Widowhood, The Great Singles Maker

Today, guest blogger Dorothy Skarles continues her memoir series with another sharing of her own;  her personal experience with widowhood–the great singles maker.

Once again, she walks her talk, following the advice she gives her memoir students:  “Write about your feelings.  It helps.”

Okay, I think, as a friend and fellow writer, writing about one’s personal experience is one thing, but sharing…  Oh my, that’s quite another.  How does she do it?  How can she be that brave?

Is sharing part of her own personal healing?  Or is Dorothy sharing out of generosity so others can heal and learn?

Maybe a bit of both.

I’ll leave that for you to decide.

In the mean time, welcome, Dorothy.

Widowhood

widowhood
By trying 2

I believe that widowhood truly becomes the great singles maker.

The me, myself, and I, slowly vegetate companionless at home feeling forlorn and abandoned, a death reaction along the bereavement trail that does not come from grief alone.

There are other barriers to confront.

Not long ago, I was surrounded by caring friends and family, who shared my loss.  But all too soon, they returned to their own lives, and I was by myself to cope.

The emotional distance from people set in, and over the first weeks and months, I began to hide in front of the TV, trying to avoid the world 24-7, feeling more alone then ever.

By greenhem

The deafening sound of silence that infiltrated every nook and corner of the house made even simple daily routines hard to do. I lost my purpose to do anything–calling a friend, going to the store for groceries, making a bed, cleaning, or even cooking.

When I did fix a meal for myself, it didn’t taste good. Even preparing a snack was difficult.  And when hunger pains wouldn’t go away, I ate junk food.

Why mess up the kitchen for one breakfast, one lunch, or one dinner?

Still, I knew I had to eat.  BUT WHAT?

By alice

Instant?  The many resources from A to Z of fast food takeouts? The microwave thing with high calorie frozen foods?

Or should I forget the endless shock of being a single person and eat breakfast, lunch and dinner at a nice restaurant?

Do I settle, or do I stay in my comfort zone with TV for company?

I could appease my hunger by accepting the daunting checkout of the refrigerator for all those bad tasting leftover’s put away and forgotten (but hopefully still eatable).

But then, in a second search to the back of the refrigerator (where food always seems to hide), a discovery of mildew and mold only turns up my nose for added frustration.

widowhood
By cathy.fong

I learned in my third bereavement meeting that stress and unhappiness, along with not wanting to cook, starts a vicious cycle of not wanting to eat.

One woman in the group disliked fixing a meal for herself so much that she opened a can of chile.  But when heated, it was too spicy-hot to eat, so she added frozen peas along with water and ate it as soup. A widower sitting next to her laughed and said, “I hope you never invite me to dinner.”

Sharing eating experiences opened the door to what others did when hungry.

“I usually cook too much,” another woman said. “I eat it the first day and it fills me up. The second day, it’s only okay, and the third day, I throw it out.”

Still another said, “When I’m hungry, I eat a box of cookies.”

A man, looking depressed, added, “My wife cooked.  Now I eat in a restaurant.”

The consensus among the grief group, “Who wants to go through all the trouble of cooking when you are the only one who’s hungry?”

I am also learning from the group that each of us must get on with our lives for pain to lessen. I pray to God to give me the fortitude to get up in the morning, look in a mirror, and say to myself, “Today is going to be a good day,” and then know that the words will give me strength to feed the dog, feed the cat, get dressed, and get out to mingle with people.

No more hiding in front of the TV or eating junk food.

By phill.d

The end of the tunnel is for me to discover life’s simple pleasures of meeting a friend for lunch, going shopping, checking a book out at the library, calling a friend, traveling, and having a positive approach for a successful renewal of spirit.

Hey, it’s just another little hurdle to get over….


 

Thanks, Dorothy,

Margaret Duarte