October 5, 2016

The Business of Grieving, pt. 2

"Why does the word widow bring so much shame?" a question posed by one of the presenters at Camp Widow this past weekend. It really struck me. Yes, why does it. I think perhaps its because the honesty of our situations make so many feel uncomfortable. It brings to life a reality in which they don't want to fathom is possible, especially those of us who are younger. We dont want to think it possible to lose our husbands and wives so young. They aren't sure the right reaction, they aren't sure what to say. They also often say stupid things in an attempt to say the right thing. We've heard it all, and we've seen it all as well. Peoples facial expressions are almost comedic while they try to find the right way to react. But its not what you say to me in response that matters, its that you care enough to listen.

I want to share my husband story, I want to be honest with my journey. I am often asked how I'm doing, how the kids are doing, and I have to gauge how honest to be depending on the person I'm speaking with. Often times, I don't feel like the person wants to to hear the truth, in which case I say I'm fine. Sometimes I am fine, other times I'm having a really rough day, but I'm trying to be strong for my kids. It's also not easy to make others feel uncomfortable, or see them visibly want to change the topic or walk away from the discussion.

But if I'm being honest, I'm getting to the point where I almost don't care. I want to be strong enough to tell it like it is. If it makes you feel uncomfortable, so what, that's on you not me. I'm telling my truth, and living my authentic life. The truth is, I am a widow. I will always be a widow. It is now part of my story. Whether or not some day I meet someone else, Jaime will always be my husband.

So be warned, I no longer want to feel shame. Countless men and women shared their stories with me this weekend, and it changed my life. It brought me hope, and light, and lifted me up. Other's stories inspired me, and I in turn will inspire someone else. A great lesson I took away from Camp Widow is that You get hope from others, but you also give hope to others. If you ask me how I am, I will probably be honest with you. I will talk about my husband, I will share his story. I will relate stories you tell to things he has done. I will keep his memory alive any time I can. I will tell you how this journey has changed me. I will offer hope where I can. I feel no more shame!

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