Thoughts, and a little advice, from the mind of a widow and suicide survivor: 1. Widow’s Fog is a REAL thing!!! 2. Don’t say, “Let me know if I can do anything.” Look, find, and then just do it! 3. Don’t be afraid of us—we are just widows and STILL people. 4. Listen! Listen! Listen! We need someone to talk to. 5. If you don’t agree—keep it to yourself and listen, listen, listen! We are grieving! 6. Yes, more than likely we ARE in therapy, so don’t tell us it’s not working. It takes time. 7. Remember the children! They have loss and KNOW they are different, so don’t make them FEEL different by your actions. 8. Yes, we like to talk about it! Don’t be afraid to ask because it is healing to us. 9. Please, please, please bring up our spouse. We love to talk about them and love hearing stories about them. 10. No one gets the right to blame the suicide survivor. We already do that ourselves. 11. It’s ok to use the word suicide in front of a suicide survivor. 12. Don’t think we are “strong” and “doing ok” just because we smile, laugh, and seem happy. We pretend A LOT! 13. Yes, it is STILL painful after a year and will be for the rest of our lives. This week has been an emotional one for me. I've been up, I've been down, I've been sideways.... . Ive done crazy things and I've tried for the most part to stay sane. I never thought I'd make it one day, and look I've made it almost one year! I've learned a lot about people, suicide, widowhood, and myself. I'm starting to become "me" again. Yes, I am different; but I like the different meQ It is the different me that makes me who I am-the bold, self-confident, understanding, patient, quiet, deep-thinking me-and I lvoe it!! I am different in many ways because of this enormous, horrific experience I have been through. And even though I know everyone love the "old" me, I am CONFIDENT that the "new" me is going to be a huge hit, if given the chance! What can I say about widowhood? I haven't found out anything profound but what I have discovered is widowhood is a journey of finding one's self again. It is a path we didn't choose, and one we didn't want to ever walk. It is a road we have been put on where self-discovery, independence, determination, and rebirth take place. I don't know how it happended but somewhere on this life's journey, we have lost who we are, and we MUST find ourselves again before we can move forward with our new life. Loneliness is probably the most talked about and haunting thing in widowhood. It is the one thing that leaves the biggest mark in our lives as a widow, and the one thing that now one (outside of being a widow/widower) will ever understand, The stillness in the night, the questions we can't ask, the problems we have to solve on our own, the worries, the why's the shoes and clothes that haven't been touched. It is the coversations we don't have and the one-sided ones we do have. It is rubbing our arms because we need a hug, and "REAL" retail therapy that only widowhood can bring. It is staring into nothingness with literally a blank mind. And it is sitting at the grave in the hottest of hot and the coldest of cold weather staring at the headstone with "their" name on it. That is a finality that cannot be exlained. Yes, loneliness is a tough oneQ Even in a room filled with loved ones, we still feel that deep, hollow loneliness and yearning for that one last hug, one last kiss, one last "I love your". Most widow/widoweres have begged for it one more time, but we all know deep down in our hearts that, that would never be enough. We would once again yearn for "one last time". I didn't write this post to bring you down or want you to feel sorry for me. I'm only writing this to bring understanding; and understanding loss is the first step in helping someone through grief. Being open, asking questions, giving hugs, serving, loving, listening, and accepting are all great ways to help someone with a loss. We are different. Yes, we know that! We accept that we are different and know that being this way isn't a bad thing. We try and express to others that even though we are different, we are STILL the same. We hurt, we bleed, we cry... We want to be talked to, looked in the eyes, invited out, smiled at, waved to. Yes, we are differentQQ And we are learning how to live again and live in our new reality every day. We try our best with our widow-fogged minds to take care of our families. We wake up every morning with a new day handed to us and try and make the best of it and we lie in bed at night without our spouse and worry, cry, and get ready for another new day. We put on brave faces for our children, family, and friends, all the while hurting deep down inside. And when someone asks us how we are, we say: "Fine" knowing all along we are doing crappy. NOw everyone now can go about their day - the widow still struggling and lonely, and the others thinking they've helped because they asked that one simple question, "How are you?" We do it to ourselves you know. We just don't know how to say: "My basement has a leak and I can't find it, my lawn needs to be mowed, I don't know how to fix my fence, how do I manage my bills, I don't know what I'm going to do for health insurance, my kids are struggling, I don't sleep anymore, I hurt, I'm tire, how am I going to clean up my leaves in in the Fall, I cry all the time, I'm always exhausted, oh and by-the-way the death date is looming." So a simple fine" is what you get. You really have to read between the lines to figure us outQ It doesn't matter how long we've been in widowhood or our age, we still need that little hug, that wave, a smile, some service, and mostly a friend We are a part of a family in widowhood, and when we find another one of "us", we are like magnets because we understand at a much deeper level We find it easy to reach out and comfort those who have had loss, and we also know it takes courage for those who haven't. We don't judge; so be brave and jhust strtch out your hand to someone who has had a loss. Give a smile, a hello, a huga and see what you get, and please, please keep us, on the journey of widowhood, in your prayers. WE NEED THEM!!