Wednesday, March 27, 2013

What Do I Like ......


...... about the "after" me?
A friend and I were driving across town the other day and she asked me this question.

I stopped and pondered for a few seconds, but found it really quite easy to answer.
At this point in my life.
At this point in my "after".

"Almost everything.", I replied.
Of course ...... she wanted specifics.

So I started to list the things about the "after Janine" that I like:
- I'm more laid back than I was "before".
- I'm not afraid.  Of anything.  Anymore.
- I know that life is short and so I take nothing, nor anyone, for granted.
- I don't sweat the small stuff.
-I know what, and who, is important.  And what, and who, is not.
- I don't deal with B.S. any more.  Or the people who are full of it.
- I tell the people I love ...... that I love them.  Often.
- I'm kinder.
- I'm more patient.
- I don't waste as much time as I did "before".
- I'm more open minded than I was "before".
- I don't judge.
- I'm more accepting, except for judgmental people who are full of B.S.
- I make room in my life for new friends.
- I have too many "after" friends to count.  And yes, most (but not all) of them are widowed.  And yet are here for me.  No matter what.  As I am for them.
- I have no room in my life for so-called-friends.
- I'm stronger than I was "before".
- I'm willing to try new things ...... new experiences.
- I'm not afraid of death.
- I'm not afraid of life.
- I'm not afraid of being alone.
- I rarely doubt myself ...... or my abilities.
- I like myself.
- I have survived.  Against the odds.

She then asked me what I don't like about the "after Janine".
This list was short ...... but there were still some items.
- I'm less naive now.
- I'm generally more subdued.
- My happiness/joyfulness is still here, but it's never been as high as it was "before".  Nor do I expect it to ever be that high again.  Though I may be wrong.
- I'm less care-free.
- I'm more of a realist than I was "before".
- I don't want to be in a relationship again.  Ever.
- I have been too "trusting" in my "after" ...... and so have trusted the wrong people.

I'm sure there are a few other things that I'm not crazy about, but it's been a long day, I'm tired, and I really do like the person I've become in my "after", though I would never have believed that ...... in my "before", or even in the first 2-3 years of my "after".

Yes, I'd give every good characteristic up in a heartbeat ...... if that would bring Jim back.
But we all know that it won't.  And so I have learned to move forward, and to accept who I am and where I am.
No, I don't always like it, but I have accepted it.
So that I can move forward.

I am a different person than I was "before".
And though I'd never thought this in the beginning of my "after" ......
I like me.

And that's what counts.


  1. Janine, so well written. You have described me "before" and "after" pretty closely. Except for my "after" on the negative side, I beat myself up too much for still hosting pity parties after 3 years. But overall, I like the "after" me and so do my children.

    Thank you!!!!!!

  2. Thanks Janine,

    I can really relate to this post. I like the after me too. The light and joy have been diminished, but they are coming back. I am learning to love the new me too and treat myself with kindness. I am moving forward.


  3. Thank you for this post. I also can really relate to this post, except I hope that I will be in another relationship some day. I often wish that my husband could have been alive to love the "after" me, because I like some parts of myself a lot better now.

  4. I see many similarities on your list in my life too; however, in some ways, I don't think I dare to make a list of what I like about the "after me"; because the "after me" is without my guy and how could there be anything of value? And yet, the truth is, there are things of value - many of the things you mention that are often common for people who have gone through a tragedy....if they choose to see them. Though I do "see" these things, not sure I'm ready to acknowledge them in print, because truth be told, I wished the "after me" never was. Obviously, I haven't accepted the "what is" with my heart yet!! My head knows he's not coming back and the "after me" is already here, but my heart isn't ready to note her presence.

  5. I didn't know the "before" Janine. But I love and admire the "after" Janine. Not quite sure I am at the point of liking the "after" me, but holding onto the hope that I might.....thanks for always being so willing to share your thoughts and emotions.

  6. Janine, Thank you for this eye opening post. I'm coming up on the one year mark (May 4) of my husband's death. As I've seen in previous posts, "What doesn't kill you makes you stronger!". This couldn't be more to the point or more true. The after me has been forced to face life alone and head on. It has made me a stronger person all around. I'd give everything I possess for it not to have come as a result of my loss, but we weren't given a choice....So to all the newly widowed, I can honestly say that although it has been a struggle thus far, it does get better and you will get stronger each day. Just take one day at a time! Look so forward to CWE!

  7. Janine, thank you for this post. I am 2 years 4 months out, and I am particularly interested in the part where you wrote that you don't want another relationship EVER. I was married for 37 years, got married at 22, and I guess more than anything I am trying to find out who I am as a single person. I already know I am much more social than my husband was :) I feel that if I did get involved with somebody it would be more so he could help me with the ceptic/well/propane tank/road repair. Anyway, I went to CWE and really enjoyed it and have already signed up for CWE 2014, but the one really distressing thing I encountered over and over was the number of women who just want another man. It felt so isolating, and still does. I just want to know me. I don't want to go on or any of those other sites, I don't want to be fixed up with anybody, I just want to know who I am as a single person. I went from my father's house to my college dorm to my husband's house. I just want to know ME. And I feel pretty lonely in that. Surely I am not the only widow out there who isn't interested in dating right now.

    1. Hi Janice,
      I'm glad that you came to CWE AND that you enjoyed it so much you've already signed on for 2014. Whoop!!

      As to your comment about my comment .... No, I don't want another relationship. The last one took that desire right out of me. And the love Jim and I shared is enough to take me through the rest of my life.

      However ...... and this is a pretty large "However" ...... I've been on this path long enough to know that feelings come ...... and feelings go. So while I may find the thought of getting into another relationship makes me nauseous ...... I also recognize that my feelings about that might change some day.
      As may many of those women you met at camp.
      As may yours.
      And no, you and I are not the only women out here who feel that way. I would say that the majority of us feel this way in the first year or two. Maybe more.
      In the first year it's almost impossible to even consider ever wanting to be with someone else. But time has a way of changing things ...... and people. Most of those changes occur slowly, so that they aren't really felt or seen until they're in us.
      I've learned to give up expectations on so many things now ...... especially the expectation of how something/someone will make me feel. This really does continue to be a journey that needs to be taken one day at a time.
      So please, know that you truly aren't alone in how you feel, and know that those feelings may, or may not, change over time. And either way ...... that's ok.