after death did us part

CategoryStarting over

Navigating the Fog of Grief

N

Even though we didn’t have a great marriage anymore and I’d thought about escaping him many times, I was hit by a huge fog of grief when he died. The trauma of his illness, the violence of that illness in his last three days, and the feelings of not knowing who I was were the beginning of a surreal fog that is a common thing that protects grieving people when they need to make...

On Not Being Helpless

O

It was weird when I became a widow and noticed most of the marketing of services or help for widows showed smiling, little, old ladies who were widowed in their eighties, like my grandmother. I am not one of those women. I’m in my mid-forties with a few gray, glitter strands that have been accumulating since my late twenties. And I didn’t feel much like smiling for a long time. After my...

When the Loss of a Spouse Feels More Like a Breakup…

W

The other day, I was talking with my best friend about how sad to hear about our friends having trouble in their marriages or divorcing. Some are trying to save their marriages. Others had divorce papers sprung on them by their cheating spouses. Others drifted apart. They have those choices. Being widowed can feel like a type of breakup–one you can’t control, didn’t expect...

Slowly Healing and Purging

S

It’s taken me a long time to be able to talk about the abuse my kids and I endured when my late husband was alive. Lots of therapy and soul searching have let me see him for what he was and allowed me to reclaim myself. There’s nothing like that feeling when we realize that we are more than capable to take care of things—whatever those things are. I have found so much strength that I didn’t...

A Letter to the Former Sister-in-Law

A

In the first few months after he died, you called me to talk. Those two or three phone calls were for you to cry about how unfair it was and for me to give you comfort for losing your brother. He was selfish enough on his deathbed that he didn’t want you to know. In his own twisted, not-right mind, he thought he was helping you by not allowing you to see him waste away into nothing. He...

Anniversaries After He’s Gone

A

Some widowed people commemorate their wedding anniversaries with fond remembrances or celebrations. Not me. Surprisingly, he didn’t want me to memorialize him at all—not on holidays, his birthday, his deathday, anything. “That just roots you in the past. Move on,” he said. I thank him for that one moment of clarity on his deathbed. Still, the societal norm of posting old...

Rebuilding… Just about Everything

R

I got to visit with on of my absolute best friends from college the other day. It was only for a couple of hours while she and her family drove through town on the way to visit family, but it was so good to see her. It’s been almost three years–long distances and busy lives do that. But our friendship was icy for many years. We talked for a long time about what most people...

The Sh*t I’ve Found 2: “Calling Cards”

T

The other day I was cleaning out a bookshelf and hauling all his books to sell at the second-hand book store in town. He didn’t read much, by the way. But along with selling some of his old vinyl records, I paid for dinner. 😀 Tucked back in the shelf, I found his little book of business cards. Cards from his co-workers, business associates, and some old ones that I know those people had...

My House Is Not a Shrine

M

One of my neighbors told me that her mother passed away over twenty years ago. My friend was in her early twenties at the time. Her dad never cleaned out her mother’s side of the closet. Over twenty years later, he was still living with his late wife’s clothes and belongings where she’d left them. My heart goes out to him. I know a woman in her late sixties who was widowed a few months ago. I...

Grief, Peace, and Relief

G

Recently, I got to visit my oldest, dearest friend. We’ve been friends since elementary school. We’ve been through a lot together, but I never told her how difficult my husband had been to live with until our visit. It’s taken me three years to unpack things and feel able to talk about what I went through. Some people who knew him used to call him a hard ass or say he was demanding. His friends...

after death did us part

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