I don't like being a widow but it is who I am right now. The thought of attending the football picnic/parent meeting on Saturday afternoon yet again alone, and being in the bright light munching on chips by myself surrounded by couples fills me with such dreaded despair, I don't think I can go. It is the first time I'm throwing in the towel and admitting defeat. I can't do it anymore. I'm choosing not to go because I can't stand the pain. It is not worth the effort it takes me to buoy myself up at such events. Seven years of it and I've reached my threshold. Enough is enough. I'll go watch my son play in the stands where there is some cover but being thrust out into the throng of a picnic is another story. Trying to make small talk with people I don't know and will never interact with again ...
I don't want to be a widow anymore but face it, for the immediate time being it is what I'm destined to be. Hard to denounce a part of yourself. I dream about my past life as a relatively happy wife and mother, when I was productive and felt safe. I'd say as a married mom I flourished. I took flight and soared. Widowhood has been a downward spiral on so many levels. But at its core, I have felt unsafe and insecure. I'm tired of all the pep talks about being strong and pulling yourself up by your bootstraps. Sometimes you just come to the end of your rope like I'm feeling about attending the football picnic. I can't take another step forward.
A couple years ago I read a post by a widowed mom who wrote similar words. She was tired of being alone, tired of dating, tired of solo parenting and even tired of life itself. I totally got what this mom was saying and feeling. I'd been there and I'd go there again.
So I dream about my past life and dream about a future one where hopefully my life will be restored to some degree. I long for a committed partner (husband) and to be part of a mature, growing and giving partnership. Sharing a household and life would ease up the daily financial struggle I'm involved with and make it hopefully less difficult to get my boys through college. I want to be part of something bigger than myself and have a partner to lean on as well as to provide support to. A real grown-up give and take relationship with sex and a companion for social events. I do also dream of a small home or townhouse where I can garden again. But mostly I desire the security and safety I derive from being in a committed relationship (marriage).
Here I am dreaming about the past and dreaming about the futue and hating the present. Just hating it beyond words and also feeling sad and depressed about it. I want to run away from where I'm at right now. Back to the past or get thrust into the future. Anywhere but here.
But I think here is where I'm supposed to be. Maybe not embracing or even accepting it but at least not ignoring it or trying to push it always away. I'm rereading the book by Dr. Judith Sills "How to Get Naked Again." It is basically a dating guide for the middle-aged, but I'm getting a whole lot more than dating advice. Dr. Sills talks about the need to acknowledge our identities as to where we are right now today, not where we were or where we want to go. When I read this I realized how much I have been fighting my widowhood by struggling to be the same person I was as a married mom and how I've been on a quest to escape it as quickly as possible - fight and flight.
But Dr. Sills argues that to move forward, the first step is to live as fully as we can within our life situations. She also refreshingly disagrees with the emphasis on the Law of Attraction's striving for what we want to bring into our lives. Tha shouldn't be the mainstay of our energy. All of this for me means facing my widowhood rather than hiding from it. I don't think that means I have to force myself into situations that cause me pain or discomfort anymore like the football picnic. I still have the right to protect and shelter myself. But I have to stop myself from focusing on the fantasy of my past and the future and devote more on my attention to life right now. I'm still trying to figure out the logistics of how to do that - always easier said than done. I guess a start can be acknowledging where and who I am right now - "I'm a tired, widowed mom who doesn't feel up to going to the football picnic because it is a reminder of my being alone. Maybe I would meet someone interesting at the picnic but I don't have the energy to go this time. And it is okay to sit this one out. There will be more social opportunities in the future."