Tuesday, December 30, 2008

My New Favorite Word

My widow friend Candise raved about this book "Love You, Mean It" and since I do not have many friends who have or are experiencing this "journey" as everyone likes to call it (nor do I want others to join me), I asked for it for Christmas.
The book is about four widows who lost their husbands in September 11th.
All the women are 30ish but most of them were recently married.
And my wonderful cousin, Dee, got it for me for Christmas.
I devoured the book in about three days or so.
So I am very thankful to Candise and Dee.
I also recommend this book to anyone who wants to know what it is like for me and others.

The weird thing as I was reading was I kept thinking "how awful for these women to lose their husbands" and "oh my, I can't imagine going through their pain" or "wow, I am glad I am not one of them".
But then, back to reality and I would remember I am like them.
I am experiencing this same pain.
I did lose my husband.
It was a very strange feeling.

But the book taught me a lot.
These women had very similar experiences that I am feeling now.
I am somewhat normal. I could see myself in them.
It also taught me that I am on a decent time table.
I do not need to rush this whole thing. I am not behind schedule. I am not ahead of schedule.
It taught me its okay to be sad.
Those who love me will let me be sad.
Those who love me will not judge me when I am still sad a few months from now.

It also taught me there is hope.
That I will continue to love Roger and a new person at the same time. The heart is a very big place.
I will not lose my love for Roger. I will not lose him at all.
It taught me there are men out there that will love me and accept me with all my "baggage."

The best part I learned was my new favorite word.
As I have noted before and voiced several times, I hate the word "strong" in reference to myself. I know those who use that word do not mean to be offensive but its hard for me to see myself as strong. Almost impossible for me.
I know when I am strong and I know this is not it.
However, I have a new word for me that I like one hundred times better: determined.
In my head, determined fits me better.

I am determined not to let this drown me.
I am determined to survive.
I am determined, partly because I am stubborn, to keep going.

I am determined. Not strong.


robyn said...

i love this post, star....sounds like an amazing book....YOU are amazing....and determined! i love that....

Joanne said...

Determined is perfect, Star. I couldn't think of a more perfect word for you.

Crash Course Widow said...

I'm glad you enjoyed it, Star, and felt more normal after reading it. (Although I have to admit that I was cringing a bit at the first sentence of your blog post, bracing myself in case you hated it instead. =))

What I always appreciated the most about the book was the timeframe, how it didn't start til just before the 1-yr death anniversary and followed them through--what?--the 4th anniversary? It was the first thing I read that even gave any recognition to what you did after the first 6 months passed.

I know what you mean about disassociating yourself from their plight. Odd how we do that, huh? I did it too, in April when a new acquaintance emailed me and asked me to write a note for Matt after his wife died from complications of childbirth. And I read her email and said to myself, "What on earth would I have to say to him that might help? I don't know what it's like to be widowed with a brand-new baby." And then it hit me. Oh, yeah, you idiot. Might not have been a newborn, but you were widowed with a BABY. Moron. I was so used to my widowed reality being with a toddler in the throes of her Terrible Twos/Demonic Threes that I'd forgotten that I was freshly widowed with a baby, once.

Is "determined" a description used in the book? I can't remember....

I hope you have a nice time on your cruise...but don't be surprised if it's a schizophrenic mix of fun and excruciating sadness too. I took a trip to Whistler about 5 months after Charley died, and it was awful...yet also nice at times, when I could temporarily forget what had happened. I could ruefully buy another $24 glass of champagne, flip a certain finger at Charley, and dare him to come stop me. Oh, what the deranged grievers can think. ;o)

And a happy new year to you too. Or at least as happy as it can be, in those rare, isolated moments. I remember all too well that horrific, sinking feeling that somehow turning the calendar to a new year meant that it was stuffing Charley farther in the past. I hated it.

Hang in there!