I continue this blog for a number of reasons. First and foremost, it is a way for me to grapple with and come to terms with my feelings. Sometimes I'm not clear about what I feel and setting out my quandries here, is a way to gain perspective. Secondly, this blog allows me to obtain the feedback of others and to interact with other interesting, intelligent people. There is a lot to be said for that. Maybe the most important reason for blogging is the hope that in my doing so, I increase or broaden the perspectives of others, be they widowed or not. This blog has kind of moved beyond the topic of grief to encompass adversity in general. I hope that in sharing my feelings, a greater understanding of what it is like to live under trying circumstances is reached. And one of my main goals is to illustrate the life of a person affected by multiple losses since that is not often discussed. Maybe in trying to deal with my life, I'll end up helping others in some, small way.
I've been giving a great deal of thought to the issue of unfairness of late. No doubt triggered by being around all the families at the baseball fields. We live in a town of higher than average income. For instance, I know of no one who has "lost" their home and had to move to an apartment. I know one family that has struggled to hang on to their home with the mortgage crisis with Countrywide and two who sold their mini mansions to move to smaller homes. So I do struggle with this issue because along with feeling alone and isolated because of widowhood and not having much of a support network, I also feel the stigma of being the only one to have lost my home. Now of course I know there have to be some folks in my community who have indeed lost their homes. But when you don't know of any, that is not much help or consolation.
I asked my girlfriend about all of this as it has been troubling me so. She agreed that the parents and families she knows have been pretty much spared hardship from the recession, etc. She attributes it to the fact that the circles we are involved with, or our kids are involved with, are simply made up of higher income people who can afford travel baseball. We're not around struggling people, therefore, we don't know of anyone dealing with severe crisis. And while I do know that people don't air their dirty laundry, it is not the same for a married mom of two to be caring for aging parents when she has a husband to lean on and rely on vs. my situation when I was involved in the same activity as a widowed mom of two young sons.
Part of my frustration could be labeled the "America's Got Talent" syndrome. I've never seen the show before this year - I guess last summer I was too busy packing up the house for our move. But the boys and I have watched it when we haven't been at baseball games. The whole concept of the show has really been bothering me. If you haven't seen it, it it a huge nationwide talent show in which adults and kids can pretty much compete with whatever talent they have. So you have singers, dancers and fire blazing magicians competing alongside others hand whistling and playing the harmonica. There are five year olds and 75 year olds! It is kind of a crazy, hodge podge mess!
What bothers me is that I don't think you can fairly judge apples to oranges. I want all the singers to be in their own competition and then even separated by those who compose their own songs vs. those who sing Fleetwood Mac. I want a junior vs. adult competition. I want the dancers to all perform in a sole dance show. How can you fairly compare a harmonica player with a hand whistler? Before this show I didn't even know hand whistling existed! Maybe the point is that you just can't compare such diverse people, talents, ages and acts. In the end, popularity and the performers who fit into the mainstream will be the ones who come out ahead.
Anyway, back to my own musing. I really get that EVERYONE our there is dealing with their own troubles. But what I struggle with is that all troubles are not created equal. Just as all talent isn't either. There are greater losses than others and some of us have had to face more than our share. That is my point. I won't dwell on it. But I did want to try and clarify my view on this topic.
So in the end what does this all mean for me? I guess I just want a bit of compassion expressed to those of us facing a significant amount of adversity. For others not to immediately jump in and chime "But everyone has problems." And I suppose I'm still trying to come up with helpful solutions to my own situation. How can those of us really struggling have an easier time of it? Where can we turn for more support? How can we learn to balance our problems with hope? For those of us with multiple losses, we're already tired and bogged down from having had to face numerous struggles. So it is a double whammy of dealing with loss and stress such as moving from a home, while facing adversity such as financial hardship. A mixture of grief, stress and anxiety all in one! No wonder the young woman who left home at 16 and was in foster care moved on in the AGT competition. Her story touched at the heartstrings of America even if she sang slightly offtune.