“I belong with you…you belong with me…you’re sweetheart”
– Ho Hey – Lennon Stella and Maisy Stella.
– Ho Hey – Lennon Stella and Maisy Stella.
Hi! My name is Jen and my late husband’s name is Bill. I was widowed at forty one. Some people say to me that my entire life changed in 24 hours. They are wrong…my entire life changed in one second. I remember that exact second. I went from being so happy at a party with my husband and in one second I was forever changed when he collapsed next to me. In that second, my whole world changed and I never heard his voice again.
I am here to share my story. I had a great love, one many people will never had. I also experienced a tragic loss. It is that love that lives within me that keeps me going each day. In reading my story and my thoughts, I hope that I am able to help at least one widow realize they are not alone. I also hope that I can help people who still have their love to appreciated them and live more in the moment. So many times, I feel so alone. If you are reading this, please know, you are not alone. I am here with you.
One of my greatest grief struggles in life is expressing to others what I need. The people walking alongside me in this journey have the best of intentions. of them have not lost a spouse and you will never understand what it is like unless you have lost the person that you had expected to spend the rest of your life with. You don’t have to understand, but you can sit with them in the moment. You cannot fix it (and trust me, we know you can’t), but you can listen.
I am not the same person I was when my husband was alive. Apparently, I have more to learn. For now I know when my time comes, I will be so grateful for the short 5 years and 10 months that I got to spend with Bill, for I had someone to lose. I will cherish the incredible friendships that I have made and nurtured. I hope that I can also look back and know that I helped others that are grieving in a similar way as me by sharing my story and being there to support you!
I have such clarity now as to what is important in life. When Bill was here, our priorities were somewhat askew. At forty one, my husband and I were planning for a future that we had no idea did not exist. Making sure we were paying off our credit card debt, saving for our future and planning a family. Today, I can say without hesitation that I would give you my job, I would give you the keys to my house, I would give you access to my bank account and I would give you everything I own, if you could bring my husband back. More time isn’t an option. So appreciate each second and live in the moment. How many times I heard it and thought I had the answers…sadly I did not.
Thank you for reading and I am so happy to be able to share my story with you.
Today I feel invisible. I miss having my person. The one that shares in all the ups and downs. The one that promises to do life with you. The one that is your priority and he is yours. At forty one, I look at my circle of friends and they all have their person and their kids. I understand that their family should be their priority. It’s just hard knowing that you are not anyone’s priority. I got married later in life, so I experienced this before being married. It is not the same. Now, I know the comfort and the safety of having your person. I know what it is like to have someone that is your cheerleader and biggest fan. It really hurts when they are suddenly disappear.
Everyone keeps telling me that I need to expand my circle of friends. Like that is super easy. Just to let you know…I am open to it. I have joined several widows groups and actually attended several meetups. I flew to San Diego to attend Camp Widow. If you haven’t heard of it, it was life changing for me and I will create a post about it to encourage anyone that has lost a partner to attend. It just isn’t that easy to develop a meaningful friendship or relationship overnight when you don’t know what or who you can trust anymore.
I know now how important living in the moment is now. I still want to have life experiences and check things off my bucket list. I now know how short life is. I am trying my best to dig deep to find that independent girl that was once inside me and get the courage to start doing these things on my own. I will, just not today.
I will leave you with a little story about my trip to Sam’s Club today. Lines were long and I was thinking about how much I used to love going to Sam’s Club with my husband. I know it sounds crazy, but he worked a lot of weekends and we never got enough days off together. Even if we were grocery shopping or going to Sam’s Club, we had fun together. There was one exception to this during our time together. I insisted that Bill go with me to Sam’s Club and I didn’t realize it was the Kickoff game of the season for Chicago Bear’s. He waited until we were there to point out how empty the store was and that there were no other men there. He never said anything before we left. But, he went with me anyways. Then today as I was standing in line and smiling and thinking of that day, I looked around. There were so many couples and families standing in that line and not one person was smiling. For fifteen minutes, I kept looking and no one looked happy. They were not talking. I wanted to scream at the top of my lungs and let them know how lucky they all were to be standing next to their person. I wanted to tell them that in the blink of an eye everything in their life could change. I wish I knew before what I know now and that is to be present always and appreciate each moment. Be grateful that someone is willing to give you their time and treasure it because that moment will never exist again.
I am not sharing this so others feel sorry for me…remember I was the one that was smiling. I am sharing because maybe someone will cherish a moment they may not have cherished before reading this post. For those of you who have lost someone…it is ok to laugh and it is ok to cry. Even if you are in public…I have done it so many times. Not appreciating every moment as a gift was a hard lesson to learn because today it leaves me with regret from a part of my life that I can never get back. But, it is also a lesson to not make that mistake again.
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