Saturday, April 19, 2014

The Strength Among Women.


The above picture is a specific shot of the Sex and the City girls that my girlfriends and I send to each other when we miss each other or just need a smile. It is - like the show is for us - a reminder that thru thick and thin, life and love and illness and death, it is your girls who were there for you. I'm sharing it because I was reminded of that tonight.

On this pre-Easter evening, I would like to say,  I really hate being vulnerable. I mean, doesn't everyone? It's definitely not the best feeling out there. Tonight, I felt so completely vulnerable. It's the evening before Easter - my in-laws are having a big party at the ranch. We are grilling and cooking up a ton of good food. I spend the whole day in the kitchen with my mother-in-law… partly because I really enjoy helping her out on these kinds of days and partly because just keeping busy with helping keeps my mind off the obvious person missing. So really, for the most part, I made it through the day alright. I made this amazing lemon-lime bundt cake that was "to die for" (I always feel odd saying that now). But the sadness was underlying. And eventually after dinner and several beers… the flood gates opened. Everyone was out back playing ping pong - I could hear them loudly cheering and laughing over the game and the country music. Laughter. That kind… you know, the kind we used to all enjoy? Yeah.

I snuck out to sit on the front porch. Alone. Crying in my beer. And looking at pictures of my fiancé and I on my phone. And crying some more. And wishing that someone would notice right away when I wasn't there, and would come to check on me. The way he used to when I needed it most. Wishing I was the center of anyone's universe like that again. Or that someone would just happen to come outside and notice me there and sit down beside me to be my friend. But no one came… except one person who walked right past, ignoring me. Which as you know, feels even worse than no one coming at all. And so I sat there more and more alone - just me, the glow of the porch light, and the june bugs occasionally thwacking into my back. I cursed aloud to… what? Someone. Something. My life. My stupid emotions. Him being gone. My pathetic desire to have someone rescue me. All of the above.

Eventually… I texted a few of my girlfriends. My best friend. And one of my also-widowed girlfriends. And my old high school girlfriend. It turned out we were all having pretty emotional nights for entirely different reasons. My best friend has just found out that this guy she really likes who she's been on several dates with is still hung up on an ex. My high school friend is pretty sad because her best friend just moved really far away, she just broke up with her boyfriend, and she had to move back in with her parents to boot. I really wish none of us had been going through any of that crap tonight… but you know, it helped to know I wasn't alone. Even though their situations were very different, that didn't matter. Tonight… each one of us was in need of someone to be there for us and console us and love us. Each of us wanted that someone to be a man, and each of us didn't have that. So we turned to each other. And we found exactly what we needed in each other. Love. And support. And understanding. And a warm welcome that will always be there. And a powerful "I've got your back, you are amazing and don't forget it" sort of feeling that we all needed.

I didn't used to be very close to any of my girlfriends. Many years ago, I had a really hard time connecting with women and I kept my distance from them for the most part. Losing my fiancé has changed that world so entirely for me. I have come to rely on the women in my life in such a deep and powerful way. No matter what our situations or differences… when we are in pain, and we share that with each other, there is a sacred bond of holding each other up that occurs. Its like this unspoken code that all women seem to abide by. And it only occurs when we take the risk to be fully vulnerable with each other.

For the past month or so, I've been resisting taking that risk. It's so easy to do… to try and avoid being truly vulnerable - even with my closest girlfriends - because I just don't want to face it sometimes. But this week as I've had a few instances of both myself and my girlfriends hitting low points and really needing each other… I am reminded again how important, how powerful, and how healing it is to just let it all out to each other. Sure it felt better to let that out with Drew. More comfortable. More secure. But there is something equally powerful about baring your soul to other women. Something that I have never experienced until losing him.

I'm not even sure where I'm going with all this. Honestly, it's late, I've been on my feet all day cooking, and super stressed about a million other things, and I'm on my 5th or 6th beer (the fact that I can't remember which tells you something!). All I can say is that tonight, I am so incredibly grateful for the women in my life. The ones who are widows. The ones who are not widows who still seem to get it. The ones who are older and wiser and help guide me, and the ones who are right in the thick of it with me. I truly do not know what state I would be in today without each and every woman who has crossed my path since losing Drew. They, you, are the safety net that keeps me afloat. The wind beneath my wings. And the fuel that keeps me trying to make something big and bold and powerful out of all of this pain. We may not have the lives we want, but dammit, at least we have each other. And really, that's a hell of a lot.


  1. The supportive type of friendship that you write about is what this site has given me and I'M SO GRATEFUL! You all write beautifully and are intelligent, resilient women. I loved your phrase "Wishing I was the center of anyone's universe like that again". -Snowygirl

  2. This is so very true for me, also, Sarah. I had no idea how much I might be missing in not being closer to the women in my life before I was forced to start on this sometimes lonely, always challenging path. Without the women who have become a big part of my life I don't know how I'd have made it over the many humps and bumps.

  3. The reality for widows in their 60's, of which I am one, is there are fewer and fewer men if one was inclined to want to even attempt to meet another man. It took me 48 years to find the love of my life in a second marriage. God blessed me with 16 years with my hero, my protector, my everything. Half of me died with him in June 2011. My lady friends help sustain me through this journey into hell. I've come to accept that my life revolves around my girlfriends who lovingly accept the new me; pain and all.

  4. I posted the below about 5 minutes before reading this. I'm glad you can find some solace with girlfriends, not quite the same for guy's, at least not for this guy.

    The Melancholia of Loneliness
    Laura's accident falls on a odd date as far as an anniversary. It was April 7, 2012, but I'll always think of it is as Easter Eve. Since it was a unusually warm day with wonderful sunny skies we went for a motorcycle ride. We planned to attend the Easter Vigil, also known as the Service of Light, that evening. Unfortunately, Laura never made it home and I spent the night in the hospital praying she would make it through the night.

    The odd thing is that Easter moves every year and hence the anniversary of Laura's accident will always move. It will always be associated with Easter and not April 7.

    I don't know if it is because of Easter or that I'm just at a stage where I really desire someone to hold and to hold me back. It isn't a sex thing, it is a desire for touch and a desire to be needed.

    While I volunteer for Habitat and at my local library, and I'm appreciated for that work, but it is not the same as finding someone who truly needs me and desires to be with me.

    It is a very different sense of loneliness than being introspective or being alone with your thoughts in a crowd.

    1. I can empathize with your comment so closely. My partner was hospitalized on Good Friday morning (6 a.m.) in 2012, transferred to another hospital intensive care later that day, eventually going into a coma (major organ failure) early Saturday morning (4:30 a.m.). I had to alert his family/friends of his situation, was counselled regarding life support disconnect - eventually, about midnight on Easter Sunday, gave permission for disconnect and watched him pass away before my eyes 10 minutes later. While April 9 is his death anniversary, Easter is a constant reminder/revolving door of emotions (and moves all around the calendar!)...and Easter, of all times - a time of resurrection, renewal, etc. (still waiting for confirmation from my partner regarding that fact!)...I just want him back to chat, discuss, do things with/together and support each other and just plain be there for each other - it's called love and where has it gone....

    2. Wow, Paul it makes total sense to me how the date for you is really more about when Easter falls - goodness, that's doubly hard I imagine.

      I can so relate to what you said about the affection and closeness. In the past 4 or 5 months I've have become so excruciatingly lonely for the physical closeness of a man who deeply appreciates me the way my fiancé did (or you know, my actual fiancé of course ideally!)

      I feel like it comes in waves that last several weeks and drive me totally crazy… until finally (and randomly) it seems to subside for a few more weeks or so. It will be 2 years in a month, and I feel like the longer time goes on the stronger this ache and physical loneliness get. You definitely said it, this kind of loneliness is a very different thing - especially when you've had it and lost it. Before my fiancé, I never had that kind of closeness with any of the men I was with - too toxic. But he showed me what it could be like, which sure makes not having it a lot harder some days.

      Thank you so much for your comment

  5. Paul, you have such a way with words and I always love reading your comments. Sarah, I cannot believe you actually said about your girlfriends "they are the wind beneath my wings." Cheesiest sentence of all time, and Im going to mock you forever and ever, Amen, about it. Bahahahaha!!!! lol. P.S. I love you ......... p. p. s. dont watch the movie p.s. I love you. Heartwrenching. p. p. p. s. I have had zero beers - I just write like a lunatic while sober.

    1. Lol oh leave me alone i was practically drunk! You should be happy I managed to make complete sentences in this post! lol (I know I was sure amazed when I read it the next day and it was error-free!)