Sunday, December 27, 2009


Originally uploaded by mrhansen9

Despair - (verb) to abandon hope; give up hope; lose heart;

At what point does life turn around? At what point does our sense of despondence change?

What is the goal here? Am I a victim of circumstance? Was there a divine plan here?

What do I do with all my love for my spouse, my partner, now that he is gone?

How do I get through the night without his warm body next to mine?

Will I ever experience a day without tears?

What is it I'm supposed to look forward to?

Does he know my pain? Does he hear my cries?

If I reach out in my sleep, is he there?

Am I doing this right? Is honesty really the best policy? Should I just lie to myself and others about my pain?

Will I one day awake without this emptiness within me, around me, before me?

How will I know when I have moved on, found understanding, become at peace with, accepted, learned to live with, learned to live without...?

Will my sense of self be different? When I look in the mirror will I recognize myself? Will I have age quickly? Will my hair turn completely white?

Will I ever look at life the same? Will I ever allow myself to be optimistic?

Will I even care?

Will I want love again? Will I trust it? Will it feel like a betrayal?

Does the heart truly mend?

Will I ever not be in despair?


  1. nail on the head.

    i wrote back in August, "hard dreaming, mortality, 3SF, and Widower Howe." i thumbnail out his bio a bit but the nuts and bolts are this. he and his wife, Esther, fell in love in high school but waited until they were 21 to marry. she gave him 5 children and died suddenly in 1947 at the age of 38. Widower Howe never married again, never attempted dating. small town. everyone knew everyone's business. Widower Howe raised the children and spent the next 57 years waiting to rejoin his wife. he lived, by all accounts and what i knew and saw of him, a reasonably happy life. his smile was freely given but those who knew him said it was a ghost of the one he had for his Esther. he lived for another 57 years, dying at 95.

    the despair you speak to above dulled with time but at his funeral, the preacher spoke to Widower Howe's 'melancholia." not verbatum but close enough: "he missed her for 57 years. he was lonely for her. Widower Howe is lonely no more."

    i think the intensity lessens over time, but for some who have given their whole heart, who have felt some vibrant and very strong connection, missing them is something they learn to accept and work around, like the loss of a limb.

    the circumstances of my life were harsh until my Dragon came and saved me. to borrow from the film, "Titanic;" he saved me in every way a person can be saved." we were not allowed the time for me to heal all the way. Dragon means everything to me ~ friend, lover, husband, hero, breathe, laughter, music, fun, love. he redefined them all in the way there were meant to be defined. i will be a 'Widower Howe.'

    i am sitting at 10 months staring down the barrel of 11 months and the despair you speak to hasn't budged. i do not know if it is because i am alone so much and cannot speak about him to anyone, to get that instant human voice data sent back to my heart and my brain. but i do know that i trust the despair and allow myself to explore it. i want to get past it to the place that let Widower Howe have his "ghost of a smile."

  2. btw, i played with your bubble wrap and added to my own blog so i can play with it. i will remember Michael each time i pop one.

  3. oh Dan, everything you wrote I completely identified with, and have asked myself most of the questions, time and time again.

    Now that I am almost at the one year anniversary, I feel as though love is greater than pain or death, and the love that we share is still here - even though I can no longer physically see or touch him. It's the love that powers me forwards - it's the only thing that pulls me, encourages me and paradoxically, it's the same love that breaks me on the darkest days.

    I know that I have aged a lot since I lost Cliff - but am not surprised. I'm amazed I didn't go grey overnight. My smile rarely reaches my eyes - it has probably only managed to do so a couple of times in almost 12 months, because that spark has gone.

    We will never get over this, but I know that we will find a new equilibrium (a new "normal") eventually. We will be happy again. But we have to accept that we will never go back to normal - that's impossible because the other half of what was normal is somewhere else now (and waiting for us in a new unimaginable but amazing place).

    My counsellor told me that we get to the acceptance level at around 3 years. I can believe that ... that we feel more stable, more confident, more "used to" living without our soul mates, a new routine and traditions and social life in place along with our work ... but I am under no illusion ... I know that the pain will also be incorporated into this brave new world ... but we will be managing it with more ease. I think the tsunamis will turn into little waves that lap the shore ... except for when the obvious anniversaries, xmas, etc bring the drowning back to us.

    But in general, I think we will learn to live again and love life again.

    About the tears - they are sacred and healing - they have become my friend now. But I can tell you that there have been some (not many) days when I have actually not cried! And it shocked me when I realized that I hadn't ... not often, but even so ... it is hopeful that they will become more common.

    As for new love, who knows? From reading what other widow(er)s have blogged, it would appear that there is no feeling of betrayal, that they still love their first husbands, and love their new loves in a different way.

    It's a personal change.

    Like wNs, I shall be a "Widower Howe" and have resigned myself to that ... and it brings me comfort to have made that decision. But I am equally happy for anyone who is brave enough to love again.

    Never say never, I guess (even though we have!)

    I wish I could come sit by you for a while, just quietly and listen a while xxx

  4. I feel humbled to be beside such wisdom in this blog and reading other peoples experiences help me to look back on mine and find acceptance in the emotional turbulence I have lived through.

    The second night after Chris died I awoke in the morning slowly and became aware that I was cuddling him. As I gradually gained consciousness I realised that this couldn’t be real as he had died. Even with the realisation my experience didn’t change and it felt for all the world that he was in bed with me and I was cuddling him with my arm wrapped around him.

    I didn’t move for ages and consciously checked out the feelings and this experience felt absolutely real. Eventually I wondered what would happen if I gave ‘him’ a gentle squeeze. Instantly the experience disappeared.

    Words cannot really describe the experience or how it left me feeling. The best I can say is that it left me with a sense of wonderment and comfort.

    Apart from the time I have dreamt of Chris very few times. It was probably about 5 years before I dreamt of him for the first time, after which I have had a succession of dreams, some months apart. The first time I dreamt of him he appeared physically unwell as he was during the final months of his life on earth. After this dream there have been three other dreams, each time with him looking better, culminating in the most recent dream, a couple of weeks ago when we were together and it was as if he had never been unwell.

    Next month it will be 7 years since Chris died. This Christmas is the first where I have experienced acceptance and comfort. It didn’t hurt this year for me to light the Christmas candle that Chris and I had in the past lit together.

    My heart goes out to everyone who is hurting due to the loss of their loved one. Personally I believe that we have to go through this and there is no easy way. I simply would like to acknowledge everyone’s feelings and suggest that my experience is that our feelings do change, however long that may take.

    Peace to all.


  5. In the beginning, my grief was so overwhelming I was unable to separate it out as you have. It would have been very helpful for me to have read these questions because I simply could not clarify them or reach them from within.

    I slept with all the lights on in the house (except the one in my sons' bedroom) for months. One night I didn't need to anymore. It was like I had grown more comfortable with my grief and could deal with my fears about the dark and night. So for me at least, the grief lost its edge a bit as I became more used to being a griever. But that isn't the same as not grieving anymore. That didn't just go away.

    Something else that really impacted me was the realization/thought that my husband would not have wanted me to be so miserable and grief-stricken. Nor would I have wanted that for him. There will be grief, pain, misery, tears, anguish, depression... That goes without question because we are human and are hurting the loss of individuals so dear to us. But sometimes when my pain was just so intense, I could almost "hear" a message from beyond that begged me to stop hurting so much.

    My husband gave me so much in life, I would have wanted the time we had together even knowing it would not last the whole of our lives. That has helped me find some kind of balance between grief and gratitude.

    The dark, deep hole of despair is a dismal place to visit. Yet I know we all go there. I can't give you magic words, answers or insight to make your visit end any quicker or easier. All I can do is to be there for you right now with my heart and soul. I send you sympathy and love. Like Boo, I wish I could just sit beside you in person, hold your hand, offer you a hug or very long embrace.

  6. I am humbled by all of your comments. I am so grateful for the words each of you chose to share with me, and with others. I think it is only through these shared experiences, our individual histories of grief, and growth, that I am able to look ahead with any kind of hope.

    Thank you all, so much. I have read each of your entries over and over, as they have really spoken to me in a powerful way. With each reading I am able to absorb such warmth and compassion.