Tuesday, May 15, 2018

Being a Widow and What I've Been Up To

 You know I post on different subjects, and don't want to bore non-widows with too much widow stuff, but it is part of my life now, and quite a few of my blog friends are in this same boat. We don't like to think of it but every loving marriage ends with a loved one as a widow or widower. This week when a lady said she wants to be more kind to her husband, I reminded her of that fact. She says yes, she thinks of me when she starts to say a harsh word to him.
Above photo is of my husband and a favorite mountain bike. He loved bicycling in nature on wild paths.
I have been a widow since November 2016 and I realize I am not the same Terra as I was the day before my husband Will died.
Much of me and much of my life has changed forever. Much of this change is unpleasant for me and there are a few good points too. Here is a lamp I bought with its beautiful colors.

I think many widows and widowers will agree that when you lose a long time spouse everything changes. You eat breakfast in a different way and sleep a different way. When you want to share some little thing, like a funny line from a book, your partner is missing.
In the first year I felt I was missing an arm, a leg, half of my brain and half of my heart. A friend whose husband of 40 years recently moved out and is filing for divorce says she feels the same way. It is about losing someone we love, someone who was part of our every day life for decades. People talk about the "widow fog" and I sure felt it. Now I am recovering but the new Terra is not the old Terra.
In Bible study recently with 14 women I realized 10 of them had not known me "before". So they never knew the old Terra before I was broken and began to slowly rebuild. A few precious friends knew the old and the new me.
I recommend Griefshare, just do an online search and there will likely be a group in your area. You do not need to say anything or you can share and my healing was helped by attending.
My house is so quiet now, which is kind of nice, yet kind of sad and lonely. I trained myself to say "my house" when for 34 years it has been "our house." And I at the same time love being alone to set my own pace to eat, read, watch TV, etc. That is relaxing. I do NOT want a roommate. There is a luxury to living alone.

I am redecorating my house. Painters came in and painted the long hall way and the kitchen, including the ceilings. They cleaned the walls before painting and fixed a few spots that needed putty, etc. I treated myself and bought a leather recliner (see photo above. Can you see the dulcimer that my husband Will made for me?). The chair is very comfortable and swivels which is a great feature, plus it rocks. The new recliner is from a local company that sells green earth friendly materials and it is all made in the USA.You can go ahead and laugh but I chose the color tan to coordinate with my tan dog. The dog hairs don't show.
My friend who was widowed when I was is freshening up her house too and we talk of it as steps in healing.
I am still wearing my wedding and engagement rings as I still feel married to Will. 
Aren't friends essential? Do you like having coffee with a friend? I meet friends at a coffee shop or at one of our homes once a week or so. Those chats range from light hearted to deep discussions and are fun.

Don't forget my little Bounce who gets me out of the house twice a day for walks, rain or shine. Here in California it is mostly shine.

If you have a partner give them lots of affection and attention while you can.
Word to the wise.


Frugal in Essex Tania said...

It's true as you get older you do think one of you will out survive the other. My husband always says he hopes he goes first as he would be lost without me. I think he'd be fine......life goes on. Each day us a blessing and you need to do things you enjoy.

only slightly confused said...

Sounds like you have a healthy outlook on life. I wish you all the best.

Betsy said...

Terra, these are wise, wise words indeed. My husband and I will be married 40 years come September, and I love him more today than I did the day we were married. You have described very well the friendship and companionship and love that we have for each other. I cried as I read through your post today. My heart aches for you, yet selfishly, I was thinking of how I would feel if I were in your spot. I can’t even imagine. I have been with Dennis since I was 15 years old. He is my life.
I have been praying for you and will continue to do so. I’m so glad you have friends that you can meet with. And of course your sweet little dog. We can never underestimate the comfort and companionship they give us. Thank you for sharing your heart with us today. Never feel bad about that.
Much love and many blessings, Betsy

wisps of words said...


And I do mean the 'caps.'

We have been married, for many, many years. Sometimes, that makes your advice, even more pertinent. Sometimes, it isn't as needed, at this point. :-)

But regardless, everyone should remember this. Everyone. Be nice to the people in your life. Try. It will lessen one's possible regrets. :-)

Gentle hugs...

The Weaver of Grass said...

TERRA. You have summed widowhood up very well. My first, very happy, marriage lasted almost thirty nine years. M was an artist and taught the subject. We were also both music makers and ran an early music group - I played harpsichord and he a variety of wind instruments, many of which he made himself.
Two years after his death (we had already moved into the countryside) I married a local bachelor dairy farmer and we had twenty three very happy years together until he died in March 2017. A very different marriage - lots of farming, lots of countryside interests - it is almost like having two completely different lives. I have been so lucky.
Now, alone, with my little dog - and my only son quite nearby - I garden, read, have joined the University of the Third Age and do various , but most of all rely on my friends - all of them widows too - we go out together and have made a life forourselves.

Starting Over, Accepting Changes - Maybe said...

Life changes so quickly and we are never really ready for it. I still have my husband but am slowly losing him to medical problems. I am trying to become more independent for both our sakes. I fear the road ahead.

You are fortunate to have friends (and that sweet puppy) to talk with and socialize. There is strength in numbers.

Linda said...

Thank you for sharing your heart. There is much about you that I don’t know and I’m grateful to learn a bit more today. You are an amazing woman! I love Louis Dean and I realize we don’t know how many years we will have together but I want to live the years we do with no regrets!

Mari said...

I think it's good to share this part of your life. It's good for you to talk about it and you have wise words to share. I'm glad you have good people around you to talk to, and I think your positive attitude has to help you and those you talk with.

Lin said...

Wise, heartfelt words, friend. I am glad that you are doing positive things to move ahead solo...even if it hurts like hell. So many people stop there...living their days in the past. I think you will survive...maybe thrive (?) as you navigate this new life. I think a good sign is that you painted and bought a new chair. These are now "yours" and not "ours." It's a small action, but a BIG step.

It's okay that you wear your rings. You can't be expected to move past all of those things from your past.

Give it all time. Take each day as it comes. But...who am I to tell you that? I think you are doing just fine! Sending you a big hug, friend! I think you are gonna be okay!

The Joy of Home with Martha Ellen said...

I have not walked in your shoes, Terra. It sounds like you are doing okay. I cannot imagine what life is like after losing my spouse. Life changes so quickly. Thank you for writing about how it is going for you. Like you said. It will come one day, whether we want it or not. ♥

Retired Knitter said...

I have been married to my husband for 49 years this June. I actually had to think what the number was - and when I did - I was a bit stunned. I don't fear being a widow. Over the last few years my husband's eyes have failed him and he is legally blind. As a result, I have taken on almost all the responsibilities he once did. I feel prepared for taking care of myself if it should come to that. But I would miss his company. And when I try to imagine him gone, it is hard to wrap my brain around the concept. You are right. EVERYTHING would be different.

Thank you for your thoughtful post.

37paddington said...

Thank you for this sharing. A good reminder. I know you miss him and always will.

Barb said...

Hi Terra~ Wonderful post, very heartfelt with lots of good advise. I have been married for 44 wonderful years, and I can't imagine what it would be like to lose him. My mother became a widow when she was just 54 years old, and I watched her lose friends, gain friends, and make life changes that were difficult at best. Thank you for the gentle reminder to be kind, and to use our words with love and respect.

FlowerLady Lorraine said...

Dearest Terra ~ what a touching, heartfelt post. It's been 5 years and 5 months since I lost my dear husband. We were married for 43 years and dated for 3 years before marriage. The first years of being a widow were really rough, last summer I had a bout of depression as 'reality' settled in in a big way. I was in a real down funk for 2-3 months, didn't feel like doing anything, living didn't seem worthwhile. This year I feel differently, don't know how to explain it, but I feel lighter. The love we had/shared will never die. I love him more now than I ever did and look forward to seeing him again one day. God has never left my side, He is with me all along the way.

It hurts my heart when I hear wives bemoaning 'petty' things about their husbands, speaking harshly whether in jest or not. Come on, none of us are perfect and when we lose the ones we love we will miss so much and realize that so much that peeved us was in fact 'petty' in the overall scheme of things. We all need to let the small things go, we need to encourage, love and forgive each other. We need to laugh more and see the beauty in ordinary things. (I miss the laughter that once filled this little cottage of mine.)

It takes time to get used to doing and being by ourselves, but there is a joy & peace in it as you are realizing. I've made changes too, and while change can be hard, it can be also exhilarating, fresh and bring peace. Widowhood is an adventure, one I am taking with Jesus/God constantly by my side. He is my strength when I am weak. He has blessed me in many ways and I am thankful.

Thanks for sharing from your heart. Love & hugs ~ FlowerLady

DawnTreader said...

Thanks for an interesting post. I was never married but there have been other losses and changes throughout life which have involved big changes; and in some respects one does come out from them feeling somewhat like a different person (and yet, of course, a core of "oneself" is still there as well). Finding new friends is often harder as one gets older, I think - but then again, the internet has brought about huge changes in the way we communicate and share things as well. Although living alone, and nowadays seeing less of some people who still live in the same town (but our lives so different now that we rarely meet), instead I find myself in daily communication with both new and old friends living far away - and usually very little time to "feel lonely"

Jeanie said...

Every day I am grateful for Rick and I know that with his cycling any single day could be his last. But then, it could be that way for any one of us. This is such a thoughtful and introspective post. Yes, things change when there is one of you and there is no schedule for healing or grieving or "moving on." It just is.

I love that you are redecorating. It gives a freshness, something different. And that's very nice.

Pamela M. Steiner said...

Thank you for this excellent post, Terra. I can only imagine what you are going through, and my heart breaks for you. But it is wonderful to see the progress you are making, one step at a time. I have a close friend whose husband died 4 years ago, and she is still working through these emotions and steps just like you. It is a process that will probably continue for many years. But it sounds like you are taking the positive steps to keep moving forward. May God give you the grace you need for each new day and event that comes along in your life. My friend also participated in Griefshare...even became qualified to lead a group. It was very good for her. She also got a doggy, changed some furniture, painted, new floors...many of the same things you are doing. It doesn't take the place of your loved one, but it helps to restore your balance and perspective in life. Staying active and meeting new friends is good too. God bless you and guide you each and every day. Thank you for your honesty. I am sure this will help someone else reading it today.

Barbro Lindblom said...

Terra, I can relate to everything you say. When my husband, Trent, after 43 years of living together died I was struck by a profound sorrow and quite a few regrets. Even though I had known he would die from his illness, even down to the day this was going to happen (using the End of Life option), there was no way I could have been prepared for the grief and emotional turmoil that followed. The year and a half that have passed since he died have been the most tumultuous time of my life emotionally.
Like you say, I am not the same person I was then and it's not all bad. I enjoy living my life according to my own rhythm and it's exciting and wonderful to turn my home into an expression of the new person I'm becoming.
But then there's the void. And the incomprehensible truth that I will never see him again, that he is no longer in this world. Sometimes this feels as something fundamentally wrong.
The existential crisis of losing Trent has brought the big questions about life and death and how to live with a purpose to the surface and it's something I live with now on a daily basis. This is actually a good thing. I have learned a thing or two and maybe this experience will be helpful when my time is up.
I am very glad that we have been able to share our experiences and that we both continue to do our best in making lemonade out of lemons.

My Grama's Soul said...

Hi Terra.....after reading your post....I was certainly touched with your candor and honest telling of how it feels to be a widow in today's world. It does open ones eyes to a very real reality that if you have a partner in your life....one of you will be alone eventually. It also makes it very important that all of us should realize just how SPECIAL and BLESSED we are to have a significant other in our lives.

Glad you are healing somewhat and moving on a little.....I think a little "redecorating" ALWAYS HELPS! LOL




Thank you....

Debby@Just Breathe said...

Thank you for sharing your heart. Your words are worth listening to and I appreciate them very much. I'm glad you still wear your rings. Your husband is so handsome. Thank you for sharing his photo. Take care and God bless.

Boopnut said...

My sister lost her husband six years ago. Reading your blog is similar to the things she has gone through. She belongs to a coffee group. She plays cards twice a week. It took a while for her to go out and make friends. She has many physical ailments and needs to sell her house as it is just too much for her. Her kids don't help. I hope she hires help. Sorry I ramble. I worry for her.


b+ (Retire In Style Blog) said...

What courage it takes to do life the way you are doing it...healing and healing and moving on a little at a time. I loved this post Terra. Thank you for sharing. Blogging does bring us all closer together.

And as you said, in the end we will all be widows or widowers. Smart words to remember.


Lisa said...

I have read several post from widows. Many are the same as yours. They break my heart. My husband is my best friend. We talk and share everything and every moment. Sometimes I wonder how life will be if he were no longer there and it makes my heart ache. I can only imagine the real pain and new life you must have. Like you said, one of the two will experience the loss of the other in time.
Hugs to you.

Sally said...

Terra, thank you for writing this lovely post. Thankfully, I have not lost my husband, but I think about how real that possibility is all the time. I wonder if I will be ready if it happens. I wonder if I will stay in the home we now share. I wonder if I will get out of the house and have a life. I wonder just how I would ever adjust. I hate to be alone. I don’t want to be alone. I was single due to divorce for ten years and I grew to be happy in my singleness. Then, Jim came along from my high school years and we married twenty-six years ago. We have aged together. It has not always been easy, but I have a wonderful companion and I’m so grateful. I learn much from others like you. I hope in some ways I am the one left as a widow. Jim truly would have such a hard time being alone. I worry how he would navigate it.

Griefshare is such a wonderful resource. I have the book and I also went through the workshops after my daughter’s death. It is so wonderful to know that we have that kind of support when we are suddenly bereaved.

You are doing such positive things. You are showing the rest of us the way. Keep on keeping on. And, I love your new chair. Blessings.

Pom Pom said...

Beautiful advice, Terra. Healing is a miraculous gift from God, isn't it? We can't possibly heal ourselves, the Comforter remains faithful.

The Weaver of Grass said...

I so agree with this Terra. Those who still have a partner should make the most of every single day because when your loved one dies in that instant everything changes for ever. My dear one (my second, my first husband died after 38 years of very happy marriage and my second after 23 years) feels so close to me (he died in March '17) particularly when I wake in a morning = I put my hand out to his side of the bed to feel for his hand - and then realise he is not there.

Red Rose Alley said...

Thanks for sharing your thoughts on being a widow, Terra. This can't be easy at all... so many reminders of your loved one. But you have such a positive nature, which I admire. It's nice that you are redecorating your house and going out to coffee with friends. I sometimes meet my childhood friend for coffee and it really makes my day. And how special that you have Bounce to go on walks with you every day. I love your beautiful lamp, and I've been looking for one just like it for my bedroom.

Summer is on its way in California. I can feel it coming. I hope it doesn't get too hot for me and you. : )

love, ~Sheri

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~Lavender Dreamer~ said...

This was such a good post, Terra and I came back to it. I read it a few days ago and I've thought a lot about what you said. You really do have to accept that you'll have a different life when your loved one dies. I think about you all the time and pray for you often. You've always inspired me with your kind ways. Take care of yourself! Hugs, Diane

Marion said...
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Annie said...

I found your blog through Snap That's blog and glad I did :)
Thank you for sharing your life and wisdom. It helps so much for others to learn from you and your experiences.
Your dog is so cute!
I can't wait to see your new kitchen . I hope you'll show us when it is finished!

Joyful said...

Dear Terra, I'm reading this and only learning of the loss of your husband. I send you my condolences and virtual hugs. I can only imagine the experience and your are right, anyone who is married will some day face the same thing. I wish you well in the renovations of your home and in the rebuilding process. You do need your good friends and other relationships. I can understand why you got a chair to match the colour of your dog. I used to have a white long haired cat and a red sofa!

Green Girl in Wisconsin said...

I think you're both very brave and helpful sharing these honest reflections here. This act helps others heal, too.