Oh, Hello Again!
Well, I am a fickle blogger aren’t I? Here one day, gone the next, disappear for a year or so, then pop! Here I am again. I wasn’t really gone entirely, I was just blogging elsewhere and I did not want to publicize the fact. When my husband, Paul, died in July 2012, I suddenly found myself drifting aimlessly. A month or so after his death, I created a blog I named “The Reluctant Widow.” I wanted to be honest with my raw feelings of what had happened, what was happening, and so I did not put my name, my husband’s name or other identifying information on the blog. A few people knew about it but not many. My hope was I would possibly help someone else on their journey through widowhood by processing my own journey through grief. I also needed to give voice to my frustration with unsolicited advice from people who have no clue what it is to live my life every day. Yes, at times I was bitter. Although I constantly remind my children “life’s not fair, get used to it,” the phrase “it’s not fair” was a frequent visitor to my thoughts. It isn’t fair that I lost my husband, love, best friend, and father to my children. Each week or month will bring an activity or occasion at which he should be, to see his children doing the things he and they dreamed of together. However that it took me two-plus years to get here, I have accepted it will never be fair, it sucks, but all of the complaining and railing against God and life will not bring Paul back.
One of the gifts I received in widowhood is the chance to start again. Beginning again is hard, but not many people get the opportunity to look at their life and say, “what can I do now?” I took a writing e-course, joined a community of women writers, and began to learn my voice. Writing has been a balm. You would not believe how many posts I wrote that never made it onto TRW. Oh dear, some of them were truly awful, some were brilliant but too personal even for a semi-anonymous blog, and for some, their time has not yet come. I began writing a collection of short stories. Thankfully, I have listened to several author interviews in NPR in the previous months where the authors shared it took 10 years to get their novel “done” and published. Whew! because it’s been slow going. Those kids of mine do insist on needing me. ;-) Little by little, it is taking shape. In the meantime, I entered a children’s story I wrote a few years ago into the local library Adult Creative Writing Contest. Just got my invite to the awards ceremony, and though I really don’t think I placed, I will be looking forward to seeing my story in the book containing all the entries, which will be on display in the main library for the next year. Lastly, I recently joined a local writing club. Guess what? They are going to publish an anthology of members’ works, so if I provide a piece, I get to say “I am a published author.” And really, that is what all of this writing is about, getting published some day. When Paul died, I resurrected a dream I had since I was 16 years old. I had let the dream die out of fear and lack of confidence in my ability. I never went for it. Never really tried. Now, I am working on the dream, and if in the end, I never get a single manuscript accepted for publication, I will know that I truly tried my best.
Single parenting is hard. One thing I knew from my teens on was that I never wanted to be a single parent. You know that saying “If you want to make God laugh, tell him your plans?” Well, I don’t really blame God for Paul’s death but there is a very small part of my superstitious Irish heart that thinks I am a single mother only because I never wanted to be one. Crazy, I know. Still, even as a self-centered, selfish teen, I could see that parenting alone was a tough and thankless job filled with a lot of heartache and potentially little reward. I embraced chastity not out of some higher moral ideal about it being “right” or “part of being a faithful Christian.” Nope, I embraced it because I knew it was the only sure-fire way to make sure I never got pregnant out-of-wedlock. I had a cousin who was married young and was on the birth control pill all four times she got pregnant with her four daughters. So there, I knew the pill wouldn’t guarantee me from becoming a single mom (hey, this was before I became Catholic and embraced Natural Family Planning). At first, I grumbled about parenting my four kids alone because they all have “issues.” All four adopted, all four experienced grief, trauma, and loss related to their adoptions and then Paul’s death, and all four born with special needs. So at first, I could have little sympathy with other mothers complaining about the difficulty of raising kids when said mothers have “normal” children and a spouse. Some of them even have a mother or mother-in-law who actually enjoy being grandmothers and really help out a lot. Phfftt. No sympathy from me. Grumble, grumble, complain. Now, as I have spent what would probably amount to the equivalent of six months straight seven days a week all day long sitting in therapists’ waiting rooms, I understand that parenting is hard period. Really hard. OK, you’ve regained my sympathy, all kids have “issues,” just different issues. We live in a fallen and broken world so that no one is immune to the damage done to our hearts, minds, and emotions on a daily basis. Just don’t complain to me about your husband, because I have not evolved in my maturity enough not to snap back, “well, at least you have a husband, even if he isn’t as perfect as you want him to be, he’s at least here.” Perfection in spouses is a myth anyway. Accept him for who he is because he accepts you for who you are.
This is the new old blog. I came back here because the topics I want to write about are varied and many. They include faith (mine is Catholic, what’s yours?), writing, widowhood, single parenting, adoption-related issues (Reactive Attachment Disorder? I have two kiddos in this category. Joy.), and anything else I want to expound upon as I journey through life’s struggles (deep valleys) and triumphs (mountain peaks). They really are my thoughts along the way.