Tuesday, November 29, 2011

I am strong.

Picture from Pinterest

I am strong.
I am incredibly strong.
I never knew how strong Before.

I wonder how I survived those first few minutes of knowing, those first few hours of screaming, that first night, week, month, year.

But I did.

...and so I know I am made of strong stuff.

I know it's true because I am still here, raising two children, finding joy where I can get it
.... and I am not dead.

But sometimes I think I am so strong that people don't see past the incredible feats of strength and endurance I am constantly displaying.

...and they forget that it takes every ounce of my strength to keep moving forward.

...and they let me carry too much of their load.

...and I do it because I am strong.

But I worry that I can only carry so much.

So I am going to pick and choose those extra things I must carry.

I'm not going to take on everyone's minor problems.

Because I need every ounce of my strength for us.


  1. I feel as you do that often people do not get how strong I am and how some days take all my strength to get through and I too do not sweat minor problems anymore. I just sometimes long for someone to notice and not just offer to help, but to just do it0 even after 2 years widowed I need things done that I do not have the knowledge to do or the physical strength!

  2. I am strong like an ox, but made out of a thin sheet of glass.

  3. I am strong like an ox, but made out of a thin sheet of glass.

  4. First, I am so blessed to have a very close widow friend and we constantly tell each other to "put on the big girl panties"! THANK YOU FOR THIS AMANDA!

    Second, we shouldn't have to carry anymore than we are already carrying and not be saddled with those other minor problems. Everyone has a limit both physically and emotionally as to how much they can bench press.

    I very much agree with the first post. Why can't people just notice and pitch in. 20 months and everyone's observation is that I must be fine. But that is so far from the truth....

  5. AS ABOVE- for both the post and the comment. Is there anyone out there to see what I'm doing each and every day. Just getting out of bed is a major effort. And I am also 2+ years out! Thank you both.

  6. Yes, this so resonates with me.
    Sometimes I think because I do not fall on the ground sobbing people think I am not desperately grieving.
    It has been 54 weeks since my love died. The fact I am still standing is nothing short of a miracle of resilience and endurance. When you said "I didn't die".
    Only a widow or someone who has lost a child understands the depth and the meaning of those words.
    Thank you

  7. Well, here it is noon and I just got out of bed!
    Cold, windy winter days coming, I am already cocooning. Yes, as time goes on, those around us seem to forget what has happened. Their lives have continued down the road, and they seem to forget that ours have taken a turn. It's ok to ask for help (although that's the last thing I usually do), I try to solve most problems on my own. Everyone is dealing with their own "stuff" and I find it hard to burden others with mine. The motivation to do things is also lacking for me, it's just me at home, so why bother? I'm tired before I even start.

  8. We do cope with stuff and because we get good at hiding the worst of our grief we do tend to get loaded up with other peoples problems. At 49 weeks out now I have been loaded up with things frequently because people don't see the grief. I have now decided that I am going to refuse to be loaded with things just because "You don't have much to do now that you are a Widow." That is the attitude that I am getting and am sure that we have all experienced.

    Not much to do...... I still have the house, the animals, the yard and my work. Not sure where I find time to do the extras.

  9. Good Post! My widow friend Ann says "Be Gentle with Yourself". Word! I've convinced three widows (so far) to train and run a 5K with me in May. Gotta face the fear and move forward with life. Please follow and support us.


    Our Collective Training Blog

  10. I've become a lot more selfish in the 22 months since my husband died.

    I don't seem to be able to be the helpful hand, the sympathetic ear, the supportive friend that I used to be. Because right now it takes so much of my energy just to *be*.

    And, I'll be honest, listening to my women friends complain about how their inconsiderate husbands leave their clothes in the middle of the floor or never help with the housework makes me want to scream, "At least you HAVE a husband. Be grateful, because he could be gone tomorrow!"

    People tell me I'm strong, but I just have them fooled. There are still days that just getting out of bed is a challenge, let alone working up enough "giveadamn" to get anything accomplished. But there's really no alternative, is there? (Well, yeah, there is, and that's the main reason I still don't keep any ammunition in the house.)

    Strong? Glad they think so, because all I see from this side is flailing and floundering and trying not to drown.

  11. Thank you Amanda!
    Not much more than stregth to write DITTO to you and
    10X ditto to all comments made.
    Oh..one exception ditto would be considering the 5k this year. LOL. I would love to be that widow some day that can get out of bed before noon to train for a 5K. Well It could happen..one thing I learned as a widow...ANYTHING can happen...at any time. All we have is here and now.

  12. Good post!
    Dave always told me I'm strong. And I have been - all my life. (I think it's a control thing really.)
    I so really, really wish that somebody would just 'take over'. It's been 17+ months. I'm tired of making all the decisions. Maintaining the house. Going to work to keep the status quo. Walking the dog. Trying to counsel our very angry 20something son who barely communicates with me anymore.
    And yet I know I am blessed. For all the crap that life has handed me I know that I still have things pretty good and things could be much, much worse.
    But man I just wish I wasn't in this world alone anymore!

    "I wonder how I survived those first few minutes of knowing, those first few hours of screaming, that first night, week, month, year."
    I agree. As I'm now past the year of 'first' I've been reflecting on last fall and holiday season and it's really just a blur. I remember very little of what was going on, or what I did. So much of it was just trying to stay sane and afloat! For the first 6 months I think I just went to work every day, walked the dog, fed myself and the dog, wrote in a journal I'd started, and then went to bed. I don't think I even turned on the tv for months and months. I didn't give a crap what was going on in the world. Such a variety and bombardment of emotions occurred for the first 6 months or so. (They still hit but I seem to feel more stable anyway.)

    Anyway, I think we all give the appearance of being strong. What other option is there really? I don't want to be the person that people avoid because I'm all stressed and needy. (I'm pretty sure my brother is now avoiding me. Hahaha! Poor guy, every time he stops by I ask him to fix something for me. And I call and text him incessantly for advice on everything from bicycles to snow tires to weatherstripping.)

  13. I so relate to all of this!! Love the shoulds..
    I should be on my feet because it's been 13 months. I should be more involved at work, I should be adjusted to living alone now, taking care of pets, working full time nights because I have always been so strong. Really?
    I hate begging to call someone to look at the furnace,assist in winterizing the yard, instructions on hanging up a wall photo.. Yes, I count my blessings and am grateful for all of them.
    I miss my husband of 34 years and his name isn't even spoken anymore.. I am supposed to make a new life and know exactly what that should be.

  14. This is beautifully written and obviously hit home for so many of us. I am also two years out, raising two kids and because I seem to have my act together, people are back to asking for favors or talking about their own problems. Usually in the middle of someone's rant about their issues, I start to daydream about how nice it would be to have their husband come here and fix my leaking sink or listen to the rattle in my car's engine or pick up my kids from CCD...I would like some help, too -- both physically and emotionally. Especially on the days when I or one of my sons is feeling the loss and the weeping starts up again. Those days are the most draining days...I am tired of feeling drained. Always so drained at the end of the day knowing I will go to bed and get up and do it all again tomorrow.

  15. The moment my wonderful husband passed, I abruptly became alone...and my future passed with him. All the happiness we had together, was suddenly replaced by sadness for me...but we will always have our love for each other.

    Since I was initially numb, then emotionally drained, I did not even have the energy to cry much...however, my constant sadness was / is my constant tears.

    Widowhood is cruel.
    I had to learn how to deal with my emotions alone, no more comfort...while suddenly having to take on new responsibilities that he used to do.

    I had to keep my head straight in order to handle things like financial matters...and also deal with objects that quickly started to break or break down, in addition to doing my household chores and running errands.

    No matter how organized I tried to be, I was still going in all directions...and almost a YEAR has gone by with NO let up. I became SO exhausted and over-whelmed, that ultimately I reached a breaking point or hit bottom recently. I cried and shouted out to God: "I've had enough! I can't take it anymore!!

    A few days later, I had a pre-scheduled routine appt. with my primary doctor, who is a VERY devout Christian. We spoke about God, His ways, and His plans...and I saw things in a a different perspective, which I can't explain.

    I can't say that I'm totally "cured" of being over-whelmed, but I can say that looking at things differently makes the burden lighter. So now I can re-focus and move forward as best as I can...
    ....and I'm sure my husband will proud of me because he loves me and wants the best for me.

  16. ps: throughout the year, I handled just about everything myself, and I did the best possible...considering I must deal with chronic physical pain.
    I even had an operation with no one near me to offer support.

    At one point, everything surrounding me seemed to be let go, but for acceptable reasons: my home was in disarray since I was doing major house cleaning. My riding mower need to be repaired, and it took a while for me to find a repairman. And with the heavy rains, it was difficult for me and for everyone to maintain chemically-balanced pool water.

    Along comes my UNhelpful neighbor, looks around my home, yard, and pool...and TELLS me that I can't hanlde things and that I should move in to an apt.!!!
    That did it!!! How dare he say that after all I had been through and all I had done...ALONE!

    I suddenly realized that I was strong!
    And after all, my husband often told me that I was a strong person...