Sunday, October 2, 2011

Long-term Widowhood

This is a wreath I made my girlfriend some years back. It was on her door when I went by last Saturday night. We have a standing ritual that after every "school-parent-activity," such as taking Homecoming Dance photos, we either go out for wine or stay in with snacks and wine.

September is gone. Wow! Fast and furious. I was out of the loop most of the month - under the weather with this terrible chest cold thing. It wasn't until this weekend that I'm feeling more myself. And the cough is still lingering... Then there were still those problems posting my posts, so I kind of gave up blogging and took the month off in a way. Still went to work, tended to my son at home and so on. But was pretty lackluster and unmotivated. No walks in my little forest preserve, no knitting. Only wanting to rest, I would just lie on the bed and think.

This past month I've done a lot of thinking and reflecting. I've come to the conclusion that I'm very, very worn down, physically, spiritually, emotionally and mentally. I would say some it is long-term widowhood and solo parenting. I'm just bushed and tired of this life.

When I was at the photo shoot for Homecoming and in the middle of all the married couples and intact families last week, a part of me called out that I don't want this solo life any longer. Yet coming off my recent bout of illness, I truly lack the motivation or seem to have the energy to move toward a new tomorrow.

I obviously have to start making strides toward getting a new job and advancing my career options. I am not going to die with a defunct Master's Degree working as a crummy chain restaurant hostess. Lying in bed, I concluded that what is actually worse for my self-esteem is not that I'm not married, but that I am not working as a professional. That fact eats at me every day.

I took the Soaring Spirits sponsored survey on widowhood over the summer. I thought it was important for there to be a view from a longer-term widow, which is how I would describe myself 8 years out. One of the questions was something like, "What would you most like the public to know about widowhood?" I can't remember the choices except that mine was that widowhood is extremely difficult. It is not some romp through life. Eight years out having parented two sons going on 10 years, and I am truly wiped out. I've blogged about this before - the fatigue and exhaustion of widowhood. Because it is not only physical but also such a mental drain. Doing everything on one's own, always making the decisions, figuring out the problems, sleeping alone, trying to recover from being under the weather without someone soothing you with a cup of hot tea or warm bowl of soup. Getting it yourself just isn't the same kind of TLC.

My energy levels are just kaput, but I think that I need to start moving in the direction or creating a new life for myself, even if I'm only taking baby steps. I think I need to get back into the mental health field and am contemplating social work and in particular working in a hospital or nursing home setting. Yesterday, I forced myself to take a walk in my little hidden forest - 30 minutes. I'm focusing on eating healthy this month and not stressing out too much.

In summary and conclusion, long-term widowhood for me has been very draining. But then the reality of the matter is that even when you're so depleted and on the ground, you've got to muster up that strength and energy to pull yourself back up again. And I think that for some of us, that is the true nature of widowhood. Falling and always having to pick oneself back up. No wonder I am so drained and depleted. My battery seems to have really worn out.


  1. Hi WITM:

    It is soooo good to see a post from you! I am so sorry you have been sick this past month. I was worried about you, but thought maybe you needed a break from writing. I pray that you will gain strength in your body, mind and soul.

    You are so right about widowhood and parenting and etc! It IS a constant choice to keep pulling ourselves up that takes much energy to do so. You share the truth -- thank you for that!

    I hope your sons are doing well. I hope after this year, after your youngest son's graduation, the doors of opportunities will open up for you. You will be free to take some steps and I know you will do great!

    Take care of yourself and know that others are thinking of you and you are not forgotten.

    Glad you are back!!!

    Much love!

  2. Beth - As always, you are so kind with your comments. I hope the fall weather is cooler for you and that your family is doing well too.