Newly Widowed - The Second Month

Survival Mode, I guess...

The first time I referred to myself as a widow, was quite a shocker. To actually say the word out loud, I think was the first step to disassociation.

Reality set in, once arrangements were completed and that part of my life seemed to be gone. The reality that I am alone. There's no more strong hand to hold mine and pull me forward. Only my own two feet to take those small steps forward everyday.

The loss of "him" is pushed deep down. Survival instincts have now kicked in. The previous month now a blur.  Yet, the lists are still there, on a yellow notepad, next to the phone. It grows daily, as I cross one thing off I add two more. Some days I find them overwhelming, other days (most), I'm grateful they are there. They keep me moving and 'doing' and not thinking.

I've put away the pictures, once I smiled and even laughed at them, rejoicing in the wonderful life we shared. I can't look at them now without feeling that painful loss... it knocks the wind out of me, takes my breath away. I haven't smelled any of his clothes, haven't opened the door to his truck, his smell, the strongest reminder of what I've lost.

I try not to replay that fateful morning in my mind. I try not to think of the should have's, could have's and had we known's. There is no going back, only forward, moment by moment, day by day.

I've had to put him aside for now, my priority is our children and what they need. I've stepped away from my grief and I see it in my children more clearly. Our youngest referred to him by name rather than Daddy. His own disassociation, so he can speak of him without the pain.

Our oldest paces, like me, I know he's thinking "what now?", as am I.

One cries because the last time Dad told her he loved her, she gave him the standard, "love you too, Dad." and wonders if he knew how much she really meant it.

Another either doesn't go to school or calls in the middle of the day to be picked up, having a difficult time dealing with the norm.

And the last, I think she's dealing with it the best of all of us, expressing how much she misses Dad, and wishes she can hear his voice again. Me too, honey. Me too.

I know that I need to get my children help. The farther away I move from him, the less helpful I become for them. So I searched and searched for grief counseling for them. I was shocked at how little there is out there for children, even teens.

I keep being told that if I get help for myself, it will be helpful for my children. I believe this in one way, yet in another I don't. One, I'm not ready! Two, my children are very protective of me and I know that it is difficult for them to see me upset. One of our favorite family songs is Green Day's "Time of your life", our littlest asked me one day if I still liked that song, I said I did, he reminded me that the last time I heard that song I cried. So he no longer wants to listen to it. No matter how much I tell him it's all right to cry and to be sad, I see the anger building up inside of him.

The third and most important reason, in my thinking, is that they are children, they are not widows and widowers, they've lost their father not their life partner. They need others their own age to relate to, share their experience with. Their bereavement is different than mine.

I've heard over and over how resilient children are, and agree. Maybe this is why grief programs are limited for children. It's assumed they will somehow overcome it on their own. I don't believe that. Supress it maybe, until they become adults and then the supression becomes baggage.

From one widow to another...

Keep taking notes. Though you may feel as if you are functioning better, it is still important to keep notes and lists. I still seem to forget what happened yesterday and can't remember what I need to do tomorrow, or the name of that lady I spoke with two days ago. Write it down. Date, time, who, what, when, where, why, and how.

Important Papers and Loose Ends. Now is the time to file for pensions, life insurance, etc. If you have separate bank accounts you have to go in person to the bank with a copy of the death certificate to close accounts. If you haven't done so already you need to go to Social Security to file for Survivor Benefits for yourself and children. You will need an original death certificate, birth certificates for all survivors, marriage certificate, and social security cards.

Keep eating. I'm getting better with this. I know I need to keep up my strength and food is essential for that. Even a few bites here and there is better than nothing. Keep drinking a lot of water. I was told over and over to do this, and they were right.

Count the blessings. That black hole of depression creeps up on you. Some days are better than others, but to keep from drowning in that abyss, I try to look at the little things and tell myself I'm grateful for that small moment. We had so much rain and cold weather in January that when the sun finally decided to stick around and warm things up I rejoiced in it. All of the good people around us, wonderful friends. My kids little giggles and smiles. The small things, that is what life is about.

It is okay to smile and Oh yes, even laugh. The first time I laughed, I felt horrible for doing so. How can I laugh or even be happy for a split second when my husband has passed away. It took a few more smiles, a few more laughs not to feel horrified. If I'm happy it means I'm not grieving. Not true. I know in my heart he would want me to be happy.

Sleep. Probably the most difficult. I went to bed worrying about tomorrow and woke up replaying that fateful morning in December, sometimes at two, three, four o'clock in the morning. A prescription helped. Though I would get the much needed eight hour sleep, it didn't seem to be enough, but I know it helped.

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Comments 31 comments

rebekahELLE profile image

rebekahELLE 6 years ago from Tampa Bay

bless your beautiful heart. my heart goes out to you as I know also what you feel and are going through. I was widowed a number of years ago quite out of the blue with that dreadful phone call. It sounds like you are coping well and doing the right things, it is a survival mode and you will move through it at your own pace, and you will be much stronger and loving and have a deeper understanding of what is most important in your life. Writing as you are is very helpful and does help others. My sons were 16 and 12 at the time. It was hard on them, especially the older one, but they came through those years and are now doing very well in their lives. Is there anyone at their schools that may be able to spend time talking with your children? I'm sure they would have resources of where to find more help.

keep writing and doing all that you are. you are in my thoughts. {{hugs}}

Missi Darnell profile image

Missi Darnell 6 years ago from Southern California Author

rebekahELLE thank you so much for your comment. I'm sorry that you can relate, that means a we belong to a dreadful club. I'm so glad that your boys are well, that does give me hope for my own. I did have them talk to counselors at school went they first went back, it was a one time thing really, they need much more than that. Resources given were ones I'd already contacted. The limitation for kids is horrifying. Something really should be done about that. Thanks you for your kind words, thoughts and hugs. You give me hope.

Missi Darnell profile image

Missi Darnell 6 years ago from Southern California Author

Geez could I have made anymore typos in that reply. Must have been before the third cup of coffee.

Shan 6 years ago

Every time I read the sadness coming from your heart I start to cry. Feeling the pain with you and knowing just how hard it is to long to see them again. If only I knew for sure that when I die I will see my mom again. I pretend it didnt happen, and at times I get reminded it did happen and I cry. I love you today as I have always, and I have a hard time facing the reality of it. Bless you and the family. xoxoxo.....Shannon B..........

suziecat7 profile image

suziecat7 6 years ago from Asheville, NC

I am also a widow and must say the daily lists I made kept me sane and motivated. It is a dreadful club. I can tell you are strong for both yourself and the kids It will get better. My thoughts are with you.

Missi Darnell profile image

Missi Darnell 6 years ago from Southern California Author

I believe more than ever that we will see the ones we love again one day. They are at peace, and that gives me peace. I know they are around us too, watching over us. I love you too sweetheart.

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Missi Darnell 6 years ago from Southern California Author

suziecat7 thats exactly what they should be named "Sanity Lists". It's the doing nothing that gets you. I am sorry for your loss, and yes we do belong to a dreadful club. But, I am sure we are some of the strongest women there are. Thank you for your thoughts and comment.

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TattoGuy 6 years ago

Really sorry to hear that you are widowed Missi Darnell and this hub really got to me, to be honest I don't really know what to say except I was here and I am thinking about you, take care.

Missi Darnell profile image

Missi Darnell 6 years ago from Southern California Author

Thank you TattoGuy for thinking of me and your comment on this hub. It's hard to know what to say, I know, and it's okay. To be in others thoughts is comfort. Thank you.

rebekahELLE profile image

rebekahELLE 6 years ago from Tampa Bay

missi, I don't want to leave a link, but wanted to let you know about it is a simple site with resources for both young widows and those of any age. at whatever age it happens it's hard and yet when it happens when we are younger and so unexpected, it leaves us wondering how to move forward. what you are now doing is the best way in my opinion.

writing and reaching out to others is immensely therapeutic.

sometimes I found that writing about him helped as well, remembering the amazing times we had together and it blocked out any of the more difficult times we shared. he was a part of your life for a reason, you have your wonderful children and now there is a new path for you to journey. welcome the changes as they come and try not to rush any phase of the grieving process. if there's anything I can ever do for you or your children, don't hesitate to contact me. sometimes it's nice to know there is someone who will listen and understand. be well, much love.

dominionmaster2 6 years ago

First I want to say thank you for your comments on my page A new Passion. Second I wanted to tell you that I understand what you are going thru as well, I lost my wife suddenly a few years ago. I am raising our 3 kids alone, it has been difficult but it does get easier. Acceptance is the key at least it was for me. Sounds like you are on your way. Just let the kids mourn in their own way, and be there when they need you.

Missi Darnell profile image

Missi Darnell 6 years ago from Southern California Author

dominionmaster2, thank you for your comment as well. Saying I'm sorry for your loss sounds empty (I know) but I truly am. I'm glad to know it gets easier and I think I've come a long way since January already. Yes, acceptance. I've come to that for the most part, accepting atleast that I can't change anything that has happened I can only go forward. I wish you and your 3 children well.

Missi Darnell profile image

Missi Darnell 6 years ago from Southern California Author

rebekahELLE, thank you for the link. Thank you for your wisdom and advice, it is truly appreciated and so kind.

Enelle Lamb profile image

Enelle Lamb 6 years ago from Canada's 'California'

No words can truly express the feelings I have after reading this. Your strength shines through this beautifully written and heartfelt hub. Any expression of condolence sounds trite and empty, no matter how well meaning it is, but I sincerely wish you and your family love, strength and happiness. Bless you my dear for sharing your thoughts and feelings with us.

Missi Darnell profile image

Missi Darnell 6 years ago from Southern California Author

Thank you so much Enelle heartfelt wishes and thoughts for us. Thank you for saying that my strength shows, often I feel very vulnerable, but try to be strong because the alternative is unacceptable. Thank you.

photoman022 6 years ago

Can I suggest a good book? Well, I guess I'm going to do it anyway. "Recovering From the Losses of Life," by H. Norman Wright. He is a great author with great credentials. And he writes in a way we normal people can understand. The best thing you learn in the book is that you're not crazy when you still feel bad six, twelve, and eighteen months later. There is a process to grief recovery and Wright shares that process with you.

Missi Darnell profile image

Missi Darnell 6 years ago from Southern California Author

photoman022 thank you for your comment and recommendation. It's always helpful to know you're not crazy, and boy do I have some thoughts at times... well I'll just leave it at that. And yes, I need to follow a process, I like processes. Thank you.

_cheryl_ profile image

_cheryl_ 6 years ago from California

Missi, I love that you have the courage and srength to write and share your deep and difficult emotions. My heart weighs heavily upon reading this. Your tips and advice for others are proof of how beautifully selfless you are during this time. You are truly in my thoughts and prayers, I know that you will continue to gain more strength everday, and find greater peace through it all in time. I am so touched by your words... big hugs to you and each of your children.

Missi Darnell profile image

Missi Darnell 6 years ago from Southern California Author

cheryl, thank you for your comment and encouraging words. Thank you for your thoughts and prayers for my children and myself. Yes, if I can help one person by writing this hub then it brings me comfort. Or if someone reading this hub values their spouse more because of it, then I have done a good deed as well.

jayjay40 profile image

jayjay40 6 years ago from Bristol England

God bless you, you are inspiration.

Missi Darnell profile image

Missi Darnell 6 years ago from Southern California Author

jayjay40 thank you for your comment and compliment. To inspire is a wonderful accomplishment.

aunt val 6 years ago

Heard Dust in the Wind today, cried a little, then smiled real big because I felt Kirk, just as I know you deeply do! Your writing about all the painfull things you feel, the kids having such a hard time, makes me wish I could be there! Believe me Moo you & the kids are in my thoughts and Prayers every day.You are a strong woman and the love you all have for each other will prevail!!! The writing is fab! Keep it up! Love Love Love!! Hugs & Kisses A. Val

Missi Darnell profile image

Missi Darnell 6 years ago from Southern California Author

aunt val, I miss you so much. Thank you for your love and encouraging words. I love you.

itakins profile image

itakins 6 years ago from Irl

What a lady!-God Bless.

Missi Darnell profile image

Missi Darnell 6 years ago from Southern California Author

itakins, thank you.

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"Quill" 6 years ago

Excellent hub and sorry for your loss but a Lady who stands above many in her dedication to life... an inspiration...

Blessings and Hugs

Missi Darnell profile image

Missi Darnell 6 years ago from Southern California Author

Thank you Quill for your lovely words.

premsingh profile image

premsingh 6 years ago

This sort of loss can be felt by those alone who have undergone this process of grief and sorrow. It's really difficult to read about feelings, what to say of the experience of kids and mother who suffer it. I can just pray to God to give you and kids the strength to bear it.

Missi Darnell profile image

Missi Darnell 6 years ago from Southern California Author

premsingh, what you say is so very true, thank you for your prayers and thoughts for my children and I.

LuvMyBaby 6 years ago

RIP Missi. You are truly missed by a lot of people. Even people that have only met you. For instance, me! I've only met you a few times and you are one of the sweetest, nicest, most thoughtful... (and the list just keeps going) people I know. You were a strong person taking care of your 5 children with your husbands passing. I hate thinking of where your now 4 children will be without their parents and a lost sibbling. Watch over them. They need guidance right now. I love you Missi and you will NEVER be forgotten

rebekahELLE profile image

rebekahELLE 6 years ago from Tampa Bay

LuvMyBaby, if you have info concerning Missi's well being, please let us know. thank you.

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