Thursday, April 29, 2010


A few weeks back, I was at a volleyball game and approached by a woman I have often volunteered with at school events. I wouldn't call this woman and I friends but good and friendly acquaintances. She also has two boys and our kids have all played together and been on the same sports teams through the years. She approached me on the bleachers with her husband to ask me where I had moved.

I gave her the story that we had moved to an apartment complex within the district so I could keep the boys at the same school. She'd heard about my attempted move out-of-state with Sam and asked about that too. I related how difficult a transition that had been for the boys and so I had decided to return home so they could continue at their current high school. The husband replied that I had kept my priorities straight thinking out for my sons.

After the game and returning home, I thought back to this conversation and was very upset with myself because instead of being matter-of-fact about my situation, I related it in a very self-depreciating manner. I sounded and described myself as down-and-out and a failure. There was no reason for this. I owe this couple nothing. And it does no good to put myself down in any way.

I think there is an overall sense of shame in having been divorced (since I didn't want it) and then all the sense of failure for having lost my home - being unable to find suitable work and unable to keep up my finances.

But I need to hold my head up high and be proud of myself for what I have accomplished under trying and difficult circumstances. Everything I have done has been on my own and has been focused on what has been best for my sons. I should not feel ashamed of that. I don't want to apologize to anyone for the decisions I have had to make. No one else has been in my shoes facing significant grief and then having to forge on forward in a diminished state emotionally, physically and financially.

I think in the past that I would not have been so upset with myself like I am now. I wish I could redo that entire conversation on the bleachers with me holding up my head and feeling proud and strong for having made the decisions I did and taken the actions I have and survived all of this.

I do not want to disparage myself in the future.


  1. I tend to do the same thing, comparing myself as if I still had my husband here with those that have their marriages and family intact. And that is wrong! I feel that shame at times that my life should be like theirs, but it can't! Then I have to remember what I have gone through -- many difficult things these past 6 1/2 years and I am still standing, sometimes weak-kneed, but still standing, and for that I cannot feel shame. You have done SOOOOO much with what you have been dealt with. I see a survivor who does not give up even when things are so difficult. Your sons see that, and though they might not understand everything now, as they mature, they will. You have made many sacrifices for them -- that is a Great parent! You hold your head up high and embrace all you have accomplished and know that you have helped others. I know you are going to make it, because you have strength and courage.

    I hope you don't give up on blogging. If you do, I hope you have someone to entrust your thoughts to, because we all need that.

    Now, go out a pick up some flowers for yourself -- you deserve them. That is one thing I do for myself. They make me feel happy.

    Blessings to you!

  2. I totally relate with your comments. As well as comparing ourselves to those with marriages and intact families I really think that we are compared that way by others. People do judge us as though we are like them, not stopping to consider that we are not on the same page at all because of our widowhood. So I guess what I am saying is that we can be judged unfairly not only by ourselves (the harshest critic) but others too. And I do resent and struggle with that.

    It has taken me six and a half long years to no longer feel guilty for not bringing a homemade casserole dish to the team pot luck and just grabbing a bag of potato chips! Let those who have the time, energy and money do that.

  3. Hey, it's amazing sometimes if I can even remember to bring a "bag of potato chips"! :D

  4. What a good observation. I think these types of interactions are useful, as this one was for you. Too often we do carry around these negative messages within us. It takes a conversation such as this to actually hear what is it is we are telling ourselves. I too sometimes wish I could rewind a situation, and express myself in a different way. Since this is not possible, it is best to let go of the feeling that we should somehow re-address this. Like you said, you didn't owe this couple anything in your response, so likewise you probably don't need to go back and correct anything.

    Just last night I was meeting with a social worker who helps support my son's transition back home. I found myself saying that I didn't feel like I was as good a parent as I used to be, then corrected myself to say that I know that I am doing the best I can.

    You are doing remarkably well, and the best you can.