Friday, February 8, 2019
I’d like to blame this afternoon’s burning eyes and punk feeling on widowhood – but that wouldn’t be a truth. The truth is that I have always been an insomniac and counting midnight sheep never helped the sandman find his way to me. Could be the poker hand I drew in the game of life, or it could be the fallout of living in a highly dysfunctional family unit from birth to the day I got married. Doesn’t really matter.
What does matter is that I have not slept a lick for the past 2 days.
The current bout with insomnia is tinged with the broken edges of widowhood though, and this is the crappiest bout of insomnia I have ever had to stagger through. Insomnia and widowhood are both difficult walks of life regardless of your personal and particular reasons to be experiencing either.
To be totally truthful, I do have to admit that I slept for 13 hours STRAIGHT Wednesday evening: went to bed early – 5:30 p.m. – with a ferocious headache and didn’t wake up again until 6:30 a.m … not even a quick potty trip down the hall ;-) I had been feeling punk all week, and I guess the punkiness peaked Wednesday evening. So yesterday I was bright-eyed and bushy-tailed; and didn’t sleep a lick all night long :-( This is fairly typical of my DNA, and my husband came to understand that I was, by DNA, a bona fide night-owl who would consistently soar during the twilight and midnight hours for days on end, and then crash heavily for the better part of a day before catching the updraft and making it fairly normally through the rest of the month’s days. It had always been like this for me. And it became our norm throughout our 44 years together. The electric bills could be staggering!Gotta find a way to curb that natural bent now, and drastically curb the electric usage. One way I have done that recently since he left this earth, and the Social Security Administration cut his benefits by 25%, is to locate the correct box and unpack (Yes! There are still boxes we had not yet gotten around to unpacking since we moved into this place) the little battery operated headlamp he bought for me 12 years ago for nighttime chicken coop checks while letting my wolf out for her nightly romps and duty calls when we were living on our country acreage on Westside Highway; I loved my man for his loving thoughtfulness – he was always thinking of me and ways to make things easier for me. I miss that now. And I use the headlamp for insomnia book readings in bed now. It not only eliminates the need for electricity while reading, but in a way I cannot put into words, the presence of the headlamp is like having a small piece of him in bed with me still; when I turn on that headlamp, I see clearly his twinkling eyes and slow sexy smile. I miss him alongside me in our huge california king-sized bed.
Help me, Yeshua.
Whereas insomnia is not a new thing to me, widowhood is. And I am trying to come to terms with it, as I did with insomnia: but unlike insomnia, widowhood has never been part of my DNA – it was suddenly thrust upon me and I am not sure yet how to deal with it.
Widowhood is worse that dry sandy eyes, worse than a ferocious headache, worse than a sour stomach; it is beyond painful. No words can ever adequately describe the feeling. No workbook or support group actions can explain the meaning behind the word that now describes my life. I have been changed as a person and can’t put a decisive finger on exactly how I have been changed – all I know for sure is that I will never be the same person I was before December 14th, 2018.
I am still a wife … and yet; not. I still deeply and passionately love a man who no longer walks this earth – but I see him as clearly as the day I married him, as clearly as the days he held our daughter, granddaughter, and grandson so tenderly in his big, gentle hands. I see him as clearly as I did in the months he struggled to stay alive for my sake – and as clearly as the last breath he ever took this side of Heaven: and I was thanking Elohim for my insomnia every one of those endlessly sleepless nights, even though they were hard nights to get through. Sleep did not rob me of those precious moments fleeting too quickly – and yet painfully moving forward so slowly. When those endless nights ended I had been bumped from wife to widow in a heartbeat. It happened so suddenly that I was momentarily startled that I had been bumped: my identity and place in this life forever changed.
There are the obvious pitfalls of grieving … sorrow, rapid mood swings, exhaustion, loss of identity, feelings of uselessness; and so much more that words cannot be put to because they are indescribable. These are the things people talk about most often. These are the things written about in self-help workbooks for the Grief~Share Meets, factors in fallout behavior, the social norm, and the expected. But there is another part of widowhood that the grieving would never expect – we, who are grieving, now live in a glass house of grief.
We are judged for how we grieve.
Regardless of your kind of loss people are going to tell you that you are doing it wrong, you should be doing it differently, and they know the way to properly grieve better than you do. They will fill you with platitudes, useless comments and countless books you are told that you should read to help you find your path forward.
We should not be judged as to how we process our pain – but we will be. People can’t help themselves in their rush to pontificate.
Let me tell you a little of how I deal with my new life status.
When my husband stepped off this planet we were Seniors, though we didn’t think of ourselves as ‘old’ - I was 61 years old & he was 69 years old, and we couldn’t understand why every doctor was treating him and talking to him as if he were an old man; he didn’t even act old or really look old even on his deathbed. When he took his last breath and I came back to the home we had shared, I turned all of my energy to taking care of business on the home-front; the tying up of loose ends to give me hope, and to help me make it through just one more day.
I probably worked harder at it than I should have but it was the only time of the day I felt normal.
It was the only time of the day I was not overwhelmed with the reality of my new reality.
It was my saving grace; and exactly what I needed at that heartbreaking point of my life.
For this behavior, I was judged. By those who claim to love me.
Here’s the kicker: most of the things people commonly judge on I wasn’t doing:
I didn’t stumble through my days on a drunken haze
I didn’t turn to drugs – not even pharmaceutical drugs
I didn’t go out and party hardy – I didn’t go out of the house at all for weeks
I didn’t stop eating – I was well fed with at least 1 healthy meal a day
I kept myself clean – I practiced healthy personal hygiene
I didn’t become an emotionless zombie – I read books and sang songs
I didn’t become careless - my home was safe
I didn’t alter my daily routine – I kept my daily routine as regular as it could be, given all I had experienced at hospitals and the downtown Social Security Office, where the shocks were fairly equal in the emotional shocks given and withstood.
However … here is where I freely admit that I failed in the eyes of others:
I pretty much stopped communication with everyone unless forced to talk with them. I just did not have the energy it took to have contact with family members, loving friends, and business talking heads – at times it was more than I could bare just to get the necessities out of the way.
As much as I could, I removed myself from social situations that I found painful. Candy, I could not and cannot avoid. But I do look for ways to get around contact with her.
I have always had a very small threshold for anyone’s bullshit, and the threshold is shrinking even smaller now. I am a survivor. That survival mode honed early on in my life – even before my life was joined to my husband’s life – led to my own level of thriving. My thriving often looked different than our society would classify as thriving, but for me, I was rocking my life, even if only in survival mode.
For the first time in my entire life, I was faced with being truly alone, and I began to take scary tentative steps to live a solo life, not sure of my footing and a bit scared of making wrong choices that would govern the rest of my earthly life: where we used to make joint decisions on which direction to take, now I am walking our path alone and I have no clear direction as of yet. But one thing I do know … my husband loved living life, and by continuing forward as he would have if he were still among the living here in earth, I honor him; and honoring him honors us. We both trusted Elohei to guide our footsteps, and so I am seeking that same guidance now. I need it more than ever before.
Widows never get over a great loss; we absorb it, and it shapes who we are, and who we become.
I learned early on to do what is right for me on this personal wilderness experience.
I love to talk about my husband - and I find peace in saying his name. That’s my choice inside my glass house; it makes me happy not to feel the need to purge him like he never existed. Rather I’ve decided to keep his memory alive and allow it to shape my beautiful future. A future he will still be very much a part of, though it has been forever altered by his physical absence.
Regardless of how we conduct ourselves … or how we do not conduct ourselves, widows will be judged.
We now live in a glass house. And every passerby feels free to stare and take a long look through our walls, and make piously suggestive comments.
Every move a widow makes will be questioned, examined, and well-aimed nuggets of earnest wisdom will be thoughtlessly thrown at you for your own good. People won’t expect you to be okay – though they will keep asking if you are okay – and they will look for ... and find ... any crack in your composure to say you are not. If you live in survival mode, they say you are in shock and out of touch with reality. If you have a particularly bad day and crumble under the exhaustion of trying to maintain composure while trying to stay upright on shaky ground, they will say you are weak and losing ground.
Is this a fair assessment – NO
Is this the reality of an insensitive society – YES
Widows can expect this behavior from nearly anyone who has never walked our path. Those who have never had their hearts cut in two cannot imagine your unspeakable, traumatic pain; and they don’t understand how you can function in the midst of the constant undulating and searing pain of it.
Any action or comment on your part will be scrutinized and judged. If your bullshit meter reaches its bullshit limit, you will be perceived as an insensitive bitch. If you decide to avoid the bullshit sandpits and sidestep them on safer ground, you will be perceived as an insensitive bitch. Bullshitter’s and those who stand in solidarity with bullshitter’s will always view you as a menace no matter what you do.
While there is nothing you can do about that reality … remember that other people’s perception of you – and about you is not your reality. You don’t have to accept their judgment, and it does not have to make you as inimical as they are. Give those who judge you grace and forgive them for what they can’t possibly, or are unwilling, to understand.
That does not mean you have to accept their behavior – perhaps it would be better for everyone concerned to place a comfortable distance contact to allow you the time you need as you figure out your steps forward. No one else gets to dictate your steps. You get that right. It is, after all, your life.
Judgment is part of human nature and when you accept that often peoples’ own insecurities play a large role in the judgment of others – you make your walls impermeable to their nuggets, even if you can’t stop their stares.
You define you.
You must walk this road alone and in a way and length of time that takes you forward.
There is no rulebook to fit all scenarios. All books are authored by people putting their own agendas forward … write your own chapters that will guide your own life.
There is no right or wrong direction for those who grieve.
There is no correct time frame.
Own your glass house.
Reinforce your walls for the nuggets that will inescapably come your way. Don’t let the opinionated shards shape who you are or who you become.
And, if like me, you too deal with consistent and constant insomnia that is now tinged with the sharp broken edges of widowhood, remember that though you are alone, you are never really alone.
THE BOOK OF ROMANS ~Chapter 5
Therefore, since we have been justified by faith, we have peace with Elohim through Adonai Yeshua Ha’Mashiach. Through him, by faith, we have obtained access to this grace in which we stand, and we rejoice in the hope of beholding the glory of Elohei.
And not only that, but we rejoice also in our present sufferings, knowing that suffering gives us more endurance. Endurance, in turn, leads to tested character, and character gives hope. This hope will not bring shame or disappointment to us, for Elohei has poured into our hearts His love through the Ruach Ha’Kodesh that He sends upon us. We were entirely helpless when Mashiach, in His appointed time, died for sinners.
It is rare to find anyone willing to die for another, even a good man, although there are perhaps causes where someone has ventured to do so. But Elohim proves His love for us in this – that while we were still sinners, Mashiach died for us.
All the more surely, since we have been reconciled by His blood, we shall be saved by Him from Elohim’s wrath. For if, when we were His enemies, we were reconciled to Elohim through the death of His Son, surely now that we are reconciled, we shall be saved by His life in us. And in addition to reconciliation, we also rejoice in Elohim through Adonai Yeshua Ha’Mashiach, to Whom we owe our reconciliation.
It was through one man that sin came into this world, and death through sin. And so death spread to all men; inasmuch as all men have sinned. That is, sin had come into the world before The Law was given, but sin is not put to account where there is no law, except that death reigned all the way from Adam to Moshe, even over those who had not sinned in the same way as Adam. And Adam foreshadowed One Who was to come. But is the free gift of grace in proportion to Adam’s transgression? No, for it is this way: by one man’s transgression many died, but much more richly has Elohei’s grace come to many through Elohim’s gift of grace, namely, the Man, Yeshua Ha’Mashiach. Nor is the free gift like the effect of that one man’s sin. It is true that the judgement following the sin was a death sentence, but the free gift, although following a great many transgressions, brings justification. For if through that one man’s offense death reigns over all, much more will Elohei’s abundant mercy and His gift of sanctification reign in the lives of those who receive it through that one other man, Yeshua Ha’Mashiach.
Well, then, just as one man’s sin had led to condemnation for all men, so also another Man’s righteousness leads to justification and life for all men.
For just as through the disobedience of one man many were made sinners, so also through the obedience of another Man many will be made righteous. When The Law was given, the result was that trespasses were on the increase, but even where sin abounded grace surpassed it. So that, just as when sin reigned, death was the result, so also when grace reigns, everlasting life is the result through justification by Yeshua Ha’Mashiach, our Lord.