Wednesday, March 14, 2012


I was thinking yesterday about the day after Phil died. Revisiting that day makes my skin crawl, literally. Mentally I can now stand at a distance and watch myself try to out run the pain; walk around in circles hoping that once another full revolution is complete I'd wake up from the nightmare; and stare at each of my friends and family in turn seeking something in their face that would show me how I was going to live the rest of my life without Phil. There isn't enough mental distance available to protect my heart from the waves of pain that still radiate around that day. Every time I speak to a newly widowed person, I take that virtual journey back to day two of my widowed journey.

Janine is not writing today, because she is revisiting those early days as well. Her family is walking beside a young lady whose father died last week. He leaves behind a wife and family who are now living the first days of loss. She has asked me to ask you for prayers, good thoughts, and your supportive energy for this family, and for this man's wife. Not only for today, but for the journey ahead. If you could also stand beside Janine as she does her best to support these people she cares about, and walk beside her son who is watching someone he loves mourn her he mourned his.

August 29, 2005 I loved my life. September 1, 2005 I did not want to live the life that was traumatically dropped into my lap. On some level I knew I would find a way to make it through the days ahead, but I was certain those days would be devoid of both happiness and joy. All I could do was put one foot in front of the other, until I found you.

My widowed community (discovered on a crazy journey that is a whole other post) changed my life. I looked into faces that knew the pain I felt, and found a way to smile. I heard stories of both failure and success. Each widowed person I met had their own way of making the most of the life still ahead of them. I was awed, and inspired, and grateful. Because until I met people who outlived a spouse or partner and found the way through the searing pain into a life that was full and meaningful, I did not believe it was possible. 

Now, I believe. Not just for me, but for you. And for the family we've been asked to virtually support today. We are the living proof that surviving this brand of pain (sometimes I think of it as torture!) is possible, and they are going to need us. 

The best part about having a community like this is that you don't have to summon the energy to believe that goodness WILL return to your life, because you have a bunch of sisters and brothers (that you may never have met) who will believe it for you until you can believe it for yourself.


  1. Beautiful post Michele! I remember the first couple of weeks after my husband died so suddenly searching and searching for someone to understand the depth of the pain I was experiencing. Someone told me about this blog and I was hooked from the first day. I found the HOPE I needed to survive. Who would have ever imagined I could gain more comfort from virtual strangers!

    THANKS!!!! Prayers and hugs to Janine and her friends and family.

  2. Tears ... I SO needed to read this today. Thank you Michele.

  3. Thank you ....Feb 20th, 2012 is when life forever changed for me, but your words give me hope, words that I believe. Iam inpatient and feel that I have gone through enough but Iam willing to let it run its course, because your words have given me hope. Thank you .

    Felix S.

  4. Beautifully said, Michele, there truly is life after death for a widow.

  5. "...because you have a bunch of sisters and brothers who will believe it for you until you can believe it for yourself."

    This is it, exactly. I hung on (and hang on) to that fact so often. If someone else survived it before me, than I too, can make it. I'm so glad the universe brought me SSLF.

  6. thankyou for reminding me that goodness will again be apart of my lfe. I often fail to believe that it will actually happen. Things are changing and I am beginning to see the possibilities.

  7. I have been a widow for almost three weeks now and I am touched by the hope you offer. i am also so pleased that you described the usual writer as walking the journey again with each other. I guess I find hope in our common humanness and, as you all know here, death is part of the picture. I am hoping I can return and connect more with your site.


  8. Thank you all for sharing your thoughts here, and I am so glad that you found the community I wrote about today. I am also grateful to each of you for being a part of that community, because every comment, every hope for the future for another makes this place inspirational. Hang on, and know that believing in goodness again is a process...but we will be right there with you all along the way.

  9. Thanks Michelle.
    I am not exaggerating when I say this community saved my life. When I hit that night and I thought - I can't do it. I won't make it. I am going to die of this grief or take my life because I can't face one more day of it - I came here and found- a safe harbour and understanding and caring. I wonder how I would have got this far?
    This is the place I have wept tears for other widows, where I have stood in awe at their courage and humour and perseverance.
    Where I have been thrilled to read of triumphs and understood the darkest days and nights and oh, the weekends!
    Tonight I realized - I had forgotten "date night" I was so busy doing things, paying bills and things around the house and then all of a sudden I thought "what day is it?" / Then I realized it was Friday night - a night I looked forward to everyday for 36 years. My heart did a painful tightening and tears came to my eyes and I sighed and said once again - to my heart - carry on . . .
    and I do because of all of you.
    Thank you.

    1. Anonymous, your words mean more to me than I can accurately explain. Thank you for letting me know that this space matters to you. And yes, carry on. Just one small step at a time, we'll be here for you every day.

  10. Anon right above me ....
    Thank you so very much for sharing your feelings and thoughts .... and your soul-baring truth. I, too, was at that point one day .... but it's been 4 years and I'm still here. Like you, I owe a lot of it to this community.
    Thank you for taking the time to share your emotions with us. You are exactly the person, and the reason, that I/we continue to write here, as well as write my own blog. It's not for me anymore .... it's for everyone else on this path, especially the newer ones who don't think they will survive.
    I, and you, are here to tell them that there is hope. And understanding, companionship, life, love and acceptance .... right here.
    My passion/goal is to let every single widowed person know that they are not alone. And that they are normal in their grief.
    I am past the darkest of dark days, but I'm still here because I want/need to help others get through their darkest of dark days.
    So it's wonderful to hear from readers like you .... who let us know that we have made a difference. Big or small, a difference has been made ..... and our spouse's death was not a waste, but something we've been able to use to reach others.
    And that, dear Anonymous .... is wonderful.
    Thank you again. Your words mean more than you know.