Monday, March 25, 2013



I was driving down the road in my neighborhood when I felt and heard a collision on the right side of my car. I immediately knew I'd clipped someone's car door which was parked along the side of the road and nearly left my car running to race out and make sure I hadn't hurt anyone.

I apologized profusely, even though I hadn't seen her open the door. I felt that since mine was the moving vehicle, I was to blame. Also, this apologizing mode is very automatic for me. Not to blame my childhood for everything, but it has child of an alcoholic all over it, I think.

It wasn't until I was driving away later that I realized that she was the one who'd opened her door into moving traffic and that it wasn't necessarily all my fault. I also realized that while I wish I weren't so quick to blame myself for everything, I'm glad I'm me. I'm glad I reacted the way I did instead of the opposite. I'm glad I got out of that car ready to take responsibility instead of ready to assign all the blame on others. I'm glad my first concern was for everyone's safety, NOT the state of my vehicle or how expensive repairs would be or why that woman opened her car door into traffic. I'm glad I was my true self, instead of hiding my vulnerability under a cloak of anger or righteousness.

So, whether my reaction was because of childhood programming, or my own neuroses, or the alignment of the planets, what I realized was that I'm ok. Seems like such a simple awareness to have. That all of me, faults, weaknesses, vulnerabilities and broken bits included, is good and worthy of love. This is something I've struggled with since I can remember being able to think. The fact that it took maybe 5 minutes for this to sink in is a victory. There was a time when this would NEVER have sunk in. I would have spent a lot of time thinking about how I was faulty and therefore it was my fault. I was a bad driver, a bad person, simply unworthy in every way. My hitting her car was my fault and my blaming myself was a symptom of how screwed up I was, and I was hopeless.

But not now. Now, I'm directing my thoughts elsewhere long enough to see a different perspective. Long enough to find value in myself as I am. I don't need to change to be worthy. I don't need to be better, smarter, prettier, nicer. I need to be me. The real me. And that's all I need to do.

Easier said than done, of course, but I'm getting there and I can see the progress.

What does this have to do with being widowed? Everything. In that moment of collision ALL I cared about was human life. I prayed a million prayers in the 5 seconds it took to run back to her car that no one's precious family member had been injured.

I'm not sure that would have been my reaction before I lost Dave. Now, a day is considered a success when no one dies, my loved ones are all safe in their beds and I can have a moment of peace and tranquility to balance out the little hardships of a day in the life of a human.

And somehow, through all the pain of the past two years, my heart has been broken open and somehow softened. Not dramatically, and not suddenly, but over time and so slowly that I can't always tell until I look back and compare the before and after.

I'm proud of who I am and I'm stronger than I ever thought possible, even when I feel as weak and as scared as ever. Realizing that is a victory in itself. 


  1. I too am the child of an alcoholic father and I have never associated it with my constant apologizing but you may be on to something there! But, as a widow I too find myself more concerned about human life than I ever was before.

  2. I have always been an apologetic type person too. Now as a widow, since I lost my husband Paul, I feel like apologizing for being sad or not being able to "get over it." For example, if someone asks me how my weekend went and if I don't say fine, but tell them how I really feel, I feel guilty for giving them a negative answer. I get the feeling people feel uncomfortable dealing with grieving persons. I tend to apologize for my behavior as if it is somehow my fault that I feel the way I do. Also, the well-being of my loved ones are constantly on my mind now because I know first hand just how fragile life is and how quickly it can be taken from you.

    1. Yes, I feel that urge to give a more positive answer than I honestly feel sometimes too. It's a relief to be with other people who have been through this because I never feel that urge around them.

  3. I would say that I too am more empathtic/compassionate and far less judgemental than I was before. I feel more for the human conditioning of suffer than I did before. I might have said in the past, that they should havve done this or that to prevent themselves from having this happen to them. ie. become homeless/ losig their home. keep a better eye on their money to name just a few, but now I see how quickly our lives can change, coming out of no where.

  4. You wrote " Now, a day is considered a success when no one dies, my loved ones are all safe in their beds" I've had that thought everyday for the past 2 years since Sean died.. That is how I measure a day in my life... I say " If you wake up , you've already won...

  5. Seeing myself as worthy of love and valuable has been hard since Eddie went home two years go (something I struggled with even as a child). Thank you for you are correct "all of me, faults, weaknesses, vulnerabilities and broken bits included, is good and worthy of love"; and I am valulable just as I am.