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Matt and I were together for 10 wonderful years - met in 1998, married in 2002, until his untimely death on November 15, 2008. We have two beautiful, healthy children - Jacob (born 5/04) and Sydney (born 5/07)... the most precious gifts he could have ever given me.

Friday, August 13, 2010

Soul Growth.

I've titled this post a hundred different things while writing it in my head: "Lessons," "Confronting Demons," "Stirring the Pot," "Soul Searching," "Growing Pains..."

I was not prepared for the myriad of emotions that Camp Widow stirred up. It really caught me by surprise. Stuff I had buried that I didn't even realize was still there. I was still pretty numb at last year's conference, and I'm sure that was a factor. I was in a totally different place this time last year than I am now. It appears that I am not nearly the only one, either - several of my other widowed friends who attended last weekend's events are experiencing the same sort of emotions.

I hit a low point a couple days ago. Those low points make you feel like you'll never see the light of day again, but low and behold, eventually it passes. I'm happy to report that as time passes, these low points are less frequent, and I seem to come out of them a bit quicker than before. I hope that's a trend that continues... I also consider myself extremely blessed to have such a wonderful support system, and I know for a fact that I can contribute bouncing back faster to them as well.

I talked to several friends yesterday, and I learned something pretty significant from each of them. Some lessons, some reminders... 

Lesson number one: Shut up and listen. Really listen.

Lesson number two: Apparently the thing that holds you back from moving forward in life is yourself. This is a bitter pill to swallow, but what an invaluable epiphany.

Lesson number three: Anger is blinding and deafening, and it can make you sick. It can keep you from seeing things that are right in front of your face, and from hearing things that are being said to you loud and clear.

Lesson number four: Pain is progress. It may seem like a hindrance, but it is a sign of growth and understanding. Embrace it, then let it go.

Lesson number five: Stop focusing inward - step outside of yourself and open your eyes and ears to those around you. 

Lesson number six: Sleep is priceless. Gotta do this more...

Lesson number seven, and probably most important: Instead of focusing so much on what I've lost, I need to be focused on what I have right in front of me. My amazing children, and the many other wonderful people that are in my life.

I saw this on Facebook yesterday, and it really hit home:  "We don't see things as they are, we see things as we are." - Anais Nin
I think a lot of the things I'm accusing others of are the very things I'm guilty of. Another bitter pill, but a really necessary one. Not sure if that's the meaning of that quote, but that's what I took from it, anyway.

These horrible circumstances that we're all faced with have a purpose. No one escapes this life without experiencing tragedy of some sort. The biggest question we all ask is "why" and perhaps the answer is "to help us grow." Soul growth - so we are better prepared to live the rest of this life, and the life that comes after this one.

I'm so glad I've realized these lessons and that I gave myself the chance to think about them and process them- especially in light of the next trip I have coming up. In a week, the kids and I are going back to Buffalo for the first time since we moved, and the thought of going back has been stressing me out. I'm going to keep these lessons in mind, and remind myself to be a little lighter and kinder, and a little bit stronger to face this next hurdle.


Anonymous said...

I am surprised there are no comments yet on your post! My goodness you are reading my mind. Exactly what I needed to read right now. Thank you for this. Will do my best to remember to be lighter as well.

Anonymous said...

Amazing lessons - of which we need constant reminders .. . . so much easier said than done, no matter how true (especially number 6!)

I'll be thinking of you as you jump your next hurdle. I know some of the things that stress me out so much in the past year + often end up not as bad as I expected, but at the same time I wonder if that's because I already spent so much time stressing about it . . .

Sorry for rambling - I should give that lesson 6 a try!

Crash Course Widow said...

I've found so many times on this crap widowed journey that I crashed--and crashed hard--after especially high, good times. So I'm not surprised to hear you hit a substantial low after last weekend. I think Mel hit it on the head when she said that it took being around widows to not feel like a widow; being with a group of us who are all young, laughing, drinking, and having a good time while still being widowed is so powerful, because we don't feel like we're somehow "less than" like we do so often around "normal" people. It's hard to go back to our so-called "real" lives after such a normalizing, fun experience. I hope that your funk passes as quickly as possible, especially with your trip to Buffalo coming so soon.

Regarding your lesson 7....I have mixed feeling about this one. I think--at least for a while--you DO need to give what you've lost its due. 'Focusing on what you have' doesn't take away the pain or even dull it sometimes, and I personally have hated hearing or being told that I should focus on the good, be thankful for what I have, etc., because it always felt like a reprimand that I was mourning what I lost at all. I don't know; I don't think I'm describing what I've felt very well (my brain is still too mushy after 4 days at Disneyland =)). But I think so many things are a balancing act in grief--mourning what you've lost, giving life to the anger, focusing inward to understand what's roaring through you...and yes, being open to laughter, love, beauty, and good things in your life too. But I think too much of trying to force mind-over-matter in grief is just asking for trouble down the road. Let the grief and pain and anger out when it needs to be, and it'll burn itself out when it's time.

Hugs, my friend. It was SO awesome getting to hang out with you again for the weekend!!! Love ya tons, sunshine!!

xoxo, Candice

Boo said...

thank you for this amazing post. Love you, Boo x

Anonymous said...

and remind myself to be a little lighter and kinder>>
Especially to/on at a time......

Andrea Renee said...

Candice, you're right - Mel did hit it on the head by saying "it took being with widows to not feel like a widow." I think that should be the slogan for Camp Widow!!
Lesson 7 - I only say that because I can get obsessive with things, and I think sometimes I'm so focused on losing Matt that I don't notice who and what is still in my life. It can take me over easily, and I have to remind myself to try to maintain some balance.
Gonna do lesson 6 now...

Love to all of you. xoxo