Sunday, June 5, 2011


Six parts of your Widow's Voice home at Camp Widow 2010

Home is where you hang your heart, not only your hat. When Phil died, the four walls of my home became both a refuge and a prison. I hated going out; I hated staying in.

The outside world was too bright. I felt blinded by other people's lightness, innocent happiness, and especially by their apparent disregard for the fact that the world had stopped. I kept forgetting that their world didn't necessarily halt because mine did. I remember very clearly (and it has been 1,981 days) that when I was in public I felt see through, as if there was no substance to me.

But when I was home the familiarity was excruciating. Everywhere I looked there was some misleading evidence that Phil would be right back. Shoe in the corner, lunchbox on top of the fridge, toothbrush in the holder...all signs that the owner of these items had just stepped out. Loneliness seeped from my pores and left a miserable residue on every surface. Home wasn't home. There is a line from a Mercy Me song (Homesick) that best described this feeling for me: "If home's where my heart is, then I'm out of place." Oh how I ached to be home.

Then I found you. This community became a safe, homey place. My widowed friends held bits of my heart for me while I picked up the pieces that were scattered by the winds of grief. Each time I found another sliver, I could just hand it to the people who would eventually help me work out how those fractured shards could once again take the shape of something beautiful. 

On the blog this week this comment was addressed anonymously to a new reader who is hoping that finding this community will help him deal with his loss:

"Come back here. To this blog. I can tell you - it saved my life. I almost didn't make it this winter, it was too painful. It was a very dark time. When it was at its worst, I came here. To the place where others understood. Where someone knew what it felt like to not want to carry on. The widows voice community has offered such wisdom and support and hope. That I can say now 7 months from my spouses death. I am doing better than I was. I still have dark days and hard nights but when I do - I know I am not alone. I come here and read the stories and hear the way others have coped and I know I can carry on. I hope you do return."

Thank you anonymous.

This is what I mean by home. You are home to me, and we are home to each other, and as you heal, grow, and make your way through this whole new crazy widowed world...I hope you will always remember that one home is only a click away.


  1. Michelle, This post so moved me and in such a profound way because of the timing.
    This morning I am up early trying to pack for my first real solo trip away since my husband died. Last night I was at a social event for old friends. A birthday party. Almost all couples, many I knew and were comfortable with. But I was no longer comfortable. I listened to their summer vacation plans and watched the excitement flicker back and forth as "they" told me their destinations - Italy, Greece, California. These friendships, once as familiar as home now felt like a foreign land, a place I no longer belonged. I came home and cried myself to sleep wanting my husband back in a thousand ways. This morning I woke early, stood and looked out in the garden and remembered when my husband and I would be packing for a vacation. The excitement, the laughter, the dreaming about all of the fun we would share and memories we would make. The pain of "not home" returned full force. My suitcase is half filled but the joy is not present. So I came here as I do most mornings.

    The shock? My words on a page coming back to me! It gave me shivers. It reminded me of the power of this community and the mystery that is in the universe if you let it in. I am that "anonymous" you quoted and your entry helped me to hear my own voice.

    This morning I am reminded of the light.

    Thank you from the heart.

  2. Dearest Anonymous...your comment brought tears to my eyes. I am so glad these words found you when you needed them, and grateful to you for the hand of friendship you reached out to a fellow reader. It is this willingness to be in IT together that makes the SSLF community a place to call home. Not sure if you are planning to attend Camp Widow, but I would love to meet you in person.

    I hope this trip is filled with moments of remembrance, and also with moments of realizing that you can make it through this loss. Not only in tact, but with shining beauty.

    Thank you for sharing this story with me.

  3. I've had well-meaning people tell me I shouldn't spend my time reading Widow's Voice or in Widowed Village or go to Camp Widow ... that I need to put "that" behind me and get on with living. They're not widows/ers, so I don't bother to argue with them about it. I generally say something like "perhaps you're right" and then I come back 'home', to my online friends who always seem to know the right thing to say, who understand, who 'get' what this is like. It's been 8 months ... and I'm not leaving home.

  4. My husband died from melanoma on 11/02/10, and I found this blog a few weeks later, and I follow it everyday! This blog also helped me through the dark winter months. I have learned so much from all the bloggers, and it really helps to know that I'm not alone, and that what I'm feeling and thinking is normal. I have both laughed and cried with all of you. I also feel there's hope when I read about your new relationships, and how your spouse will always be a part of you.

  5. I don't visit as often, but when I do I am so glad I did. Thanks! There is understanding here--that losing a spouse isn't easy. There is understanding that when the person who validated who you are is no more, it is difficult to move ahead, but it can be done. Not easy, but you all help!

  6. I have returned to the blog and find peace and comfort in the stories and insight (thank you to anonymous who encouraged me to return often). My wife died very suddenly while we were on vacation (Dec, 2010); I don't think my mind allowed me to fully comprehend what was happening on that day and during the weeks that followed. Looking back, I also think I was numb for three-four months after--going through the motions like a robot. Each day I remember more and more about that morning and the LONG trip home--these memories often throw me back to that day and the nightmare that followed trying to get her home by Christmas. While these memories are often overwhelming, I find them cathartic as well. While no two stories are the same, coming here helps me understand that much of what I'm feeling/experiencing is "normal". Thank you again. Peace. Tom S. IL

  7. Hi Tom, So glad you came here to find others who are also walking this journey. Actually, there is another member of our community who also lost his wife while they were away on vacation. I am sure he'd be willing to correspond with you if you'd like. If you'd like to talk to him let me know and I will be happy to connect you. I hope to that this place becomes a source of comfort and hope for you.