Yesterday, after school, a friend of my son's knocked on the door because driving home from school he had hit a patch of ice and skidded into a snowbank and knocked a mailbox down. This happened a block up the street and he did not know what to do. I went out with him but was not able to offer much assistance other than moral mom support. The car was impacted in the snow/ice and he could not drive it out. Eventually, with the help of three burly men from the neighborhood, the snow was dug out and the car pushed enough so he could get home and leave the minor incident behind him. At one point he asked me about the mailbox and it was clear that he was worried about the damage and replacement cost. I replied that it was only a mailbox (thank goodness) - in the grand scheme of things, just an annoyance.
As usual, this event stirred up a host of feelings. The first being, I'll admit, that it is difficult for me to extend help/support to others right now because I have so little to give. Of course, I didn't have a choice in the matter - a 16-year-old needed help. It made me hope that if in the future one of my boys needs assistance like this that they will find it. (What goes around, comes around). I was also struck by the realization that if I were to find myself in a similar bind, that I wouldn't have anyone to call except for a tow truck.
For me, the constant knowledge (which is an underlying thought with me throughout the day), that I am really alone is the worst part of widowhood in middle age. That reality alone is so depleting and depressing. It constantly puts me on edge and on guard. When I am driving (even in good weather), I am extra careful because if something happens I don't have a partner to help me out of it. I always try to avoid/avert disaster which is also tremendously tiring. It takes extra energy to always be thinking and plotting ahead.
Another aspect of all this worth pointing out is that there aren't a lot of middle-aged widows out there. So not many people even realize/understand what we have to face on a daily basis. In addition to the regular stress of living there is the added stress of our widowhood to deal with. We get hit with a double whammy!
When I was younger, I still had my parents to rely on. Other people are fortunate enough to have larger extended families to call upon - that is not my case. I am truly alone. And besides being alone I am responsible for the care of two teen boys. As I interacted with this young man yesterday afternoon, I couldn't help but think of how little encouragement I receive on a day to day basis. That is another aspect of not being married that is difficult. When you are living with someone you receive daily support which gives you the strength to get through the days. I do not receive many compliments or pep talks and face it - one coming from yourself isn't the same as hearing one from a person who cares about you. I constantly tell my boys that "everything will work out in the future - that it'll be o.k." How I wish to hear someone assure me of those words as well!
Today I am not feeling very thankful (but will try to scrounge up some positives).
Today I am thankful:
1. That I was able to help someone in need.
2. That we were out of cooking oil last night and my substitution of margarine worked fine in the brownie mix I baked.
3. That I have a hobby that helps me alleviate my anxiety and stress (knitting/crochet).