Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Eat, Pray ......

..... and Love.
No, not the book.

But just those three small words.

I was looking at my copy of the book this morning, wondering what I was going to post about for WV.
And then I started thinking about those 3 words.
And about how small they are, but also about how much power and emotion has been packed into each of them since Jim died.

First ..... Eat.
I think that eating was my first voluntary/sometimes involuntary action to leave.
Eating became a huge issue ...... for everyone but me.
People kept insisting that I eat.
I would look at them (sometimes, but not most times) and think, "I can NOT believe that my body is still breathing on it's own.  Even THAT hurts.  And you want me to try to put something in my mouth?!"
Just the thought of that was enough to make me want to run to the bathroom.
At first it was annoying.
And then I started to get pissed.
Really, really pissed.
Yes, I know that everyone loved me and wanted the best for me and the fact that I lost 20 pounds in 2 weeks scared the crap out of them.
But Jim was dead.
I physically could not eat.
Not enough, anyway.
Not enough to please anyone.
I wasn't trying NOT to eat (although I guess subconsciously I could have been trying to starve myself to death, but it was never a thought).
I just couldn't.
Eating food made me sick.
For quite a while.
But I survived.
And slowly gained back my weight.

Eating is a huge topic among the people who love widows.
Either we don't eat enough.
Or we eat too much.

I think it's over rated ..... especially during grief.

The next word:  Pray

Wow .... that word has just recently stopped making my blood pressure rise.
First I must tell you that I am a Christian.  I have a deep faith in God and know that I wouldn't be here if I hadn't had that relationship.   I've known God longer than I knew Jim.
But .....
the 24 hours that Jim was in the hospital .... fine one day, seriously sick the next ..... I prayed.  And I never doubted that Jim would survive.  Never.
There were thousands, literally thousands, of people all over the world praying for him.  The waiting room was full of our friends and loved ones who were praying.  Our whole community (he was the president of our school board) was praying for him.  They even asked for prayers for him on our local Christian radio station.

And then ..... he died.  In surgery.
And I was beyond stunned.
Of course I was stunned to hear that he didn't make it .... when it never occurred to me that he wouldn't.
But I think I was more stunned at God.
I remember sitting in "that room" .... you know .... the one they make you go to so that the doctor can talk to you ...... the one you don't want to go in, but people almost carry you into (or maybe that was just me).
I sat in that room, with my children and our friends surrounding us (I think it was a big room) .... and sat face to face with the surgeon.  I remember him holding my hands and apologizing and telling me how everything went horribly wrong.
But the thing I remember most about those minutes ..... was me, thinking in my head .... to God, "What are You thinking??!!  WHAT THE HELL ARE YOU THINKING????!!!"  That's all I could think .... over and over and over again.  What the Hell was he thinking?  I could NOT do this.  This wasn't right and I was the wrong person for the job.
And my prayer life immediately changed.
It stopped for a while ..... which I know is normal.
I wasn't worried about it.  I knew it would come back.
But I also knew it would never be the same.
And it's not.
I still pray .... but I don't pray as specifically anymore.
Instead of praying for someone to be healed ..... I pray for their strength ..... whatever happens.
Yes, I suppose I still have some trust issues to overcome with God.
But I'm ok with that.
And so is He.

Prayer ...... what a box of dynamite that word contains.

And the last word:  Love

What is there left to say that we haven't all felt, experienced, lost, grieved for, read, been told about, etc?
Love .... another small word packed with more emotion that the world can sometimes hold.

I loved.
I was loved.
I am loved.
I continue to love.

I may never be loved again the way Jim loved me.
And I think I'm now OK with that.
But I think I'm OK with it only because ...... I had it.
And once you've had it ..... you realize, unfortunately, how very rare it actually is.
That discovery has made me sad for very many couples.

I don't know why I had it.
I didn't earn it.
I didn't demand it ..... because, of course .... you can't.
And I in no way deserved it.
But I was blessed to have it.
And I tried never to take it for granted, although of course I did every so often.
But I also thanked God every day for the gift of Jim.
And .... I still do.

Love kept me here.
Love for Jim, knowing he would want me to stay here.
Love for my children, who needed me more than they ever had before.
Love for my family and love for my friends ..... who ceaselessly worried about and cared for me.

It can make you eat.
It can make you not eat.
It can make you pray.
It can make you not pray.

Love ..... I think it's the most powerful word there is .... in any language.
Even though it's small in size.

It's big enough to make you keep on breathing, keep on crawling, keep on ..... just ..... keeping on.


I imagine those three small words have started a multitude of wars all over our world.
Each one packed with enough power to heal ..... or hurt ..... depending on how they are used .....

.... or misused.


  1. I am constantly awed by the fact that the WV blogs echo my thoughts so completely. This was an amazing post! Thank you for putting into words so eloquently what I have been feeling

  2. Hi Janine.

    Great post. These words likely resonate with everyone that will read it today. Food has become something I eat for nourishment, but rarely for enjoyment anymore. Prayer is much like you describe it. While I still hold a grudge at God, and I have chosen to express my faith very differently since Michael's death. Mostly I pray for generalized healing, and to one day have that full faith in God restored. And love. It is something I want to experience again in life. Having such a loving relationship with Michael, and being able to be with him during the end of his life, is so special to me. I don't that loving on that level will be easy to do, but at least I know right now that I am capable of loving.

    Thanks for your words.


  3. Lovely, Janine. And so very true. Thank you.

  4. so perfect.
    Matt and I had just been discussing how I tend to not eat under stress, and he said, "oh, I can always eat." The thought of food was repulsive to me for so many months. Amazing, as you said, what a big issue that becomes for other people.
    And prayer, definitely. I figure god knows me well enough to know why I have lost so much faith, and what it will take to open me back in again. That shock - that What Were You Thinking?! is just still so real and present for me. I doubt I will ever get that logic, if there is any.
    Thank you janine.

  5. Janine, I cried copious tears upon realizing that others have also been in "that room" and how vague and distorted the images are. Lovely post and many words of wisdom are included. It's so weird how much faith I had "before". Even though I had made the decision to pull life support I still remember being shocked when he actually died.

    My prayers are also not so specific anymore - it's a tough lesson to learn.

    Thanks so much for the lovely words...they offer comfort as I approach the dreaded first deathiversary.


  6. so much truth, thanks for writing.

  7. Wow! These words are so many of my thoughts! I could not put them into such an amazing blog, but yes, so many of them are how I feel or have felt. That's the amazing thing about Camp Widow too, is that you realize that your feelings/thoughts/emotions are soooo similar to other widows, and you feel normal, crazy, but normal :) Thank you for putting these into words and sharing with us. It truly is helpful on my journey to read this blog.

  8. Such a beautiful post. Thank you for sharing your heart here.

  9. Beautifully written...thanks very much for sharing!

  10. Another great post. I can relate in so many ways. I was so touched, so true. Thank you,

  11. Beautiful, Janine....
    The words: "I may never be loved again the way Jim loved me." hit me in the heart. It is so true, and a bitter pill to swallow. I love your wise view on thinking how lucky we were to have had the love at all.
    Thank you,

  12. Wow, I just found this site today, 2 months after my husband died. Your eloquence at describing where I'm at is lovely. The tears are falling and I'm grateful that others have been in this place and come through it..Eat, pray, love- my mantra to get me through the days now.