winter sky

Grief and exhaustion, the yin and yang of loss, the Bonnie and Clyde of surviving. It’s the biggest un-kept secret in the world of the widowed. People far more eloquent than I have blogged about it to death (Ha, ha. Get it?), most recently Kim at Widow’s Voice: Exhausting Part 1.5.

But it still surprises me. More than surprises, it whacks me upside the head, knocks me on my ass and kicks me in the ribs a few times for good measure. It square dances with depression who doe-see-doe to tunes of loneliness and futility.

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I’ve always been a believer that things get better with practice. I’ve done this before; I know how this goes; experience is the best teacher, etc., etc. I always told my wife Julie that I loved her *more* knowing what I knew after 20 years than I did when we first got together, or had our first fight, or first child, or whatever.

Well fuck me, but that is NOT turning out to me true this time!

“This time” is dating after loss, or “Finding Love After Widowhood” (subtitle of a great program by my friend Michelle E. Vásquez), “taking the leap,” “putting yourself out there,” “nothing ventured, nothing gained,” or whatever the heck you want to call it.

This time, it sucks.

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I am both heartened and more than a little upset about how many people have experienced loss. Facebook, of course, “suggests” friends for us, usually when we have one or more mutual friends. In my “Suggestions” box, I started sending friend requests to every person I had a number of widow/widower friends in common with. I kept clicking, and clicking. And more kept coming, and coming. 13 friends in common. 19 friends in common. 23 friends in common. I kept sending requests, determined to exhaust Facebook’s supply of widows and widowers. But they kept coming. Finally, I am now down to friends of friends from my professional life. For now. Once my new requests get accepted, there will be another wave, and another, and another.

On the one hand, it is wonderful we are all here, helping each other. I feel so grateful for that every day. But on the other, the sheer numbers, the endlessness of more and more hurting, shattered, rebuilding people… It’s just very sad. All that pain and sorrow and loss. Hugs to all of us. Every one.