Everything’s Dependent

There are many things that make widowhood difficult. Too many to count. Widowhood is reveals who we are as people. It makes your weaknesses all too clear and it can show strengths you never knew you had.

Randy’s death revealed a lot about me, as a person. It seemed like every day I was learning more about myself. There were things I saw that I wasn’t very happy with. Usually though, it was just interesting to see how life changes a person.

When you are a widow, you spend a lot of time by yourself. The grocery shopping, the bank, the laundry, the car maintenance, etc. You usually do it all alone. When you are a widow with children, you do all those things when you can manage to squeeze it in. I found myself going to Wal-Mart and the grocery store at night. It might be 10pm before I walked into the store. I noticed I felt strange.

At first, I wasn’t sure what I was feeling. I was use to feeling sad when I did errands and took care of appointments by myself. Even anxious sometimes. This was different. And then it dawned on me, I was scared. Why would I be scared? Now that I was alone, suddenly I was afraid of the dark?

When I was young, 17 or 18 years old, I used to run errands the same way. Randy would stay at home with the baby and I would make quick runs to the store. Over time, the baby got older and we made a lot of trips together. If we couldn’t do it together, we just didn’t do it. We rarely went out without the other one. In fact, we rarely went out without the kids. It created a dependency that I had no idea existed. I always considered myself independent.

Randy worked nights. I use to taking out the trash, cleaning everything, and dropping the kids off at school. Standing on my own two feet after his death was one thing I didn’t think I had to worry about.

It seems time passes us by faster than we can realize. We were young when we found each other. We were young when he died. Even though we were so young, we still had spent 10 years of our lives together, almost 7 of that was as a married couple. After years with my spouse, I had because reliant on his company. He was my boundary and my security blanket. Now, he was gone and so was my comfort.

I had to learn to live again…without him. I had to regain my independence. Day by day it happened.

If you find yourself feeling anxious or scared, look at what is going on when it happens. Are you afraid of the dark? Before you can work on each piece to become whole, you have to be able to see all the pieces. The worst has already happened, right? Staring down the fear is the first step in the right direction. Whatever happens, it can’t possibly hurt more than losing your spouse. Don’t be afraid to step out of your box and become whole on your own.

I know not all of  you listen to country music, maybe none of you. I listen to it all. As discussed in my last post, there are words that just jump at me and stick with me. The style of music doesn’t matter. What matters is whatever I am reading, whatever I am feeling, makes sense to me. This chorus makes sense to me:

Straight ahead, never turn round

Don’t back up, don’t back down

Full throttle, wide open

You get tired and you don’t show it

Dig a little deeper when you think you can’t dig no more


That’s the only way I know

I post this because it describes, in a very general way, how I face each new challenge. I post it so that maybe it can help you face your fears. You don’t have to be afraid of the dark.



It’s All About You…

I started this site because I wanted to help other widows/widowers, younger ones especially. It turns out widows/widowers aren’t the only ones who can relate to my experiences. People grieving other types of losses are also able to relate. From those grieving their children to those grieving the loss of a marriage because of divorce.

I have heard from many of you. Many of you say the words are helpful. Most often it’s because you are experiencing the same thing or because you have had questions and knowing how I handled something answered some of your questions. Sometimes it is because you weren’t sure if you were doing the right things and hearing what I did reassured you in some small way.

That got me thinking (I’m a thinker by nature), what am I not answering?

I had a million questions as I was grieving, especially that first year or year and a half. My counselor answered as best she could, using her education, experience, and knowledge from how her sister handled it. That’s what I really wanted to know. How did another widow handle what I was going through? Sometimes I had so many questions, I wasn’t even sure where to start. I want to answer those questions for you, but there is so much to tell.

This process has been eleven years in the making. There were some things that touched me so deeply, they are still vividly playing in my brain. Those things are probably what I have written about first. There is so much more to say, but what if you are wondering something I haven’t mentioned. You are all at different stages of rebuilding from the storm. I bet you all have your own questions. Maybe some of you are wishing I would talk about X topic or wonder if I have ever experienced Y.
Here is your chance. Let me know. What questions are weighing you down? What problems do you wish you had solutions to? What do you wonder about? What would help you to know more about? Ask away. I would love to help you, if I can. Don’t feel stupid. There is no reason to. This is hard and it’s something that makes people so uncomfortable they don’t talk about it. Death really is the elephant in the room sometimes.  Don’t feel like I won’t know because no one else is going through it. Chances are that isn’t true. One thing this journey of blogging has taught me, we are all the same (well, close). There are definitely things you all have written in your blogs that I have not touched on and I read yours and completely relate to what you are saying–down to the exact words. It really is amazing.

This post may get a hundred responses or none. Either is okay. I just want to give you the opportunity. If you want to respond, do so in the comments. Just let me know the topic you’d like to talk about or the questions you would like answered. I will answer them in a post dedicated to just that topic or question. This offer never expires. The opportunity is always open.


Onward and Upward

A couple of months ago, my family and I were talking. Even Brendan, who rarely joins in conversations, had something to say. He’s the guy who hardly ever speaks, but when he does, it’s something important to him. I don’t remember the conversation, but I do remember the important part. Brendan said, “Just write, Mom. You are so good at writing. You could probably make a million dollars.”

Now, he isn’t an author. He isn’t a publisher. Heck, he doesn’t even like to read. That’s exactly why it meant so much to hear him say those words. His words echoed those spoken by sever other people. They all tell me to write. Write a book. Write articles. Just write  something. For some reason, when that quiet 16-year-old boy calls me to action, it jump-starts me.

That was my motivation to start looking at writing as a career. Until now, it has always been a hobby and coping mechanism. It’s what I do when I think I can help someone else. It’s what I do when my kids need help with their own papers. It’s what I do to keep punching someone in the nose. Its how I communicate when I know if I try to speak tears will flow faster than words.

The first step had to be research. What kind of jobs are out there, how does one find a job, and what sort of resume do these companies look for. For me, this was a daunting task. I started and stopped researching off and on for weeks. I do that when I am feeling a little overwhelmed. Don’t have to worry about failing if you never try. Brendan’s words just kept circling inside my head. I finally talked myself into taking a chance. Freelance writing seemed like the first logical step. I thought that might be the easiest place to snag something small. I needed to get my feet wet. It seems I was wrong; it isn’t easy at all. Everything I read pointed to needing a well established blog with regular followers.

I had thought about doing that forever. Why didn’t I do this long ago? My researched switched from creating a writing career to creating a blog. After looking at many forums, I settled on WordPress. When I went to create an account, I realized I had already made one. Apparently, during one of my other ‘I’m going to be a writer’ modes, I created a an account. How lucky for me! Sort of. I still didn’t know what to do with a blog.

I didn’t know what a page was, how to work widgets, or even how to post. I wasn’t sure I was cut out for this blog thing. There is one thing about me that always remains true, no matter where life guides me: I remain determined. Once my mind is made up, there is no changing it and I don’t give up (ask anyone, it’s true). So, I kept at it. After a few days, I had figured out enough to start. I made the blog private so no one could see my trial and error approach.

I honestly had not written more than a paragraph in more than 5 years, except maybe to pour my heart into an apology or a you should apologize letter.  I knew the first bits of writing would be tough. Perhaps, even they would even be down right ugly. I knew they would be patchy, at best. Just like someone who dances, plays an instrument,  or sings, writers have a style. There is a rhythm and flow to writing. When an author doesn’t write for a while, or isn’t reading, I think we lose some of that rhythm. It comes back, but it might take a while. I knew to get it back I had to just write. I needed to write every day and about anything. I had to read and write and write and read. I gave up sleep and did just that. I was tired, but happy.

I wanted to see what I could do. How would people respond? Could I build followers from people who had no idea who I was? That would be the real test of  talent. I commented on the blogs I was reading and watched a few drop in and read mine. Some liked posts, some decided to follow, but nothing earth-shattering. I knew that it would be hard to generate interest that way. It isn’t like I am the best writer to grace the internet or that I have some new age information never shared in public. If I am being honest, I was a little disappointed and stepped back. I quit making time to write. I suddenly found myself ‘busy’.

When I couldn’t make excuses anymore, I stepped up and started writing. I started doing the weekly and daily challenges again. You know how you try and try to do something and just can’t get it right? Then one day, you decide to give it one more shot. That last chance turns into the moment it all just clicks. That’s it. It just clicked.  I went back to some older pages and posts to edit and proof them (although they probably still aren’t perfect).

All the sudden, I had some interest. The DPchallenge did it, I think. After a month, my faith was restored. My daily views had gone from 1 to 25! And then, it happened! My BIG moment. I see I have a new comment, so I check it out. Someone I admire nominated me for a Liebster Award. Maybe it was out of pity since I had only 6 followers. I don’t care why. She mentioned me in the same paragraph as the words “how many of them rock my world every day with their writing skills”. It made me happy and want to do better. It also made me want to shout from the rooftops. Since I have never done well at keeping secrets, I went straight to Facebook to tell my friends the ‘secret’ good news before I burst. My views more than doubled.

I didn’t consider that people would hound me about the ‘secret’. I wasn’t ready to share the blog. I decided the write the blog to help people through some of the experiences that I went through that have challenged me. The only thing to make a tough time tougher is thinking you are alone. I wanted widows and mothers to know, they are never alone and we all do the best we can. Doing that meant sharing some of my own not so pretty moments. Sharing that deeply, leaves you naked in front of the world. That’s hard. Dream or no dream, it is hard to throw your ugly stuff out there for the world to judge.

My husband, Tim, didn’t even know about the blog…yet. I had to tell him. Like usual, he was very supportive (baffled why it was a secret) and urged me to continue. Even though I wasn’t ready to share with the world, I did just to quiet the crowd. The response was more than I could have asked for. Near or far, I felt nothing less than support. Today, my views have more than tripled from the day of the DPchallenge.

I don’t think I woke up with magic fingers. I know there is a lot of work yet to do. I don’t think I will have thousands of views or be Freshly Pressed by year-end. I am certain my blog will not continue to have these kinds of numbers every day. I do have a lot going for me though. I have hope and drive to succeed. I believe I am on the right track and that makes me one happy girl. Because I finally opened myself up, I know I have people who will always support me. I will continue to work, get better, and reach goal after goal. One day, I know my name will be in a magazine or on the cover of a book. It won’t be happenstance. It will be from hard work, determination, and support. I have nowhere to go, but onward and upward.