Monday, September 30, 2013

They Were There

"Why don't you reread your Widow's Voice posts from the beginning and see what kind of progress you've made."

My smart smart dude's advice the other day when I talked to him about the possibility of identifying so much with widowhood that it was keeping me stuck in some ways.

So I tried it. I didn't expect to discover what I did. The overall impression I had was that I was more resilient, positive, hopeful and self-reflective than I ever imagined myself to be. I tried to explain it away a little (as I so often do) by telling myself that maybe it was the buffer of shock that helped me be naive enough to be so hopeful and positive.

But I don't think that's it. The shock wears off and then where to attribute all that strength of character? And even if I was in shock, who cares? I still felt those things. It was still reflected in my writing. I must actually BE strong and positive and hopeful. No one was more shocked than I (only partially kidding here).

It was a good reminder for me and an important way to quiet the part of me that wants to minimize my accomplishments and focus on my weaknesses.

So I didn't get much insight on the over-identifying thing, but I couldn't hide from the shocking truth. Honestly, it shocked me. I'm not just making progress, I was always full of the strength that held me together when I was sure I would fall apart.

That never faltered. It came out in my writing. It drove me to act from a place of love, instead of fear. It pushed me forward even though a part of me had no idea why I was bothering. It came from within and not from external forces.

 I didn't need to have all the answers or the perfect life, or a spouse or a job or a kid or any other reason to live other than my own worthiness. It was all I ever needed and it was always there. It was so hard to see it though, because all I could see was the next few inches in front me.

On a long, very strenuous hike with my guy the other day, I had to stare at my feet 95% of the time or fall off the very narrow path and tumble to my death. As we finished the hike, exhausted and sore, I thought of how the last two years had often been just like that head-down, focus-on-not-plummeting to-my-death hike. I couldn't look up to see the towering trees or the 3 inch layer of chartreuse moss covering the nurse logs or the little star-shaped vine maple leaves fluttering in the breeze. They were there, I just couldn't look up.

My strength, my hope, my worthiness. They were all there I just couldn't look up and see them. I was too busy trying not to fall.

But they were there.


  1. Amen woman. I feel very similar lately. Its been just over 2 years, and I FINALLY feel somuch more aware of everything. Much more aware. Of my progress, my emotions, my grief, my love, my loss. That shock / fog we are in for so long is so powerful - takes a long time to finally SEE in front of you again. xoxo

  2. This is one of the reasons I encourage the few other widows/widowers that I know to journal, blog, or whatever. But document your feelings either privately or publicly. I reviewed a year's worth of posts to a Google+ community on grief that I started and was truly amazed at the progress I made over that time.

  3. Cassie, I've been visiting this site for a month or so and this is your second posting which has spoken volumes to me in my own process. You capture my experiences so well! Thank you for your efforts!

  4. Trying to look up also, but it is so hard to do, so much easier to just keep looking down and going forward. At least it is forward progress, maybe not the best way to live, but the only way I can do it for now. I'm doing the best I can with where I'm at. Maybe another day I will find myself looking up and seeing the surroundings, I do so miss the details of everyday life that have disappeared. Be safe, don't fall.