Expectations be damned!

Oh how I’d love to spend some time with this widow. I pray we all come to the depth of her wisdom on grief.

We as a society would be so much healthier. Ready to comfort our grieving without the insane expectations.

As a wife and mother of “the deceased” I have found that due to our warped societal expectations that even the grieving crave an end to the emotions of our grief, as if forgotten. Out of the pain of enduring this process alone.

 

Shane Dare

May we all, as a society follow true Christianity – Father God’s acceptable model of caring for our grieving family, friends, neighbors and acquaintances.

James 1:27 Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world.

Here’s my favorite excerp from the article:

Stifled Grief: How the West has it Wrong –  Michelle E. Steinke – Huffpost

Expectation: Time heals all wounds.

Reality: Time softens the impact of the pain, but you are never completely healed. Rather than setting up false expectations of healing let’s talk about realistic expectations of growth and forward movement. Grief changes who you are at the deepest levels and while you may not forever be in an active mode of grief you will forever be shaped by the loss you have endured.

To read the whole article: A link to wisdom

Follow Michelle E. Steinke on Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/OneFitWidow

Thanks for reading. God bless.

Avoiding the Dawn

Trouble to sleep,

To visit turbulent dreams. 

Fighting awake.

Avoiding the dawn, 

Again to grieve, anew. 

~ AHutchinson.

Grief is the price we pay for love. – Queen Elizabeth II

Every night when I go to bed, I hope that I may never wake again, and every morning renews my grief. – Franz   Schubert

The name for a parent whose lost a child.

I found it! The name for us parents who have lost a child!!! I’m sure others have walked in the search for the conundrum that no one has ever defined one word to describe a parent who has had to bury a child, and found what I did. However, that doesn’t lessen my excitement in finding it.

I found it here, and it wasn’t like someone made it up, a professor from Duke did the ultimate research to finally put a name to who we are and what we endure. Thank you, Duke Professor Karla Holloway! I sure hope you find this and others like it and derive some joy at finally naming us.

A Name for A Parent Whose Child Has Died

Upon losing my husband the first early hour of a Tuesday in April 2015, I became, forever, a widow. Now we all know that a widow is a woman/wife whose husband has died.

Not one of us wanted to change our title in our marriages. Not a one. However, the fact was that we, in the blink of an eye lost the one who was closest to us, like the touching of bare skin on a summer day and we became a widow.

I remember walking around shaking my head, repeating [in my head] I’m a widow. I’m no one’s wife. I’m a widow.

I am the Widow Hutchinson. Makes me want to bow like in those King and Queen Castle movies.

Widow is a sanskrit word that means empty. When I read that line in Professor Holloway’s paper my heart and mind agreed with the meaning. That’s exactly it. Empty was a tangible feeling, widows can touch it. Empty remained for months upon months, keeping grief company on the couch that I rarely moved from.

I’ll take the definition and I’ll raise you the definition and word for a parent’s loss.

Now I’d suggest you read Professor Holloway’s paper. I wonder if she might be a member of our group. A grieving parent in search of a name for what she had become. I know I wondered and was confounded that we as a society didn’t give these suffering parents a title.

Because for the love of all that is good and holy, they, we, deserved one. So here it is …

Vilomah, meaning against the natural order.

Again my heart shouts YES! YES! Thank you!

I’m a Vilomah. A widowed vilomah. A woman who buried a husband and a son.

The Widowed Vilomah Hutchinson; though I don’t think I’ll be actually running around flaunting the title as that would be crazy. However, I was relieved to find the title that explained my circumstance.

It may or may not be, in your personal opinion, normal to bury a spouse. I don’t, it was never a part of our plan. His death killed all of our plans, and I suddenly had no future. I didn’t know what my life looked like.

But I had my kids, my adult boys to pull me out of my futureless existence.

Burying your child, now that is not natural. Ever. It shouldn’t ever be. It certainly is against the natural order of things. So I sat there, on the couch that I had just recently rose from, again, pondering just how deep and wide sorrow could invade one  heart.

Wondering what words I would use to explain who I was now.

Widow did not encompass my unique situation. I had lost exactly 1/3 of my family in a 16 month period. And while death is never expected when it actually comes, we were prepared, whatever that means, when my husband died.

Now let me just say this,  saying we were prepared is what we say because it makes other people happy and content with our company.

WE ARE NEVER PREPARED.

Losing my son, well that was a numbing shock. I would sit on that couch, my best friend forever, and yes even sometimes now, longing for my husband to comfort me in this new profound and deeply painful grief. Feeling the grief sink even deeper in the realization that he was not there for my comfort, and that I must face the loss of someone closer to me than even my husband had been. I had just lost a literal part of my body. Alone.

And there was no word I could use to explain and comfort those who offered the usual platitudes. But come to think of it, there was. Mother. I was the mother of the deceased. I did not cease to be his mother simply because he passed. After all he resided within me for 10 months. The mother of the deceased, my boy has been gone for 7 months.

Yet I still pondered why there wasn’t a universal title for us.

And now there is. Vilomah. It even sounds right when said out loud.

God bless you, us, all. The widowed. The vilomahed. We who traverse the parched vastness of deep loss.

Thank you for reading.  1Andrea

 

 

Wife and Mother

Mother’s Day is looming. Lurking around the corner just waiting to dawn, lighting upon the happy hearts of mother’s everywhere. I thank the good Lord in heaven that there is no “Wife’s Day”. I guess some would say that’s Valentine’s Day … and I’m blessed that that Hallmark Holiday wasn’t a thing for Don and I [the man really did hit the jackpot with me, and he knew it.]

So, mother’s day and a five minute writing prompt word [you guessed it!]

Welcome to another round of Five Minute Friday!

To learn more about FMF, click here

This week’s Five Minute Friday prompt is: Mom

Five minutes on the timer … Go.

So, as you know I’ve had tremendous loss these last 2 years and 1 month. Oh my, will the counting of time ever end!

I am numb. Deeply sorrowful. And at a loss for Mother’s Day.

My mind goes to the towheaded blonde locks of the sweetest boy you’d ever know. My mother’s heart constricts making my heart physically ache.

Shane toddler

How can I be honored on this day to honor mothers?

“Honor your father and mother”—which is the first commandment with a promise— “so that it may go well with you and that you may enjoy long life on the earth.” Ephesians 6:2,3

I feel as though I failed miserably. My boy is gone and I couldn’t do a thing about it.

Shane Dare

I am blessed though to have 3 other children and grandchildren but on a weekend like this, a day as precious as mother’s day, My spirit is heavy with what is gone. With who is gone.

Oh and just to get my mind off of what my heart is saying, this is the first Mother’s Day after my boy has passed. There’s the counting again …..

STOP

I want to reach out to those mother’s who have suffered the single most worst loss a human being can bear. And bear it we do.

On our hearts.

On out minds.

On our sleeves for all to see.

Sweet mother, you are still a mother.  You are still the best mom your sweet child could have had. I know this because I believe God gives us the children [on loan] that we can best parent. Giving that child everything they could possibly need and desire [though in moderation with the desires] to do what they came from heaven to do.

You are still a Mother and still to be honored. Know that you are definitely not alone. I know that holidays like Mother’s Day tend to bring us sorrow and the agony of newly opened grief. I know that this is a pjs and head under the blanket day. But I encourage you today.

Dare to honor your motherhood. Celebrate your other children. Celebrate with family and friends. Do something good for you, a treat.

Then the mother of the child said, “As the Lord lives and as you yourself live, I will not leave you.” – 2 Kings 4:30

We nurture and raise our children the best we can, placing them firmly on the path they should go, and then we pray. And our hearts say … as the Lord lives and as you, yourself live, I will not leave you. We don’t leave them even in their worst rebellions, we don’t leave. We pray.

Mother’s pray, it is the most important service a mother can give her child.

Today I pray for all mothers, but I raise up a little higher to our Heavenly Father the ones who have lost a child and are suffering an emptiness even as they smile and celebrate with their other beloved children. I ask, Lord that you blanket them with your peace. With a knowledge that their child is safely at home in your arms. Lord relieve the sorrow, dear heavenly Father we remember  and humbly thank You for the promise in your Word to be close to the brokenhearted and save those who are crushed in spirit. I thank You Lord for caring for these beloved children, even as I lack the understanding, not knowing how this could be a part of Your plan for our lives, but still we trust You, Lord. Moving forward, caring for our families and cradling in our hearts the memory of that literal piece of us that is gone. Comforted that they rest in You. Thank you Lord for Your faithfulness. I humbly pray in Jesus’ name, amen.

1Andrea

It’s been a long time coming …the blog.

Well here I am. I am back and with an urge to write. I’ve been gone since the end of       April ’16! Did I hear a gasp of breath?

It certainly has been a long time …

I’ve changed the name of this blog for a very good reason …

So what has kept this widow from writing. Well obviously grief and coming to terms with grief’s place in this new life of mine. But there’s more to it … In October of ’16  my youngest son passed away, here at home. There was much trauma in his death, unlike the death of his dad.

Just before he passed away, a week before actually, I woke up one sunny morning and felt as though I was ready to begin thinking about what my life was going to be going forward. I was ready to think about living my life. I had begun thinking that there had to be more to life than numb grieving. There had to be a way to grieve and live too.

And then … heroin took my boy. I was slammed back to my knees. I couldn’t breathe again. God help me.//STOP

FMF Post – so I stopped at the 5 minute mark, because the theme of FMF is to freely write for 5 mins. without regard to punctuation, grammar or sentence structure. You should join us there. Follow the link.

** There was only one thing I believed that could possibly be more devastating than losing the spouse you know God meant for you … and that was the loss of the precious child that God gave you charge over.

Breathing hurt so much.

It wasn’t unfounded guilt. You may not understand that. The mother (parents) of an addict often blame themselves. However, I had worked my way out of the prison of enabler. So there was no time to wallow in false guilt.

I couldn’t breathe because I couldn’t bear the the weight of the loss. Shane’s loss was parallel to Don’s death … let me try to explain. The grieving is now two. I am grieving separately for both men. It’s like my son’s death laid atop my husband’s death and now they move forward, simultaneously, like a double deck bridge … one path above the other, neither one more important than the other, yet not equal either. It’s surreal really. And grief’s sister joined us for the journey.

So I stopped moving. If I didn’t have to work, if there was nothing demanding my attention, I didn’t leave my house. Funny … now that I think of it I barely leave my house now. Just church, bible study, groceries and medical or therapy appointments. However, I move some now.

I am always amazed at the fact that my boy has only been gone four months in four days. Funny how the counting works. As a widow you begin counting how long your husband has been gone … now add a child … the counting seems almost to mirror OCD. Thank God it’s not that.

Widow’s begin to count the years, not from their birthday or New Year’s Day, but from the date that they lost their other half. So the start of my year is April 28th each year. I wake on that day and put behind me the old and count the new … today I am just 3 months shy of 2 years old(er). See how that works?

And it just dawned on me, this day, that their is no title for a mother who loses her child; if there is I’ve not heard of it.  There really should be though. We carried those precious ones in our bodies for ten months. He was physically apart of me and it feels as though something has been torn from my body at his loss.

Like losing a lung. The devastation makes it hard to breathe. It’s debilitating really. But I smile and say I’m okay. I’ve become an accomplished liar on the subject of okay. Yet I noticed the other day, while talking on the phone and putting on makeup at the same time, I genuinely laughed at something that escapes me now … and caught my breath a bit when I realized that my laugh, that my smile, even genuine, no longer reached my eyes. This mad me sad. My husband, for a lifetime, said he loved my eyes, that they spoke my emotions. Now, I guess they don’t any longer.

Anyway … I believe I’ve begun rambling. So here I am, I hope I’m really back. I’ll need to get into a comfortable groove as I will be managing both of my blogs, and maybe I can fit my photography blog back on tract too … one step at a time though … thanks for reading. God bless.

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Widow’s Fog … this too shall pass

Morning Bokeh

PASS … Go!

This too shall pass, a very popular saying in today’s culture. Particularly in support groups. However the truth … ‘this too shall pass’ does not apply to the widow.

I’m planning to write a book and it’s title is Widow’s Fog ~ The Journey.

Widow’s fog is an actual thing and for the most part it defines the first year of a widow’s/widower’s life after the death of their spouse.

I hear myself saying, regularly, that this particular journey of grief is not understood except by personal experience. If you have not lost a spouse to death you cannot and I pray you never understand what the widow/er goes through.

That is just a fact. One I am ashamed I was too pompous to believe before I experienced it personally.

The death of a spouse is not comparable to any other loss one experiences in life. Not divorce, not the loss of a parent, sibling or friend. The only loss I believe that can even come close is the loss of a child … and that I cannot even fathom!

Unfortunately all of us who are on this unwanted journey of grief and mourning experience widow’s fog on some level or other.

Yesterday marked a year that my Love has been home with the Lord, and honestly I look back on that year and it’s simply described as a surreal haze. Fog. I honestly cannot tell you how I got from 12:31 am on Tuesday, April 28, 2015 to today, April 29, 2016. I am amazed that I am here at all. And I will hazard to say that most widows will tell you they remember very little detail about the first year of widowhood.

Surreal is defined as: having the quality of a dream; marked by the intense irrational reality of a dream.

We seemingly float through the first year in a dream, or more to the point, in a nightmarish state.

I fell asleep sometime around 3:30 am on that Tuesday morning. At dawn I sat straight up and was literally surprised that the sun was shining. That too is a real occurrence for the widow/er. We are simply aghast that the world continues to spin on it’s axis. How dare the sun shine, or the rain fall, or the Robin sing! Because, for us, everything is at a standstill.

STOP! PLEASE forgive my indulgence as I continue on with this post. 🙂

You know that scene in a movie when the character is standing still while the camera is the world spinning around them. They are seeing everything and everyone around them just spinning on that axis. That is virtually the widow’s first year.

What is odd is that we seemingly jump on that axis with the rest of you and function. Because after all, life moves on; but the widow doesn’t, not really, in that first year.

We function because the sun rises and sets each day. We smile and say we are okay, it’s a lie, but it is the mask that shields everyone (ourselves) from that constant flow of sorrow that we are sure we are emitting; and everyone smiles in relief and carries on with life and we remain frozen, paralyzed, by grief.

We are at our most vulnerable and at the same time our most volatile. We lose any filter we have. Every word, every touch assaults us. A comforting hug hammers at the dam of our tears and pain. It takes all of who we are to hold it together.

We wander through the days of getting our affairs in order, while trying desperately to stay in the now so we are not taken advantage of by debtors, charities, and sadly, sometimes, family and friends.

We come to problems and crisis in our lives that we must now handle on our own. Things our spouses handled, things we may not know how to handle. And then … we might have to ask for help. Help from one of those kind and loving family members or friends who said … “anything you need, any time, I’m here for you.” only to find out that they aren’t available. This is one of our very first confrontations with reality.

Everyone else’s life moves on. And we are frozen in time.

We begin to count the days, weeks and months. We wonder if we’ll ever stop counting. For me that day is not today … I’m on day 1 of my Second Firsts. I’ll explain that phenomenon in another post.

All the Firsts we experience are occasions that once brought great joy and are now sources of sorrow and loss. Birthdays, Anniversaries and Holidays celebrated without our soul mates. All spent in a fog of longing and tears, with everyone begging us to try and enjoy ourselves.

They mean well, and in our deepest minds we know this. But our hearts and minds scream within us … “HOW CAN YOU CELEBRATE???!!! HOW CAN I CELEBRATE???!!!” So we smile and fade into our quiet fog and do what we do to get through each event.

I prayed. I prayed through each and every First. I thanked God each morning as I witnessed the sun shining through the sheers in my bedroom through the fog. Praying that this too would pass.

Widow’s fog doesn’t so much as pass as it fades.

Today, right now, I’m okay. I have clarity. However, as I tire the fog will come closer. The fog is only remedied by taking care of oneself.

The counsel of a wiser widow to the new widow is this:

Be kind to yourself. Rest. It’s okay to feel your emotions. No we don’t move on. We do move forward. Do what is right for you. No big decisions or changes for a year!                    And more …

No, this won’t pass. Loss of this magnitude changes a person, irrevocably. Our sadness will not pass, it will change and become something we manage. We will move on in our lives one way or the other, but it won’t pass.

Our Loves passed. They went on home to eternity. They will remain tucked gently within out hearts. We will converse with them. We will dream of them. We will forever love them, because as they say …

Grief is bore out of love. Where there is great grief, there was great love.

 

Grief never ends, it only changes. It’s a passage, not a place to stay. Grief is not a sign of weakness, not a lack of faith. It is the price of love. ~all-greatquotes.com

 

Grief is the price we pay for love. ~Queen Elizabeth II

Thank you for reading! And HIT the Five Minute Friday button below and check out the other amazing writers who are participating! God bless you.

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This Widow’s New Year’s Eve …

Don and I bw Today is this widow’s new year’s eve. I no longer mark a new year on January 1st, though that may change someday. But not today.

A year ago, today, marks a year since I’ve seen your smile. A year since I’ve heard your wonderfully infectious laugh or held your warm hand, your fingers firmly entwined with mine making me feel taken, protected, and wanted. You always made me feel desired and loved. Always. Even now I feel your love for me, and I thank God for that.

A door closed at 12:31 am that Tuesday morning. It closed on our future and I found my heart homeless. A great love remaining, with seemingly no where to go.

A homeless heart, shattered on the ground; cutting deeply with each step forward these 365 days.

We widows count … it bothers most of us and we wonder if we’ll ever stop counting … I don’t know if I will, though I stopped counting days and weeks, I only count months now. I imagine it will eventually be the years I count, but not today.

Time has no meaning. It’s been a year, yet it feels like just yesterday we were driving up north laughing about whether it was horses or cows we saw on the drive. I stand that they were horses! 🙂

Just yesterday …. a year … time has no meaning to me. It’s a blink of an eye, all of it …

I did much better today than I thought I would. I didn’t indulge in sorrow. I went to the  cemetery for the first time … you aren’t there, but your crypt stone beautifully displays your name with your dates … and the flowers for spring. James was with me. It’s the first time either of us have been there since your funeral. The tears flowed but I was at peace, somehow. Though I know you aren’t there. I guess it’s like a touch point.

Oh, how I miss you. It comes in waves. The pain. The missing. The longing. So tomorrow I begin the second firsts.

I’m told I will feel these more intensely because the shock has worn off. I will think clearer and will have to face the reality of what my new life will be and how I will handle these things alone.

I’m told people will be less tolerant of my mourning process. They’ll advise me to move on and live my life. They’ll tell me I’m young and should remarry. Well … I certainly hope God continues to help me be kind in the light of their having no clue. Like I’ve said before, we don’t move on. We don’t get on with it. We move forward. And some of us never marry again.

Lord help me to be kind! Amen. 🙂

So it’s new year’s eve for this widow. I imagine I will wake up tomorrow as I have these last 365 days (I guess that’s counting days, isn’t it!), wondering what the point is. But I will get up and I will move forward, with you tucked away in my heart.

It’s how I bring you with me each day. Tucked safely in my heart, always.

I am thinking of getting another tattoo … one with the signature you’ve written in virtually every card you’ve ever given me and a scripture from the last Mother’s day card you gave me …

We have shared together the blessings of God.

Philippians 1:7

With All My Love

Don

We did … we shared together the blessing of God! ❤

I think you would love it. I love you …Forever to Eternity.

Love A signature