Sunday, April 7, 2013


A lot's been happening lately. I've thought that I need to write about it, but then I get busy doing something and forget all about it. I'm not a great blogger. I don't feel 'inspired' to write on a regular basis. I just write when it feels right and hope that my words will click with someone who needs to read them at that moment.

One of the biggest changes is I'm now the Soaring Spirits Loss Foundation's National Volunteer Coordinator! Quite a mouthful, huh? It means that I'm writing a formal volunteer program and job descriptions for volunteers for each of the Camp Widow events and for Widowed Village, our online community. I'll be recruiting and assigning and training the volunteers who are needed in order for our programs to exist. Our East Coast Camp is in April and West Coast is in June, so I'm knee deep in preparing the schedule and getting everything in place. It's a BIG job and it's keeping me very busy after work and on weekends. Which is actually an answer to prayer. How do you like that?

I'm getting close to a point where I can retire from my paying job, but I've been fearful of how I would actually handle that. I haven't been handling my weekends well at all. My Facebook friends would probably argue that point - but they only see what I let them see. Yes, I'm going to Broadway shows at The Smith Center. And yes, I do things occasionally with my Brave Girl buddies or widows. But far more of my weekends continue to be spent in my jammies sitting at this laptop. Not eating well. Not sleeping well. Not even showering on those days I don't leave the house. I know I can't continue that behavior 7 days a week when I retire. So I was praying something would come along to fill my time. Voila!  A phone call from Michele Neff Hernandez and an offer of a fulfilling volunteer position. I'm in!

While many might assume I'm an extrovert, I'm actually an introvert. And these social things take a lot out of me. I need my alone time in order to be "on" during the work week or social outings. So when I schedule something that keeps me busy most of the weekend ... well ... it is a bit unsettling.  Nearly every time I do this, I come very close to cancelling my plans. Just too much. But this is one of those things that I really push myself hard to do. I hear Vern's voice pushing me to do what I know I must do. I know how easy it is to cocoon. And I know that isn't entirely healthy. So a good kick in the pants is what I do to get myself out that door.

Here's a perfect example.  A good friend from Widowed Village, who I met at my very first Camp Widow, asked if I'd like to join her for a Widda Weekend Getaway here in Vegas. I love Lisa and spending time with her sounded perfect, so I signed up. Now this was with an online widowed community that I haven't participated in, so I didn't know any of the other people attending. I worried that I wouldn't be accepted. I'm too old. I'm too fat. I'm a Widowed Villager, not in TheWiddahood. Would they resent my involvement in Widville and Soaring Spirits? I really had to push hard to get myself out that door Friday afternoon, but I am so very happy that I did. It was a marvelous weekend. Full of sharing and caring and new friendships and laughter. Yes, laughter. Widows can laugh, you know. We may feel guilty about it, and seeing photos of ourselves giggling and laughing will sometimes be hard to look at. But we need it. I actually can remember the very first time I laughed hard after Vern died. Someone caught it on camera. And posted it on Facebook. Ouch. That hurt hard. But I survived it. And I survived the comments from those who thought that photo meant I was "over" my grief. Over it?  Really?

It's been 2-1/2 years since I last held Vern. That just does not seem possible to me. I miss him. Every single day I miss him. But I'm living my life ... because that is what he would expect me to do. Lots has changed. I've let my hair grow out a bit. I'm in a new job at the company I've worked for for 27 years. I'm a Brave Girl! I'm doing kind things for people who need it - some anonymously - and it feels really good to make a difference.

And yet there's another whole list of things I'm not doing ... or that I need to do.  His car is sitting in the driveway with a dead battery again. I still haven't gotten around to replacing the TV. I still have boxes all over the place that I need to go through. His clothes are still in the closet. There's still hospital stuff out in the sunroom. I've returned to sleeping in his recliner the past few weeks.

So while I'm doing really good in some areas, let me reassure my widow friends that it's ok to still have 'things' to deal with. I don't beat myself up about these things. I'll get to them. Eventually. When it feels right. Until then ... it doesn't hurt anyone to just let them be.

This widow journey is one of ups and downs - smiles and tears - good days and bad. I've learned how to take what each day brings and make the best of it. Or try to.  And when I just can't? Well that's a stay at home in my jammies day. No apologies.

Yes, I've changed. There was no choice.


Anonymous said...

I still stay home in my jammies now and then too, watching NCIS reruns, seen them all at least 3 times. Good luck with your new venture.

Unknown said...

Love this one...and love the last sentence especially. Didn't have a choice, did we?

So proud of your new volunteer role....and who knows...I might attend one & sign up with you the next one. :-)

You inspire me.....

Salt said...

After four years of widowhood, I no longer fight the more difficult moments when they come. Nor do I beat myself up for experiencing them. In the early days I sought a future when I'd be completely "healed". But now I think I understand “it” more. I do breathe a thankful sigh when the heaviness abates; but I am keenly aware that it will strike again. I accept this ebb and flow. It is part of who I am because I loved and lost. Currently, I am reading a book called “Quiet” by Susan Cain. She writes about being an introvert versus an extrovert. I find it quite enlightening and I think the world needs both.
I now see my personality as a gift from God. It enabled me to care for my husband well & I am thankful. I am learning to embrace the woman I was-- but also the woman that I am now. Like you say…no apologies!

Anonymous said...

Oh my goodness Dianne, we are two peas in a pod...except you push yourself to go out and I rarely do. I only functioned a little yesterday because my grandchildren were here for a few hours but today I have been on the couch most of the day. I sleep, watch mindless tv and sit on the mindless computer! I finally forced myself out the door this evening to get something to eat and just to feel like I hadn't completely wasted my weekend. I admire your commitment to the new job and your ability to push yourself out the door. I am hoping after Camp Widow I will somehow feel some inspiration to move along. I am so looking forward to meeting you and spending time with people who get it! Kathie S.

Patience said...

Loved this post, Dianne!

You are an amazing counselor and role model!

See you at Camp Widow East! And thank you again for all your help!


Susie Hemingway said...

Reading this latest post Dianne, shows well how we struggle at times. Even though our bright smiling faces show a brave front to the world, it is seldom the case. We are troupers in living, brave with our daily grief. But I too need so much my quiet time and often sit here in my PJ's longing for the return of my beloved,just longing to hear his voice once more.Still knowing that although the days and months do get easier, they never really depart.I still choke-up and become tearful when caught unaware when someone mentions him. Yes I am lucky to be able to go out for dinners, dates and holidays with interesting special people But they are not my precious man or ever could be. He remains deeply within my heart and slowly slowly I will master this loss-to continue without him as he would have wished, as will you lovely lady. xoxoxo

FlowerLady Lorraine said...

Congrats on your new position.

I'm just 4 months into widowhood, and it is so hard at times. The grief so heavy as to be almost unbearable as you well know.

I've found a local Christian widows' group and am going to my second meeting on the 15th. They are sweet survivors and that's what I want to be too. Trusting in God every step of the way to be my strength and my peace. My husband is with Him, and that is reason to celebrate.

I just did two firsts yesterday. Filed my taxes with BIL's help, and checked the widow's box. Checking the box really hurt.

May you feel God's love and peace surrounding you at all times. Enjoy those quiet times in your jammies, they can renew your spirit.


Patty Kline said...

Well, Dianne, this certainly spoke to me, as I sit here at 3:11 in the afternoon, unshowered and still in my pajamas! Some days I do really well, accomplishing things and getting out to do things. Other days I get "nothing" done (by most standards), but I guess on those days I'm just being kind to myself. You may remember I'm only 10 days ahead of you on this widow journey, and I still have his clothes in the closet and boxes of things to go through, too. I've gone through some things in his dresser and such, but it's just so daunting! Most people think I am doing really well, and I think so too in many ways, but in other ways I still have a loooong way to go! I'm glad for what you are doing and for how you are really helping other widows. Bless you!