Monday, April 26, 2010

The View Approaching Five

Every once in awhile I am shocked by the fact that Phil has been dead almost five years. This week I met several new people, and shared a bit of my widow story with each of them. Every time I told someone how long it has been since Phil died a little voice in my head asked, has it really been that long?

Believing that 56 months have passed since Phil flashed his beautiful smile at me is difficult when I can still clearly conjure the image of him laughing at a joke only he thought was funny. There are still moments now and then when I shake my head in disbelief that THIS is my life. When I hear a newly widowed person's voice I am taken back to a time when I could not imagine a life that did not include Phil. The kids and I speak often of his crazy tricks, ridiculous nicknames, and the fun-filled adventures he gleefully led for anyone he could talk into joining the game. All these memories recall a man overflowing with life. I still have a difficult time reconciling the larger than life image I have of the man I love with the daily reality that he still isn't coming home.

As I thought this week about the early stages of my own widowhood, I started taking stock of the ways my life has changed over the last five years. How do I view my widowhood now, and how does looking back make me feel?

The last five years have taught me that widowed people are warriors, and I am proud to be a widow warrior. I have fought despair, I have battled with depression, I have guarded my family with a fierce determination, and even in the face of a beast called grief, I did not quit. Over the past 56 months I have laughed more than I cried (which is a feat as you all know!); I have reached out more than I retreated; I have allowed my feelings to have a voice even when I didn't like what they had to say; I have tried new things, and taken some chances; I have risked loving again knowing that this love may also be lost; and I have allowed the lessons that loving Phil taught me to impact my daily life. Looking around me I have discovered that the view from year 4.8 is positive, hope filled, and actually, lovely.

There was a day some 1,680 days ago when I was certain this would not be the case. I am here to tell you that survival is possible, and that a life you may not be able to imagine right now is somewhere down the road. You get there by taking just one step at a time.


  1. The survival and battle imagery seems so common, and I feel odd b/c I don't feel I survived or did battle.

    The passage of time though ... he fades into the long ago anymore despite his impact on my life.

  2. Michele,

    Thank you for this message. I needed it right now in my 3 year 4 month old journey. I have just started to date. After I came home from a nice dinner out on Saturday night I felt more depressed then I have in months. He wasn't at all like my fun-loving, interested in everything husband. I'll keep going forward and praying that I can open my mind and heart to a new life. You are an inspiration to many on this road.

  3. Absolutely exquisite. Thank you for your inspiring truth.

  4. Wonderful - yes, we walk right through - not around it, not over it - widow warriors walking through it to a new life. Thank you for this inspiring post.

  5. So hard to live easy to relate to it. Thanks for voicing what many of us feel and have felt and for giving hope to those who are just beginning to comprehend that their lives have split open.

  6. Oh Michele! Beautiful post! A wonderful reminder for me as 2.0 approaches.

  7. I like the widow warriors - so many day's I feel like I'm battling. But I do know I'm making progress. Thank you for the words about 5 years. I'm finishing year one on Friday and feeling very shaky all of a sudden. I know nothing will change after Friday - but I'm so appreciative having found people with similar feelings who's thoughts help me through the day!

  8. Thank you for sharing and encouraging others.