January Widowed Blog Hop

BlogHopIt’s the first Wednesday of the month, so please join us and read what the widows and widowers have to say in the Blog Hop!

 

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Victim’s Impact at DUI training…

Samantha standing in front of the classroom with podium

Samantha speaking in front of class

Over the last two days, I have presented to a DUI training class.  Where law enforcement individuals are being trained on the risks of driving while under the influence.  I was asked to present the story of my husband, that was killed by a drunk driver.  I shared how the drunk driver’s decision changed my children and my lives forever.  I was a little nervous, but overall it went well.  I do need to work on more eye contact with the class.   I think what this group is doing is great!

December’s Widowed Blog Hop!

an egg with bold letter HOPIt’s the first Wednesday of the month and you know what that means…Widowed Blog Hop! 
 
Life is full of surprises.  There are moments when you feel like nothing good will come of it and others when a light shines on given opportunities.  I asked myself quite often how I can change or influence others in a good way.  How I can take the death of my husband and use it to benefit others. This may sound like a “crazy” question, but that is what goes through my mind.  I want other widows and widowers to not feel alone in their grief.  Don’t get me wrong, it is a journey that you will get through on your own but we all need support. I feel blessed that I have been able to connect with some great people who have something in common with me.  And that’s losing their spouse.

We are all in different places in our journey, but have taken a step forward in our life story without our spouse.   The support you get from someone who has been down your path or some variation of it is irreplaceable. 

I want to commend all of the men and women that take the time to give us a glimpse of their reality.  The words they share can bring a whole realm of emotions and that is when you know it is written honestly from the heart. 

We have some new participants this month and I encourage all of my readers to check out what they have been doing and posting. 
 
For ease, below is the list of participants in the hop. 
Thank you for taking the time to hear our stories, feelings and what we think. 
Samantha

Justice needed for closure…

Picture of a gold scale od justicePetraeus is involved in a new scandal centered around integrity, honesty and being faithful.  I find it interesting that these allegations are coming to light during the hearings for the Libya attack.  They seem to overshadow the fact that Americans were killed in Libya on September 11th.  The personnel who are involved in the scandal now may have a tarnished and diminished character. This may impact how their testimony is received for happenings in Libya; what they testify as to what happened during Libya might be taken with a grain of salt.  

Petraeus, as the Director of the CIA, should be a man whose character emanates integrity, honesty, and certainly faithfulness, as well as having the ability to be covert and prudent…these are all qualities in which suite the man who is the head of the CIA. A person whose job it is to be discreet as possible did not do a very good job of covering up his tracks with his assumed affair.  Talking about his character is one thing, but what about what he has done to his wife?  The shame that he has brought upon his family is evident but in my opinion, he has also dishonored them.  What is this saying about the leaders of America? 

I do not understand how people are unable to keep their pants on, entering into an extramarital affair and breaking the vows that they have promised to their spouse.  These things infuriate me more now since my husband was killed.  I try not to judge, but Petraeus stated that he denied having an affair with anyone other than Broadwell.  Both parties in this case were married.  I cannot understand how people take marriage and their family so lightly.  

Think about the families that have been effected by the Libya attack and the figureheads that were supposed to keep their loved ones safe.  The heartache that the families must feel at the lack of support from the US government. This is just outright sickening!

There are innocent victims and families involved in all of this. The Obama administration  was trying to say a video of a no name person caused all of these riots that led to American deaths, this I find hard to believe.  Finally coming out much later calling it a terrorist attack.  Really?  I mean, it took place on September 11th and would have needed to have been planned out unless it is that easy to raid a US Embassy.  In that case, we may need to look at the security that the US Embassy has in place. 

All in all, this should be about the victims and getting them justice.  It is nearly impossible to feel closure from the death of a loved one until you feel justice has been given to those that have caused the death.  This is going to take a very long time for these families to feel like justice has been served if even they will ever feel that way.  

I hope these families are able to find comfort one day and be able to grieve the loss of their loved one.  To feel closure and for those that committed the crimes or did not do their part in preventing this act from happening get their justice for the victims and for their families. 

“Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.” – Martin Luther King, Jr. 

Fast Forward

pond in autumn.  woman wearing red coat siting on a benchAfter I heard the words your husband is dead I sobbed for a brief moment.  Then my thoughts went to my children.  How was I going to tell them that their father was dead?  It brought instant pain to my heart.  For the first time in life, I knew how someone could die from a broken heart.  The emotional pain consumed my body.  The anticipation of what I might feel next was overwhelming. 

You might think that during those first few weeks you experience the worst emotional struggle in your life.  Sad to say you haven’t even started…

I know that is not very uplifting, but honesty might get you through the next few moments of your journey.  

You begin to feel numb.  Your tears subside a little and you wonder why.  Is it normal not to cry now every time you hear his or her name?  Yes, it can be.  

Then there is a time when you want to hit the fast forward button to spare yourself from feeling any more.  I would meet other widows who were much farther in their journey than mine, and I would be jealous.  I could not even wrap my mind around how they were capable of functioning.  

I wanted to push fast forward and be in their shoes.  I wanted to laugh without guilt, to look at my children without tears and to face the world without fear.  What I discovered was that they too had walked this journey and that is why they were capable now.  

What made me realize this was meeting others who had lost their loved ones many years ago and hit the fast forward button.  They were still walking in my shoes. They did not let grief take over.  It frightened them so much that they couldn’t.  It depleted them, and they did not let go.  When I was in the room with them I could feel the heartache that was there. The grief absorbed into me.  I got up from my chair, ran out of the room and kept running.  I found a peaceful place near a pond and sat on a bench.  I sobbed.  It felt like I was sobbing for all of them.  I was releasing all of the pain and anger that had devoured them. 

Sitting alone listening to my own sobs provided me with an understanding.  I needed to choose which path I would take.  Would I hit fast forward or face what scared me?  I chose to face what scared me, and in those moments by the pond I began to hear the whispers of my crazy courage.  

Courage is not the absence of fear, but rather the judgment that something else is more important than fear.” – Ambrose Redmoon

The different journeys during the healing process.

Woman with white coat, hand on her forehead sitting in graveyard leaning on headstone.  With grey skies

We have our own journey to healing.

If I were to compare my own journey with others during our healing process they would vary in some way.  You might have a mother that lost a son, a sister whom lost a little brother, a son that lost his father and a wife that lost her husband.  Each of these people will be impacted differently.  They can be impacted by what role their loved one played in their life story:

  • A mother who gave birth to her son who is not supposed to die before she does
  • A sister who grew up with her brother and was at his side through many accomplishments; you might say they were best friends
  • A son who relied on his father to protect and comfort him
  • A wife who made those sacred vows with her husband and made so many plans together

All of these individuals will have their own personal struggles, but will definitely have one thing in common and that is the loss of their loved one, the fact that they will miss the presence of them and will have a long journey of healing.

As a widow, I thought as I was meeting other widows during their journey that we would have experienced our healing the same way.  The fact is: we don’t!  During my journey, I have met many other widows, and each widow went through her own individual process of healing.  We will likely experience some of the same things, but not every thought, feeling, or experience will be the same.

There are so many factors that will affect the way a person heals.  I noticed things that, I believe, have affected the way in which someone has healed or is healing. If they have children, that can impact the process.  The widow/er will need to be a mother or father to the children as each of them is healing. Maybe a spouse died before the couple could have a child; then the spouse left behind must deal with the fact that they will never have a child with their spouse.

How the last moments were spent with their spouse alive, as well as the marriage overall, impacts the healing process.  The couple’s financial status can have a very big impact on how a widow manages through the process.  Other factors that will impact healing are how well you get along with your in-laws, friends that you have and the overall support of the people around you.  

Another thing will be how the person died.  You may not think that it could play that big of a role in the healing process, but it does.  What if the person left one night and did not return or you might have watched your spouse suffer from an illness before dying?  Maybe they were murdered or they could have taken their own life.  These instances bring different questions and trauma with them.

In the end, after you watch your spouse’s casket being carried away, you realize that you are left alone; without the person you had dreams with, the person who was a part of your everyday life, the person who brought you purpose, the person you love. This is when your journey of healing begins.  The one where you will meet many crossroads and where you will have to choose a path.  Choosing your path is difficult; the whole healing process is difficult.  There is nothing easy about it. 

This trauma brings you to your most vulnerable raw state as a person.  The people around you will really get to know the person you are and watch you transform as you walk the journey of healing.

Can you ever “heal” from a loss?

A man hugging two childrenAs I sit here thinking about all of the lives lost in Aurora, CO and how all of their family and friends are now searching for answers it reminds me of my own loss.  How it was sudden…one minute you are sitting at home with plans and the next minute your door bell rings, you answer it and your life is changed.

You start questioning yourself and wondering if there was something you could have done to change the outcome.  Maybe you could have asked your loved one not to go or made other plans with the person.  The fact is there is nothing you can do now to change what happened. This is a hard thing to realize and accept.

Healing means  “restoring health in an unbalanced, diseased or damaged organism”, then ask ourselves can a person ever heal after a loss.  A loss in which you did not get to say goodbye, in which you no longer are going to live your dreams with your loved one, in which you are not sure how to pick up the pieces and move forward in your life. The answer?  I am not sure if we can heal completely. 

If I describe it like a wound, it may make sense. The wound starts to heal and then something causes trauma to the wound again (it could be a holiday, seeing the accused in court, etc… ) and then you go back sometimes to the beginning of trying to heal the wound.  I believe after time, the wound will change to a scar but your skin will never be restored back to the way it was before. It is back to a state of health, but it will always be altered.  I hope that this description can help all of you relate to this type of healing.

As we are going through the grief and pain that comes from a loss, we are trying to heal and restore our health.  It takes everyone different length of time and people’s specific situation affects the way people will heal.

I watched the introductory hearing for James Holmes during which he was accused of the movie theater shooting.  It was hard to watch and understand the facial expressions he exhibited.  Never did you see a look of remorse on his face. This will impact the victims’ families.  It makes you very angry to be in the same court room of the person accused of killing the person you loved.  I saw no look of remorse on the face of the person who killed my husband, neither during the introductory hearing nor the many other hearings that were held until she was convicted.  All I wanted from her was to feel that she realized what she had done.  Until I saw this, I was not able to heal.  What worries me about the Aurora victims’ families is that they may never see that from the accused.

Some of the key things that helped turn my wounds into a scar were the support I had and the counseling that I went through. This is what all of the families need in Aurora: the support of their families, friends and people in the nation as they are working through their grief and eventual acceptance of their loss.

Added new pages…

I have added a few more pages.  They are located at the top of the blog.  They are: what’s your story, How have you used your crazy courage and the do’s and don’ts.   In each page, I wrote a bit about the purpose of the page.  I hope you will check them out.  I wanted to add pages where people can share their information that I can post for others to view.  This will allow everyone to hear different perspectives which is always beneficial.

I hope to see new comments soon!

Mortality

Family on the beach holding handsMortality is such an uncomfortable subject.  It is something that is very hard to discuss seriously, so we might find ways to add humor to it to alleviate some of the discomfort.  I believe it is something that we all need to get to a comfort level with.

I now believe life is a privilege and no longer a given right.  My husband was killed at the age of 32 and I am still angry about that.  The anger no longer consumes me, but I am angry at the situation.   There are several different ways that I can deal with that anger.  What I have chosen to do is deal with it in a positive manner.  I feel privileged every day I wake up and in all those moments I get to enjoy with my children, family and friends. I know now that it is really possible for me to die at any moment, so I try not to take my life for granted.

It is hard for me to understand how people can feel that their life is a given right, since I no longer do.  I can understand how they may feel that way, because I once felt that way.  This is just one way my perception has changed since the death of my husband. People may say that their life is a privilege, but their actions can speak louder than those words.

I think we all want to make our footprint or fingerprints in this world and may struggle with the fact that when we leave…will people really remember us? The fact is that someone will. There might not be a million people that do and that is okay.  As long as we touch one person in our lives I believe we are successful.

What is important is that we are doing more than breathing.  We are joining society and contributing.  Living life can mean so many things.  I bet if you sat in a room of 100 people and flashed the word life on a screen and if those people were to say the first word that came to their head, the answers would vary tremendously.  The one thing that we should all be really grateful for is having the privilege to live another day, hour or even a minute.

Those Little Whispers

hand covering a mouth whispering in an earI think we may have all experienced the whispers.  The whispers are when you walk into a room or a general area where people are whispering about you.  They may not be saying anything negative or maybe they are, but  you know that they are talking about you.  It’s the quick glance that you get that usually gives it away.  What unconscious immediate reaction do you have?  It is a feeling that there is something wrong with you.  You begin to look back at the last time you saw these people and have a mini playback in your head.  You confirm that you did nothing that would cause these whispers.  Then you might check yourself out to see if something is out-of-place.  You do this as stealthy as possible as not to alert them you know they are talking about you and you are uncomfortable.  We do all these things, because it is in our nature. 

I am guilty of the whispers.  We learn it in grade school when we are discussing a classmate, accept then it normally came with a large amount of giggles.  This is likely something our parents taught us or we developed the trade somewhere along the way. 

As a widow, I felt these whispers.   They may or may not have been there all the time, but I saw the glances.  These glances might have been from the unfamiliar territory all of us were in.  They were probably all wondering what in the world do you say to someone who lost their husband.  While I remained guarded not wanting to face anyone or at times facing what these whispers meant.  

There was a time when I was on the other side.  I was not the one that lost their husband, but was an acquaintance of someone who had.  I knew very little about this person before they lost their husband.  I only saw them around.  One day, I went to a public place where I was immediately informed of the husband’s passing.  It was not from the widow, but from others spreading the word through their whispers.  It was the first thing said to me when I arrived.  It was as if it were the breaking news at 5 o’clock.  I sat back and listened to these whispers spread like a wildfire.  I heard each person’s perception.  It actually made me sick to my stomach listening to this.  I was not sure if it was due to the nature in which the discussion was happening or if it made me realize that this is how the news spread of my own husband’s death. 

There are also the whispers that spread like the game telephone. When they get back to you after they went through the gossip train you only hope they were distorted towards the end.  These are people’s judgments exposed to the world around them for each person to interpret.  Their perception combined with their judgments are spread to any listening ear. 

Judgments are cast on people like a plague at times and I am unsure why.  The judgments people make about your life and decisions are their judgments to own.  They are not yours and you should not let those judgments impact how you feel and what you are doing.  Unless they are positive and make you feel a bit better about yourself.  Keep those close to create a found confidence that keeps you motivated to accomplish what others have only spoken about!