Friday, November 26, 2010

not all bad

Photo from here...

When we think of being widowed, we most often think of the sadness, the loss and the loneliness created in the wake of our loss. We reflect on what once was. We imagine and recreate what could have been 'if only'. We long to be transported back in time to when life seemed sweeter and kinder.
Rarely do we think of the blessings we have gained. The lessons we have learned. The better people we have become.
I know that since Jeff died, I take the positives in my life less for granted. This is not to say that I don't still grumble like a petulent child when life doesn't provide what I feel it should. But I am certainly more aware of the amazing and awe-filled things that those touched by trauma are gifted with. I notice the small crystalline patterns created in the dog's water dish and marvel at their beauty. I realize that I am either going crazy or have been struck by some seemingly silly, glowing warmth that makes me....grateful that there is still breathtaking beauty in the world.
I realize now just how lucky I was to have found such love in my life and even when we argued over who's way was the 'correct' way to load the dishwasher, I was blessed.
I feel the gift of knowing that life does not revolve around 'what' but 'who'. This fact was probably known to me before losing Jeff....but not internalized. I still have the occasional longing for a pair of coveted gumboots, but I realize that in 15 years those same boots may lay lifeless and forgotten in my shoe rack....and those who I actually love may be lifeless as well....but certainly not forgotten.
I feel a peace that I did not once possess. I know that I cannot change much of what happens in the world or my life. Events happen. Losses occur. I cannot dictate these happenings. I can only control my own actions. This brings my soul a form of solace. Worrying will not change what may happen. I can only face what has happened.
Although life is less sweet without my love sharing it with me, it is sweetened somewhat with the realizations and epiphanies my loss has opened my eyes to. And I am grateful for these blessings.


  1. Very nicely stated. I lost my husband five months ago. It was not until I started reading books on grief and loss that I truly understood that what I was going through was universal.
    I am very grateful for the 34 years we were together, both good time and bad, and the many warm memories I will keep in my heart forever.
    The one thing I really have a hard time with is being with "couples". I always feel the loneliness and awkwardness of being the odd one out. It is something I am trying to get through.

  2. It is so wonderful to experience healing after the loss of my husband of 40 years! I spent Thanksgiving alone yesterday due to bad weather that cancelled my travel plans. But to my delight, I had a good day alone. Grief is not something you can control; it just hits you. But after two years of grieving, I had the gift of healing yesterday, and I am so thankful!

  3. Beautifully said. I appreciate your point of view- it was just the refreshing sentiment I needed to read today after I felt so glum yesterday. Thank you.

  4. Wonderfully said. I know I cannot control what will happen in the future but my actions will help. I've learned these things. I do long for the good days. I've been posting our Hawaii pictures from 2008 on facebook and using them for my profile pic. It gives me comfort to look at those happy times. In a way I feel lucky in that my mom and my sister are single, and I know several single ladies either widowed or divorced and we try to have dinner and support each other. On the other hand, I was invited to a Christmas dinner with our old gang (so glad they didn't leave me out just becuase I no longer have a spouse). I could bring someone, but decided I wanted them all to myself. This grieving process does go up and down, and in some ways I am learning to live with it and know that it will always be there in some way - a small thought or memory or angry that he couldn't kick his habit. But my life goes on. I lost Len this year in Feb, and now am losing my job. I know it is up to me to move ahead, find a new job and maybe even move. It will be hard and I have mixed feelings, but when you have no choice then you just do it.

  5. Thank you - the reminder to see the simple beauty around me was sorely needed. It's been just 2 months for me and the loneliness sometimes surprises me with its power. I don't yet know who I am now that I am alone - I was part of a couple for 41 years and also his caregiver for the last 4. I know I'll figure it out eventually.

  6. "life does not revolve around the "what" but the "who" true. Beautifully said. I am sometimes brought to my knees by the epiphanies. It is a beautiful and tragic thing living with grief and loss. thank you for writing.

  7. Julie Richards DiBeneNovember 26, 2010 at 3:21 PM

    Words to live by"Worrying will not change what will happen,I can only face what has happened." Thank You Jackie for this and the chuckle it brought when I read about You & Your Jeff & the dishwasher. I used to wait until Jeffrey finished loading it and left the kitchen, then I would reload it the "right" way!! Thanks again for sharing

  8. Jackie, Great post! I agree with you. I appreciate the moments of some joys. And your view of the little things change so much. The gift we will give to others is being truly appreciative of the little things they do for us. I use to worry that when I was ready to pursue another relationship, that I would not be giving them all of me, because some part will always belong to Rob, but then I thought how much more appreciatve I would be for their presents in my life after losing my first love. Most people will spend their lives not getting that lesson.