I Don’t Know How to be Okay!
For the first two years after my husband’s death I would say the words daily, hourly, sometimes more. It didn’t matter where I was, private or public, my hands would shoot up and those familiar words tumbled out of my mouth “I DON’T KNOW HOW TO BE OKAY!!” and yes, I used my outside voice.
Over the past few years I’ve talked with a lot of widows and the sentiment is always the same. In the beginning, we just don’t know how to be “okay”.
For me, I had to put myself in exile. Oh, I thought everything was fine because I was going to work every day, getting the bills paid (after a 30- day notice). Every Sunday morning, I would come out of hiding just to show all the sweet brothers and sisters, who whispered; “sorry for your loss”, “call if you need anything.” “We’re here for you” that I was holding it together just fine and didn’t “need” anything. But I did. I “needed” my husband to be here, in this life, with me and the reality that this was not possible had set in prompting me to frequently and randomly blurt out conversations with myself. The other reason I didn’t reach out for help was because I just didn’t want to be a burden. Hey, we all have problems, right? why should I bother someone with mine?
During my exile I spent most of my day in bed. I went to bed tired, woke up exhausted, worked 8 hours, came home around 6:00 pm, threw the mail on the table, let out a big sigh and crawled back into my unmade bed – my refuge. Anything more than that overwhelmed me, causing me to gasp for air like Houdini in the dunk-tank wrestling to get out of his straight jacket in time.
And then this happened…
“She tucked her coral lipstick away and floated back to the party.”
One beautiful spring morning, about two years into my exile, I finally jumped out of bed while it was still light! My mouth curled up in the shape of a smile and my heart felt lite. Throwing open the curtains I glanced outside and to my delight the sky seemed a little bit bluer and the grass a little bit greener. Standing up with my chest puffed out, I threw my arms toward heaven and yelled “GOD! …I WANT TO LIVE!… I CHOOSE LIFE!” and that was the day I chose to live and not just merely exist.
So, with hair combed, teeth brushed, shoes laced up – I sat at the foot of my bed, hands folded in my lap, staring blankly at the abyss (life) before me. I thought, “Houston, we have a problem”. I didn’t know how to move forward in this uncharted territory. Where do I fit in? No-one seems to need me anymore. My kids have lives of their own, my sprinkler system is on a timer, my coffee pot is programmed to begin dripping at 6:00 am sharp, my car doesn’t even need me! It has cruise control. It’s just ME! Now what?
So, I did what us modern gals do, I googled the word widow. Ironically on that day the search engines pulled up a page showing the word “widow” nestled right in-between window salesmen and pest control. How funny is that! The three things women fear most: Salesmen, singleness, and spiders all on one page! That was also the day I began to laugh again.
I kept googling everything/all things widow related. I just wanted to find a widow who had been brave enough to plan a funeral, courageous enough to eventually get out of bed, willing to learn how to run a household, adventurous enough to take dance lessons, and happy enough to feel vibrant, useful, purposeful, and pretty again…you know…alive!
I searched books, blogs, websites, articles, groups, podcasts, runs, cruises, there’s even a clothing line (hmmm, still not sure about that one). I wanted to connect with a widow that was at least close to my age when she joined the club (I was in my 40’s at the time), I wanted her to be happy (not necessarily happier, but … happy!), if she had a website I wanted it to be fresh, colorful, light-hearted, fun, faith- based, hope -filled content with that perfect balance of humor and purpose.
That’s when I realized our demographic has a huge problem. We don’t have enough tools for the “what next” phase of a widow’s life. After the loss, after the grieving…what’s next?
Then I felt a nudge from God to create an online community for single women and widows who are ready to live their best life! If you’re like me, you may have unplugged from life after losing your husband, losing a marriage, or maybe your dream, and you just need a little help to get back up and keep going in your new skin.
The intent of this blog is to cover topics that help get us, and keep us, in forward motion; physically, emotionally, spiritually, and financially. Topics like; Decorating small spaces, the newest fashion trends, creating an exercise plan for a recovering couch potato, budget tips, is it grief or depression? Discerning God’s plan for my life, and much more…Some of the blog posts will be interview based but each week we will include helpful tips, links, books, etc… to enrich your life as a woman flying solo.
Thank goodness I no longer spend my day in bed nor do I randomly yell out “I DON’T KNOW HOW TO BE OKAY!” Now, I seek out women like you and me to whisper in their ear “It’s going to be okay.” “You are going to be okay.”
So, what do you say? Are you ready to go on this journey together? The “What next” phase. If so, let the adventure begin!
Wheels up Buttercup,