after death did us part

On Allowing Ourselves to be Us


There were many times that I wondered why he married me. He spend a ridiculous amount of time trying to change me into something I wasn’t. For 23 years of marriage, I did everything I could to be that person he wanted. The perfect professional worker, the perfect housekeeper, the perfect stay-at-home mom, the perfect sexy lover.

Needless to say, I failed to achieve perfection.

What I did manage to do was operate on sleep deprivation to get everything done and still fall short in his eyes.

Looking back, it boggles my mind that I was always trying to please him and be the perfect wife, but he did very little to be a good husband. Bringing home a good paycheck shouldn’t be the only thing on a husband’s list. Just sayin’.

When we find ourselves in that this kind of environment of constant emotional abuse, we can forget who we are. Maybe we repress our hopes and dreams just to survive–I know I did.

One time, I decided to learn how to knit. I figured it could be something I did while we watched TV (he was big into watching his shows together). He made fun of me and called it a useless and selfish thing for me to spend time on.

Other things I repressed or stopped doing included reading books, even though, as a writer, reading was something I should have been doing a lot of. Taking time for myself (even if part of a job) was time not spent on taking care of his ideas.

My brother told me after my late husband died that I was more myself than he’d seen in 20 years. He was happy to see it. I was shocked by his words. Who had I been for over two decades?

Women are often defined by our roles in life. Who are we to other people?

It’s okay for us to be ourselves.

I taught myself how to sew two years ago. I’ve always wanted to learn to make quilts, since I was a little girl. I was fascinated watching my mom sew clothes. Now, I’m making quilts and small stuffed animals and tons of face masks for my sister who’s a nurse for her to give to coworkers during this pandemic. I love sewing. It’s something I never could have done when I was married to him.

Reading is still a struggle for me. I read somewhere that “grief brain” or “widow brain” hits some people with a difficulty in reading. I decided to get audio books so I can listen and sew until I can really let myself sit down and enjoy reading a book again.

We need to embrace ourselves for who we are. Define ourselves as individuals with needs and wants that are valid and legitimate.

Are there any things that you do now that you have that freedom to be you again? I’d love to hear what kinds of self care or hobbies you do.

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By Dee
after death did us part

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