave no doubt that Phil's life mattered, that my love for him remains, and that my life is a reflection of the many things he taught me just by being himself...this was devastating news. I cried, I reflected, I questioned myself (both the old me and the new me), and I felt that awful need to curl up in the fetal position and give in to despair.

Then I remembered. I can't please everyone. Those simple words gave me the strength to stand up for myself. For some people nothing I do will ever be good enough. No memorial to Phil will ever embody his entire spirit. There are people who will never understand the depth of my love for him. Every choice I make as a widowed woman will be questioned by someone. In some circles the fact that I am in love again will mean that I am over Phil. I am certain that people around me will wonder if I will be done with this widow thing now that I have a plan for my future.

The answer is NO I won't be done with this widow thing. I am a widow. I will always be a widow. I will continue to honor the love I have for one amazing man, even as I love another one. I am certain to do some things wrong. I may not honor Phil in the same way others do, but I will do my best to remember the lessons death has taught me, and to act on them in my daily life.

And no matter what anyone else thinks of my actions, my choices, my work, or my words~I will be able to sleep at night, because I will be true to myself. Phil would be proud.

**This is a photo of me with my nephew Miles. Who could give in to despair when looking at that adorable face??**


  1. Beautiful.Forget other people's opinion!!Truly what matters is that YOU feel/think/try to honour Phil the way it should be done.NOBODY can say you are not doing it properly,you are doing it the best way you feel it should be done.I am sure that he would appreciate it and agree with you.and this is coming from someone who is not a widow.My thoughts are with all of you.

  2. I'm not a widow, as you know. But I encounter this sort of thing from others very often. Luckily, my mother knew this would happen, warned me about it, and prepared me for it. This helps me when I find myself betrayed and/or abandoned by someone I thought was a friend (or family).

    There is a great Janis Ian song called "From Me to You". Part of it goes like this:

    Those people who surround you
    Only want to see you weak enough to crawl
    They'll lie for you
    Decide for you
    And buy up all your rights & all your wrongs
    And they'll try to stop your singing
    In the middle of your song
    For they do not want you free
    And they will not keep you strong
    But only drag you down
    In the hole they're coming from

    That Janis... She has a way with words. ;-)

    Hang in there.

  3. I'm glad you came to that conclusion so quickly - as you are exactly right.

    I had a similar experience last month when I was accused of 'exploiting' my husband and 'intruding on his experience' by writing about his last months of life, and subsequently his death, on my blog.

    It hurt beyond belief, I lost a great deal of sleep over it, and I shed many tears - and I don't need any extras at this point.

    Thank you for your honesty, and for reminding us of that which is so true. It can still be challenging to bear even with that knowledge, but realizing that does make it much easier. (as did the knowledge that my husband would have been SO angry at the person in question . . .)


  4. This post resonated loudly with me....thanks for your sharing. Although my husband has been gone for over 16 years and our last child graduated high school this past June, I still very much remember (and occasionally still experience) the "wavse of grief" fairly often. And yes, people's opinions of how a person ought to be feeling, doing, coping, etc. can be extremely hurtful.

    I, too, have "moved on", so to speak, by having a wonderful boyfriend of 5 yrs, but I will always be married to my late husband, even as I may marry again. That seems to be a difficult concept for many people to wrap their minds around, unless they've gone through it themselves.....the "don't judge others until you've walked a mile in their moccasins" idea?

    Every life event brings a blessing, even if it's not always recognized as such. Being someone who is extremely empathetic, I also have the penchant for caring too much what people think. Going through this journey of widowhood has helped me become stronger and learn to not care as much about the opinions of others. Being true to my own self is a gift that continually gives. Helping others to give themselves permission to do the same is empowering to everyone involved.

    Thank you for your eloquent post and reminding all of us that...

    Love doesn't die... AND Life goes on.