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Posts Tagged ‘widow’

Is the show “Go On” realistic?

October 4, 2012 2 comments

The widow blog I subscribe to, Widowed Village, asked us to watch the show and then do a massive group review.  Before her request, I had no idea of the show’s premise.  Ever since Sarah was born, I try not to get hooked on new shows because I don’t really have time for tv.  However, I recorded it and watched it yesterday.  I would say the producers/network took a really big gamble by attempting to find humor in a new widower’s life.  I’ve only watched one show, but I’d say they did a darn good job.  Because of the situation this is probably one of the most well thought out shows.  It felt like a sitcom on the surface, with deeper tones if you wanted to see it, and an occasional splash of real feelings.  I had many similar feelings and thoughts as Matthew Perry’s character.  He just articulates it better.  I appreciate the show. 

But, of course, a child is not involved.  You couldn’t tastefully make that funny. 

Most of you read this on a regular basis, so you see how I try to find the sad, odd and unique humor in being a widow.  Jim and I had a quite morbid humor starting a few months after his diagnosis.  It’s normal, but we tried not to do it in front of others.  You have probably heard the saying, “You have to laugh to keep from crying.”  I am still walking that fine line on a daily basis.  Jim had a better sense of humor than me, so I try to see how he would look at ridiculous situations that I run into.

Sarah:  Last weekend, we got to ride Thomas the Train when he came to Burnet.  Sarah had a blast and was sad when we couldn’t go back the next morning.  However, I came across a problem that is not going to go away.  On the way home, I could see Sarah becoming sad.  I asked what was wrong.  She got that “look” and said she missed her daddy.  I took a deep breath, guessing the problem, and asked if she noticed the other daddies there (like I had).  She simply nodded her head.  I paused.  Then, I said I knew he wanted to be there with her.  I knew he would have had fun with us, and that I’m sure he was watching her have fun.  I hope that was the right thing to have told her.   

If there are going to be a ton of daddies around, I am of the mind to take her only to high quality, memory-making events and not run-of-the-mill ones.  It has to be worth her noticing the other kids have daddies (jealously) and for her to notice her daddy’s absence (sadness).  Yes, we have to get use to these feelings, but I’m not into doing it constantly.  What would you do?

Unfortunately, we were (I was) sized up at the event.  I felt demeaned and angry that I felt that way.  The woman in charge of economic development for the City of Burnet was conducting a survey.  She interviewed the dad in front of me, looked solidly at me, then skipped me and proceeded to interview the dad behind me.  You better bet I drove straight home when we left.  And how much do you think I want to go back to that town?  This happened the day after Sarah’s Stonewall Head Start/Ag-Extension Service sent home a registration form for a reading program asking for only the father’s information on the front, and on the back did not include widow/widower in the marital status section.  Head Start and the Ag-Extension Service each got a signed letter from me. 

I’m tired of this.  If I need to, I will single-handedly educate the entire Hill Country and become a huge single mother advocate.  I rarely point out that I’m a widow because I know it makes most people uncomfortable to discuss it and they typically can’t relate anyways.  However, I am not going to roll over and act as if all this ignoring is ok either.  I didn’t change.  The situation changed.

Note:  I forwarded a link to this blog entry to the economic department of the City of Burnet hoping for an explanation.  Both women conducting the survey quickly sent me long and very kind emails.  I completely read that long look the wrong way.  They were trying to not be disruptive to the event by not asking the same people to do the survey twice and by trying to asking every other family.  There were more things that happened this past week that I haven’t even mentioned, so I believe I’m especially raw at the moment.  Go to Burnet.  I will – especially to ride Thomas again next year.  Probably sooner to eat at the Cookie Café and Bakery on the square…

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We made it through the first year

September 27, 2012 2 comments

No more “year of first’s.”  I made it through the first part of this week pretty much on autopilot.  Trying not to think of what it was like a year ago, or what it should be like today.  I’m starting to think a little better today.

Last night, on the way to bed, I asked Sarah about the night Jim passed away.  (I have only asked once before because I don’t like the idea of bringing up bad memories on purpose.  That response is on an earlier post.)  First, I asked if she remembered her daddy leaving the house with a lot of people.  She frowned, and after a moment said, “No.”  Ok, good, I was hoping she wouldn’t remember that.  Next, I asked if she remembered waking up (exactly when Jim was passing) when my parents were with her.  She said, “Yes.”  I asked what woke her up.  She just looked at me.  Then, without really thinking about it, I asked who woke her up.  She smiled and said, “You.”  Hmmm.    I told her I heard she was really mad (more like instant, long-lasting, foot-stomping, crying pissed-off) when she woke up, and I asked if she remembered why.  She said, “I didn’t want to lose you too.”  After my jaw dropped and the tears hit my eyes, I hugged her and said, “Well, you didn’t, did you?”  And she smiled at me again. 

I’m not huge on the super-natural stuff, so what she said can be explained two ways.  First, I know she knew Jim was changing that last week, she actually did remember Jim leaving the house and was applying all that, or part, to me too.   Second, and here’s the teeny-tiny super-naturalish part, Sarah may have had enough of a bond with me or Jim or both that she felt what was happening in Fredericksburg.  It’s not completely unheard of, and I have always felt the moment Sarah falls asleep, so I know we have a strong bond.  No matter what, I probably won’t ever really know.  I wish I could though.

(Sorry this is late.   I just had to write an emergency recommendation letter for a friend of mine who the government is trying to deport.  The second friend of mine the government has done this to, and they are both amazing men.  Both caught in a net not meant for them.)

It has been almost a year

September 20, 2012 2 comments

September must be the month Eastern Tiger Swallowtail butterflies move through the Johnson City area.  I began seeing this butterfly everywhere starting at the beginning of the month.  As soon as I saw the first one, I started watering all our lantana and turk’s cap – butterfly favorites.  While watering one morning, one of these beautiful giants landed about a foot in front of my nose.  I told it “thank you.”  I love these butterflies because they remind me of the freedom I believe Jim achieved.  These are “Jim’s butterflies” to me now.  Not only because one was there for us during his graveside service, but because it seems to show up at the beginning of hunting season.

I didn’t want to change me or the way I lived.  But, after we lost Jim, there was no way to stop it from happening.  I knew Sarah was going to have to change too.  But, how do we change, live through it and come out in one piece?   I still don’t know.  But, the moving forward isn’t as raw and painful – most days.  Now that Sarah is able to speak so much better, she tells me things she remembers about Jim.  She is surprised when I am surprised at what she remembers.  Most recently it was how much higher Jim could swing her into the tub.  I feel an almost overwhelming sense of relief when she recalls memories of her daddy.  She has not forgotten him, at least for now.  She just literally couldn’t talk about him before.  The incidents that occurred during the week of Vacation Bible School really opened the door for her.

Quite incidentally, about a month ago I moved Jim’s cologne and my perfume to Sarah’s level.  She was curious, so I let her smell them.  The sweet and peaceful look on her face when she smelled Jim’s cologne stunned me.  When she refocused on me she softly smiled and said, “Daddy.”  Now she asks to smell it all the time.  Therefore, I smell it all the time too.  It was really hard at first, because I’m one of those that strongly link memories to smells.  Now I’m beginning to relax when I smell it too.  I still miss Jim daily and get mad at life when Sarah and I start having a lot of fun because he should be enjoying her too.  However, I have the sneaking suspicion they would have ganged up on me.  Her humor is so much like his.

I have made it through this year.  I tried to make it as easy on Sarah as I could.  And night time is still hard for both of us.  But, we’ll keep growing and moving forward.  I’m finding the best way forward is through.

“Momma can do it”

January 10, 2012 7 comments

One day last week the house really looked like a toddler lived in it.   And Sarah now enjoys acting, but not yet saying, “I can do it.”  So, when I started washing the dishes, I jokingly told Sarah, “Momma can do it.”  Then, I instantly had a flashback to when Jim was first diagnosed and I was having a major shift in the way I had to think.  I would stand at the sink and tell myself, “I can do it,” over and over.

I was talking to a very good friend on Sunday, and she told me that she doesn’t feel sorry for me.  Then, she realized that might sound bad and started to clarify herself.  Knowing her, I knew what she meant, so I stopped her by saying, “I don’t want you to, I don’t want anyone to.”  She and I both know I’m a strong person.  There is no doubt I never ever wanted to actually have to be this strong.  Prior to now I had the opportunity to play the part of a strong woman: hydrogeologist, environmental politician and general manager.  Sounds good, and I thought of myself as a strong woman, but that wasn’t real strength.  What I did with Jim took real strength.  As a widow and single mom, getting Sarah and I through the next year and beyond, that’s also going to take real strength.

Let’s talk about how people tend to gain strength.  Usually you go through some sort of fire, but it takes courage to go through it.  In no way am I saying I am a courageous person.  But, I have found that it takes courage to move forward when you are almost frozen with fear.  The following quote by Ambrose Redmoon says it best, “Courage is not the absence of fear, but rather the judgement that something else is more important than fear.”  My husband was, and my daughter is, more important than any fear I own.

I decided to get on the internet to look for examples of courageous or strong mothers.  I’m trying to find someone I can possibly identify with.  While I haven’t yet found my situation, and attitude, I did find a good list of Strong Mothers (SM2) and Widows that I thought I should share.   They are all “Momma can do it” mothers.