…… raising its head from deep within my heart.
It came out of nowhere, like a sword cutting into me.
It came so quick, so deep, so painful that I feel overwhelmed. And so I do what I’ve learned to do when I’m overwhelmed, with tears flowing down my face.
I was minding my own business this morning. I fixed myself a cup of coffee, settled down on the sofa and picked up my phone to check my emails, texts and FB thread.
And there it was.
Out of the blue.
A post by a friend whose husband died the week before Jim. We haven’t kept up with each other, except through FB, but it was still a shock. One that I didn’t see coming. Nor, evidently did a lot of her FB friends. (Which is perfectly fine, in my opinion.)
That one small post took my breath away. Literally.
It truly felt like a knife in the heart.
As I sat there, staring at my phone, trying to control my breathing, trying not to cry, I wondered, “Why?”.
Not why did she get married.
Why do I feel this way?
Where is this deep, stabbing pain coming from?
Why in the world does my heart feel like it’s turning green and then black?
What is going on??
I put my phone down and tried busying myself with other things …… but my brain kept going back to that post.
And my heart kept feeling ugly.
Don’t get me wrong (though that would be very easy to do because I, myself, feel very insane right now) …… I’m happy for her. Very happy.
I’m glad that she’s found love again. She had a wonderful husband who died way too young from a horrific disease, leaving her to raise their 5 children.
Of course, I felt a connection with her.
Where was this pain coming from?
So, here I am …… sitting at my computer, pouring my emotions out onto a keyboard like I have so many times before.
Only this feels a lot like the early days.
The days when all I could do is cry and write.
Write and cry.
I had decided that another marriage is not in the cards for me.
Well, most of me doesn’t want one.
After being in two relationships I didn’t want to be in another.
And really, it was the second one that did me in.
That’s the one that, to this day, makes me feel nauseous if I get a rare email from an online dating service.
I hate them with a passion and can’t delete them fast enough.
So yeah, there’s that.
I travel a lot.
I do a lot. Sometimes.
I do what I want. Most times.
I live in two cities.
I don’t see a man fitting into this life.
Could this life change …… for the right man?
But …… do I want it to?
Ahhh …… there’s the rub.
Do I want to be in another relationship?
Not an easy question to answer.
It’s not just a no.
It’s not just a yes.
If I thought that God would give me a man “like” Jim, I’d jump at that.
Not like Jim, exactly.
But like Jim in that he’s a Godly man, knows how to treat a woman, knows how a Christian man treats a woman and loves me in spite of myself.
Do I believe that God could do that?
Yes, of course.
But do I believe that God will do that?
No, not at all.
I feel like I had my love.
God gave him to me once and it’s all I get.
I don’t deserve another.
Hell, I didn’t deserve the first one.
So, maybe …… just maybe …… I’m trying to convince myself that I don’t want another love …… because I don’t believe I’ll get another one.
The ol’ “reverse psychology thing”, eh?
I guess most of the time I can convince myself that I’m good alone.
In fact, I’m great.
I can travel, see shows, play with my grandson …… all whenever I want with no one to answer to, consult with, check in with.
And then I read a Facebook post.
And I cry.
So there you go.
No answers really, but I do feel calmer.
And yes, I’m publishing this just as I’ve always published the not-so-pretty-side of widowhood.
Because maybe I’m not the only one out here.
Crying over a Facebook post.
Surprised once again how fast and strong those damn waves can be.
But I’m still standing.
I had an interesting conversation with a couple of my writer friends the other day regarding how we show up in life and how that may reflect our relationship with God. For example, I don’t really trust my instincts on much of anything right now. One of my friends challenged me, asking if that could be reflective of me not trusting God. I’d say that’s true.
I guess I’d challenge you: Do you need to re-establish trust with yourself after that horrible traumatic relationship? Do you need to trust God again? Are you punishing yourself and paying some sort of penance living without [romantic] love? You already know that the emotional response you felt means there is something that needs to be examined. I say this to me as much as I say it to you: God doesn’t want to punish us. He doesn’t want us to isolate. He doesn’t want us allow our hearts to go dormant.
Yes …… yes to pretty much all of these questions. I’ve asked most of them to myself more than once … especially the ones about trust.
Thanks for caring enough to comment. And thanks for the reminders. 🙂
I related to your post very much Janine. And love your thoughts Wendie also! Wise interesting questions for me to ponder as well.
I always appreciate your candor, Janine. I’m not a widow, but having lost my daughter shortly after her birth, I see so many similarities in the grieving process. And I can completely relate to this post because of that. ❤
I TOTALLY get this post. Hugs. Sometimes I think I’ll live the rest of this life alone . Really alone after my youngest moves out and on. God only knows. And I’ve decided to wait on him, to let me know what the plan is. Day. By. Day. Like I have any say in the matter anyway, right. He knows the plans he has for me. Right? Love ya.
I hear and identify with you. Thank you for having the courage to speak from the heart. It helps so many of us feeling the same things and wondering what’s wrong with us. Hugs from my heart to you!
You are not the only one out here feeling the intensity of the waves of widowhood. You are however one of the only ones that consistently helps the rest of us feel not so crazy. THANK YOU!
I have recently felt the same green to black ugliness you write about. And yes the trigger was in a FB post of a widowed friend smiling with her new love. I am happy for her but . . . . I hear the same self-talk about the joy/freedom of solitude vs. the agony of loneliness. I remind myself that I am lucky & very happy not to be in a bad relationship, just for the sake of being in a relationship!
Our lives are very different but our desire to survive and even some days to soar after such incredible loss is our connection. I found this connection through Camp Widow and I continue to find comfort from our widowed community.
I wish you peace!
You are not alone Jannine…..I feel the exact same way when I find out news like this…I want to be happy but I’m jealous….It’s human nature I think.
I get that Janine. Same thoughts have crossed my mind also. I admire and respect your decisions to do what is best for you. You are not alone.
I’ve found the surprise marriages, engagements, and babies of widows I only tangentially knew early on can sting unexpectedly when it doesn’t when ya my close widowed friends. Same with acquaintances who got divorced and remarried long after I was widowed. There’s something about them not being a regular part of my life or my circle of friends that can catch me unaware too, even though it’s been 12 years now. It’s not jealousy, sour grapes, or despair on my part — but there is often a subconscious stab that this widowed life has not turned out how I naively thought it would the first year after.
And girl, there was plenty of trauma and grief for you after V. No wonder you have a negative reaction to anything from dating sites. Triggers galore for you!
Hang in there. And I totally get it too.
I feel like I could have written this post. After 15 years alone, my children were raised and I thought it was finally time for me to be open to love again. Then I started having seizures (maybe it was the thought of dating LOL). They’ve been going on for 2 years so I’ve accepted they are here to stay. Not to many men out there looking for a now broke woman who flops around. FB is the worst. I’ve actually unfollowed most of my friends because I feel so bad about my reactions to their happiness. I get news and art on FB and look at my friends pages when I’m feeling strong.
Thank you so much for your courage in writing this. Sometimes my feelings about other people and their happiness are ugly too. I wonder if I push the thought of another relationship out of my mind because I’m convinced no one will ever love me again, not like that. Part of it I am sure is where I live, a small town where there are many many retired people who are much older than me and not many people at all my age. I am also sure that part of my negative feelings about another relationship is that I just don’t want to have to work that hard, not again. I don’t want to have to explain myself or answer to anybody. I do like the independence. But still…..how much of it is fear? Fear that no one will love me again? Thanks Janine. Your honesty does me so much good.