Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Is It My Turn?

I don't know what I would do without my widda friends. Most of them I've never even met - just correspond with online. But they know my struggles so intimately because they are their own struggles as well.

For months I have watched many ahead of me in this journey hit their one year mark. There seems to be this deep, lasting grief that takes hold close to this important date. Sometimes it last weeks, sometimes months, sometimes more. Most of the widows/widowers I talk to cannot explain it or how to fight it.

For the last couple months I have been feeling pretty good. Still sad, but moving forward. I have someone amazing in my life who loves me, I moved to a great new home, I've begun to feel like I am re-entering the human race, dipping in one tiny toe at a time. I even took a sunny vacation in the tropics.

Then tragedy hit on the way home and it has felt like I've taken 10 steps backwards.

Scratch that. 100 steps backwards.

I feel this overwhelming grief creeping into every pore of my being. I have all sorts of wonderful things coming up in my life that I can no longer muster the excitement for. I find myself crying at all hours of the day and night with no idea what is triggering it. I am tired. I am miserable.

I know I'm ok, I know things are looking up, my life is steadily moving in a better direction. But this sadness just seems to be taking a foothold and no matter how hard I self-coach or try to cheer myself up, I can't seem to shake it.

Am I approaching the one-year funk? Is my widow card making its reappearance? And most importantly, how long is this damn grief going to be dragging me around?

Help me out, wids.

Tell me this gets better.


  1. I wish that I had the answers for you. I'm on this emotional roller coaster and I'm in "the pit" right now. Hopefully, someone will have a good solution! I hope that you start to find some peace soon.

  2. Wow Em, I could have written this myself. I have tried so hard to stay positive throughout all of this. I just feel like tears are always at the surface. It doesnt take much to set me off and I too cant put my finger on anything specific. I have just a little over a month before my year mark and suddenly its hard to breathe again. I wish I had answers. All I can say is, once again, you are not alone! BIG HUGS!!

  3. I am not a widow. My room mate/friend was killed by a drunk driver in 2003, my girlfriend's partner died one year ago, and my 10-year old cousin died last month after a tragic series of circumstances. So, I have not lost my spouse, but I have been on the 'front line' for a number of years.

    I know that the one year mark is important-there is a Before and After, and those designations are both very important. It will serve as a way to mark time later, and a way to frame your memory and understanding.

    And it does not get better, but it does get less painful. The chest pain does go away, and breathing gets easier.

    Call a friend, and if that one does not get it, call another, and so forth. The ones who answer the phone do actually care. And while they may struggle with wanting to fix it, they will listen. The really good friends care now and will continue to do so later.

    The one thing I felt comforting was that every single day took me one day closer to the war of attrition that was waged: me before vs. me after. That meant that I could not be expected to endure the same kind of pain every day. Time passes whether we like it or not, and with that comes change. People are jerks when they say time heals. It doesn't. But time does allow for greater understanding, alongside the gradual acknowledgement and acceptance of grief as a lifelong process.

    My girlfriend passed her one year mark in November. She did all of her favorite activities that day, and it helped.

  4. I'm a widow at one year and five and a half months. I disagree with your last commenter, I think it does get better! I think we have this constant tug-of-war that goes on inside us, the pain that letting go is, as in, you can't remember stuff you want to remember, and the release that that is as well. It's hard. I don't think that we'll ever not be widows again, even if we re-marry. I don't think that we ever stop loving our dead spouse, even if we have new loves. This is why widowhood cannot be compared to divorce or any other kind of loss. BUT...think about how far you've come, think about the first really rotten days...I know for me I didn't eat or sleep...I wonder how I survived, how did I pass time? I remember staring off into space alot, sitting on my parent's couch. When I think about where I was then, and where I am now, I know that I'm better, that it's better now than it was, and that gives me hope. Plus, for me, getting past the one year mark was huge. I have the memory of an elephant. So I couldn't help but obsess about what my husband and I had been doing one year previously. This didn't happen only on holidays but nearly every day. I'm no longer tortured by those thoughts. Take heart, dear one. You're almost there. It gets better!