Tuesday, January 26, 2016

My Chapter Two

OK, don't go getting all excited.  
I don't have a new man in my life. 

You see, in the widowed community, Chapter 2 refers to a new love or remarriage after loss. I know of some really beautiful Chapter 2s.  And it seems that most all of my not-yet-repartnered widowed friends want a Chapter 2 in the physical form. Not all want to remarry, but they want and need to have love in their lives again.  I get that … I just don’t want that.

So if they can be happy and fulfilled with their Chapter 2s - while still holding their lost loves in their heart - shouldn't I be able to do the same even though I choose to not date or remarry?  Yes, I think so.

My Chapter 1 was oh so beautiful and amazing, but it ended when my Vern died.
I don't want the end of my story to just be an appendix.
I want my own Chapter 2.

And I think I can have a pretty darn good one with just Dianne ... getting to know her better, accepting her flaws, appreciating her strengths, exploring new things, traveling, creating, being kind, sharing, learning, growing, loving.

I was asked to be a teacher in Brave Girl University last fall, to focus on mentoring widows. I was so honored and excited … and yet I still haven't submitted my classes. A big fail on my part. My insecurities, feeling 'less than' when looking at all of the other teachers and courses, being uncomfortable seeing myself on a video, thinking that no one will be interested in what I have to say, afraid of failing ... oh yeah, I've beaten myself up over this. And just when I had a course ready to submit, my laptop crashed and burned and I lost it all. Was that a sign I should throw in the towel?  I thought so for a bit, especially when someone else submitted a course nearly identical to what I had prepared and lost.

But then I realized that I do have something to share. I've lived this life. The caregiver years, Vern's death and these years alone. And I have a different perspective from many on how to face these ‘alone’ years. What I've experienced may help someone else, may give them hope that they will survive their own heartbreaking loss. And if even just one person needs it, then it will be worth it. So I’m back at it.

I wanted to come up with a name for this endeavor - a brand of sorts to wrap all of the things I'm doing under one umbrella: this widow blog, Brave Girl University, Grief Diaries, Soaring Spirits, a new blog for my ‘alone’ life, positive stuff.  Each time I’d come up with a possibility and check it out on Google I’d find multiple others had already thought of it. And then this morning Chapter 2 popped into my head.  I Googled it (adding the word widow to the search) and everything referenced dating and remarriage. But there weren’t any Facebook pages or blogs with that title. 

So there it is … My Chapter Two (or perhaps My Chapter, Too?)

I’m on a mission to create a new – or enhanced – definition of what that can mean for widowed folk. Something like:

Finding their life’s purpose and fulfillment
after the loss of their beloved spouse/partner

Stay tuned ….

P.S.  If you'd like to check out Brave Girl University, use diannewest as your coupon code and you'll get a FREE 30-day trial!  Just go to http://my.bravegirlsclub.com/, click on "Enroll in Brave Girl University" at the top of the page and insert the code.


Monday, January 18, 2016

I have a dream ....

I decided to change my Facebook cover photo to a Martin Luther King quote today and as I looked at the many options it was quite easy to decide which one to use.

This quote takes me back to 1969, my senior year in high school. I was Class President and Salutatorian and had to give a speech at my graduation in mid-May. I met with my favorite teacher to talk about possible topics for my speech and he suggested basing it on this quote. It worked perfectly. That teacher? Yep, it was Vern West. He didn't come to graduation and I didn't expect to ever see him again.

But I did.  And my life was changed forever.

Whenever I think back to that summer of '69 I am utterly amazed at how it all just fell into place. True serendipity. So many little things that happened just the way they needed to happen for us to find one another. And we grabbed hold of it instead of letting it slip away.

I had a dream ... my life with my forever love. And while it ended sooner than I wanted, the reality of it was so much more than I could ever have imagined.

So perhaps there's still a dream left in me. Oh, not for a new love. I truly am not at all interested in that. Perhaps the reason I spend so much time seeking and doing and exploring new things is to put me into places where serendipity can once again work its magic to produce something beautiful. A 'garden' of some sort filled with love and hope and kindness and happiness.

I have a dream .... how about you?