Monday, December 13, 2010


Our family received an amazing, unexpected Christmas gift of a very cool new TV. This weekend we went about shifting, rebuilding, figuring out cable connections, and placing the new gadget in the place of our old big screen. Somehow amidst the chaos, the daunting task of moving the old machine out to the garage ended up happening when the kids and I were home alone. 

As I stood looking at the old television, I remembered the day Phil and I brought it home. He we so excited. We bought the new big screen as a part of the house remodel that we did the year before he died. After months of scraping ceilings, removing wall paper, redoing floors, and repainting walls the house was finally ready for new electronics. Phil and I made a deal; I could do whatever I wanted with the home decor as long as he got to choose the new TV. Boy did he take advantage of that deal....his set of choice was huge. So moving it out of the house was no small feat.

I called the kids into the room and said, "We need to move this TV out to the garage." They looked at me, then looked at the monster set, and then we started discussing how to make the move. As we stood in our living room together brainstorming what to do I realized how many times over the past five years the four of us have needed to work as a team. Because we've been here before, the four of us, facing a task that usually is done by two adults collaborating, deciding, and then acting. But when Phil died I needed my kids to step up when one set of arms was not enough. I needed help when the plumbing overflowed, or the fence fell down, or the shingles were flying off of the roof in the rain. When I couldn't call out, "Honey!!" I instead called "Kids!" One or more of them would come to my aid, and somehow between us we solved all kinds of everyday problems. This seemed especially true during the holiday season when decorating, buying presents, purchasing and transporting a tree, hanging lights, and just making it through the hustle and bustle was so much harder in our single parent home. Whenever I reached the end of my rope, I counted on the only other hands in the house to tie a knot for me.

Grief has definitely stolen a portion of my children's innocence. They make statements now and then that cut me to the quick with their honest observations of life in the aftermath of loss. More than once I have wished I didn't have to count on them to be older, wiser, and sometimes braver than their years might suggest. The scars that grief has left on my kids are visible, and life changing, but as we took that huge television over the last step of our porch and smoothly delivered it into our garage I realized what a good team we have become since death walked into our lives. We are resourceful. We can count on each other. We know our team's strengths and weaknesses. We believe that we can solve problems together. Everyone has a voice. I would like to say that all of this was true before Phil died, and maybe it was, but we didn't know for sure until we were tested.

So this weekend, as we walked out of the garage high-fiving and celebrating another challenging task completed, we spontaneously started singing....we will, we will ROCK you! Five minutes later my daughter walked through the kitchen still humming the tune and I thought to myself...yes, yes we will.


  1. I'm so glad that you have your children and they have you and you're such a support to each other. I was 62 when my husband was diagnosed with cancer, so I retired to care for him. He died 6 mo later. Nine months after that, my youngest son left for law school in another part of the county. He had been living at home while attending college. My oldest son is married and lives in a different part of the country. Neither live close. So I had the triple whammy: retirement, empty nest, and the loss of my life partner-40 yrs married-all at once. It was very, very difficult, but after 2 years, I'm finally feeling some healing. I'm just thankful for all the blessings that I do have in my life after these huge losses. I love this site, because every time I speak my story, I get more healing. Thank you.

  2. Great post. It reminds me so much of the team that my boys and I have become since my husband died. When they were born, I never imagined that one day it would just be the three of us, but I'm grateful that I have them on this journey. Thanks for reminding me of the great blessing I have in our team.

  3. Oh - I LOVE this post!! Even though my son is 3, I still get this feeling when we accomplish something that makes both of us happy. I didn't have the words to see it until your post - thank you!

  4. I have two teenage girls. We too have become more of a team. just the other day one of them was helping with our 7ft tree, I am 5ft. It only fell on me once as we were puttin it up. better than last year when it took me 3hours just to get it to stand!I use to feel guilty, but no more. some where I read that children of single parents are more responsible adults. Plus with two girls I feel that they are learn that girls can do most things that man can do, but they just might have to ask for a litle help,

  5. Michele: I too am a new widow. Hard to say but know it is part of my new identity. My husband did everything around the house, now I am the one to tackle those chores. We have a motorhome, I never drove it, but now I will. My children lost their biological dad 5 years ago and now their stepdad, my husband of l3 years. My l9 son found my husband face down at a lake near us from a heart attack. I never new it was coming. I hope to join support groups near me, and hopefully camping widows, forcing me to get in it and drive. Bless you and your family, we all need support and guidence...