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

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!!