Saturday, July 3, 2010


Reaching Out
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* Honest *

Today I got a lot accomplished. I was able to give away some more of my things, do some cleaning, and do a lot more packing. Progress.

In the late afternoon I decided it was a good time to watch a video I had purchased awhile back. It is called "Young Widow. Naked in the Memorial Playground" by Elizabeth Titus. Elizabeth had left me a message on my Facebook account, and thought I would benefit from viewing her documentary. It is a collection of sorts, with various widows and widowers sharing their stories, and talking about their individual experiences with grief. It also has short breaks were she is asking people on the street their perceptions of what a widow is like, and how long should one grieve.

I found this documentary to be very affirming. It is comforting to hear from others who are going through this, especially others who are a bit further along in their journey toward healing. This is not to say that we all go through the same process, or in the same time frame, but hearing from others does allow us to feel validated.

This also makes me think of the amazing influence the web has on each of us today. When I think of the people who have become my core means of support and understanding these past 9 months, I don't take for granted the fact that they are spread throughout the world. While these online relationships are not quite the same as having someone physically sitting with you while you talk, they take up the enormous slack that we know as our isolation.

I know that each of us plays a part in each other's day to day journey, if only by bearing witness to each other's words. As for me, I have become somewhat isolated by choice. Yes, it is probably not what I would have necessarily wanted, or recommended to someone in my situation, but it is where I find myself. What we find in losing our spouses, is that the others around us need to move on, almost immediately. It really isn't their place to anticipate all of our needs, or to even understand the depths of our pain. So much of it needs to be done alone, at least that is my experience. I am almost at 10 months out, and when I look back at the person I have become, I see someone who needs quiet and stillness. Sometimes I need the quiet in order to hear my own heart beat. I need to know that I am still alive. In movies we sometimes see depictions of those lost souls who are trapped between this world and the next. These souls are often thought to be the dearly departed, who have unfinished business, or just need more time before leaving this world. But it's been my experience that I am one of those lost souls trapped between this world and the next. Only with time, I find that I am finding my way back to this world.

It's thoughts like this that sometimes has me wondering if Michael is still around here, in some kind of parallel existence. Perhaps we are unaware of each other's presence. I lay here at night, still longing for him. I still sleep on only my side of the bed, and always have my arm stretched out where he should be. I wonder if he is on his side of the bed, wondering where I am, with his arm reaching out for me. Could that be why I feel such loneliness? Is is that I am feeling the cumulative longing from each of us?

Just something to think about. Obviously I am rambling tonight. I suppose it's my restless spirit needing to express itself.


  1. Ramble on. These are all good lines of thought. The need for quiet and stillness are very familiar to me too. Yesterday, while working on the siding on this old house, I began musing about how rarely I leave this property and how few times I've spoken to anyone in the past 10 weeks since arriving here. Basically, I've become a first class hermit. But then, I do "talk" to people a few times a day - leaving a comment here or there on blogs or FB, or an occasional email to a friend - most of whom I've met over the net and then sometimes in RL. I guess the internet has become my lifeline to the outside world - and the friends I have met through this medium have become very important to me.

  2. Sometimes I wonder if I actually died that day, or I'm imagining all of this while in a very deep coma; that I will wake up and see that Matt has been sitting there, waiting, singing, all this time. It is a weird feeling, isn't it? Which world is real, or which realm?

    The people who were around that first two weeks are largely gone - as I think of it, no one else's daily life was changed, so of course they are not feeling it or even noticing it. before this, we were both people who relish alone time, and time alone together; I certainly have not suddenly become social in the last 51 weeks. And going to a bbq in tears is not so fun, plus there are all the questions to avoid...

    For me, just being widowed isn't enough to find connection and validation - there are a small handful of "voices" and people on-line with whom I feel connection. The Outside Folks. Statistical Anomalies. Other pieces in common, outside of and including being widowed. (dan - apropos of nothing other than a connection, my love also considered being a priest, a very strong draw in him that he had only very recently put down.)

    Anyway, all this to say that this community (that lives largely in dan's comment section) is important to me, too.

  3. Hi Bev, I too often feel like I live through these blogs. Even though I have people all around me, I'm kind of in my own world half the time.

    Megan, I have really valued your participation here. I know how difficult life has been without Matt. Unfortunately we have all become experts of sorts. I also turn down social occasions for the most part, because it takes too much energy to make others comfortable around me. I figure if I'm not going to enjoy myself, why bother. That' cool that Matt considered being a priest as well. It seems like a lifetime ago, but very much part of my history.

    Thanks to both you for being here.

  4. I was thinking the other day that it is very difficult for the people in my life to relate to my experiences because their lives weren't altered to the extent mine has been. I agree with you that we have to face much of our journey alone but I do strongly believe that those around us need to demonstrate a little more compassion and understanding.

    Can I ask what the man in the street reaction was about widowhood and what they thought the time frame was for grieving? And it is going on seven years for me and I'm still sleeping on only "my" side of the bed. I could really picture that scene in my head as you described it and identify with it also.

  5. The responses to the question about how long one should grieve were all over the map. Some said, well, at least a few days, but others said a few months to two years. One person wondered why thay asked how long "should" one grieve, asking if there is one way for everyone. Another person wondered if you ever get over it. I think in general, people expected that it would take awhile, but did seem to think there was a point that you just get over it. All I could think was, how naive. The other main misunderstanding was who widows are. Those questioned tended to be young adults, and their percecptions of who widows were, was something well beyond their years. They didn't expect it could be some of their peers.

    I too think I will always sleep on my side of the bed. Even if I find myself in another relationship in the future, I think I will still feel that Michael's place is right next to me.

  6. I think so too, Dan - Matt is still right next to me, or maybe, my place is next to him. I feel I am already partnered for life. It would not be true for me to have someone other than Matt, or instead of him. His side of the bed, his place in me. I will say, seeing that I know even less than I think I do, that it is possible I may love someone in Addition to Matt, though right now, that thought grosses me out. What a being they would need to be, to share my heart and my bed and my life, knowing that Matt's place is still next to me.

  7. Dan - Thanks for taking the time out to satisify my curiosity about what the comments were from the general public out there. Interesting that there was still the general belief that the grief would be eventually "gotten over."