Diary of “A Widow’s Walk”

November 2016

I walk? I don’t want to walk, I want to run away! I want to be understood and I am so tired of this journey. I am missing my wonderful husband and trying to figure out my life alone. My friends and family do their best to understand me but have no idea what I am feeling, and sometimes they don’t know what to do with me. Everyone has an opinion or idea of where I should be in this grief thing. Mostly, they would like it to go away, it’s been enough time now, or maybe, they are too busy to care. I get it!

I want to ‘feel” better, and I want to “be” better. At times I feel like I am drowning in a lake and there’s no one throwing me a rope or pulling me to shore. Sometimes I hope there’s no rope, so I too will go to heaven to be with my husband Bob.

I want to “do” better, and I try to, until I don’t! And then, I pretend I am ok as I push myself, and begin to crawl into “My New Normal”, also known as “Widowing 101”. For a time, I reach out to my friends, which exhausts me. Those friends are tired of hearing my story over and over again. I know that sometimes they wish they could escape my sadness. I don’t blame them, sometimes, i don’t want to be around me either.

I listen to them speak of their coupled life, their twosome, their plans created by two, enjoyed by two. Theirs is the life I enjoyed for 51 years, it is a life I may have taken for granted, but the life I cannot reclaim as mine.

Sometimes I am invited to their homes for dinner, but it’s weird without my husband. I am careful with my words, while assuring them I’m doing well. They want me to be ok, and share their words of comfort. For some reason, they think they need to reassure me my husband is in heaven now, and is pain free. I know it’s true, and am fully aware the conversation Is uncomfortable for them, because he was their friend too. Grief belongs to them as well, they miss him, and I get it.

At times a panic swarms inside of me and I make an excuse, any excuse to leave their home quickly and return to my home and my loneliness. I need to cry, to go “Somewhere, not here”. I want to climb the steps to my tiny safe space, a place Bob and I built for the two of us to share. It’s a place we planned to live out our days with children and grandchildren nearby. It’s a non verbal place for me now, where silence helps me to think and remember my life with him. I don’t understand the silence I crave right now! This crazy, active, once happy and hyperverbolating woman need quiet? This can’t be me!!

At times I notice a glimmer of hope for some happiness in the distant future. He encouraged me to be happy after he was gone, but It is difficult for me to understand how I could ever be happy

without him. I feel I am being morphed into someone i do not recognize nor like. I want him to be here and to tell me i will be ok.

December 2016

I am feeling so many raw emotions because Christmas is coming, and He should be here. I wish he were holding my hand while we are surrounded by family, heading to the Festival of Lights, braving the cold, together. I want him to offer one more prayer at dinner with family and friends, because Those times were ours to share. I can hear him complain that the Angel on top of our Christmas Tree was crooked. It was always crooked because I was the, “Just get it done kind of wife”, “and he was the, “take time to do it right, or you may need to take time to do it over” kind of husband. It was then I would smile, and eventually he would too. I would hang the ornaments on the tree, and he would wait until i completed my job. Then, quietly but intentionally, he would “straighten them”. Although it would annoy me, this Christmas I long for that “perfectly balanced Christmas tree”.

I need his wise perspective on this drowning sadness I am feeling. The sadness of my new life without him I want him to smile one more time and assure me I am beautiful. He loved me and supported me when I felt unlovely and alone. I want to hear him tell me one more time that I am more beautiful as I age, which also includes these big ugly brown spots on my face, surrounded by the wrinkles large as dogs which are exacerbated when I smile. I want him to look into my eyes and assure me “you are what matters to me”. “It’s your smile Pat, your laugh, your insights about life and how much you love me”. Mostly, I want him to hold me tight and tell me I am ok just the way I am.

He loved me knowing my brain was impaired and sometimes he would insert his sick sense of humor filled with silly puns to tease me about it. He understood that my seizures, would sometimes have a way of isolating me. He watched as i fought a disease that could have taken my life, encouraging me to seek help while holding my hand in therapy as i shared my story with the doctor. His encouragement gave me “Hope for yet another day”

He grew up in a conservative religious family with parents who loved him and lived their beliefs. But, other family members, spoke the right words, but lived their lives to the contrary. Some were harboring deep family secrets of abuse, lies, and a hidden pregnancy. They kept their distance from our family because we did not speak their native language of “Christianese”. Our family was shunned when we disagreed with their “theological position”. It was interesting to note, we worshipped and trusted in the same God. Many of them spoke about trusting this God, but lived a life of fear, anxiety and mistrust. YOU continued to live an authentic life, serving an audience of ONE and helping people take next steps in their faith walk.

Your friends, family, and parishioners knew and trusted you. YOU pointed the way to a loving non judgmental God, a God who promised he would never let go of them. YOU spoke to them

of a God who loved them when they made stupid decisions, and a God who held onto them through their doubts, and fears. YOU encouraged them to live and be the best version of themselves. YOU authentically shared your own stories with them, exposing your humanity and explaining to them it was ok to make mistakes. YOU walked with them through real life while holding their hands through their pain and through crisis, YOU celebrated with them at weddings, and the birth of children and YOU cried with them as they mourned. Their path was your path, their pain was your pain, no better no worse. They trusted you because you were the real deal, a truth evidenced when they shared their personal stories of you through personal notes to our family, and at your funeral. Those Stories included “I came back to God” because of “Pastor Bob”

I miss you today Bob!

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