As the days pass by and life goes on, I have been trying to find a way to figure myself out and find the life I am so desperately searching for. I fall into these pits from time to time that are connected to the loss of Pat, or the overwhelming pressure of being a solo parent, or just because. Whatever the reason, the pits come along and I fall into a bit of sadness, or hopelessness, or feeling sorry for myself. I can accept that as part of the deal of being a widow. But, what I have learned or gathered for myself over the past couple of years is a collection of tools that help me get back on my feet and head in the direction I want to be headed. When I want my compass to point towards moving forward and being happy, I have found these things to help me along the way. They are a part of my personal first aid kit for my soul. They keep me focused and centered on what is honestly important to me in this life. I am constantly adding to this list as I evolve and find my way. Here are my five band-aids that are helping me heal.
- Reading – From the moment widow became my new identity, I have been reading everything I can get my hands on to help me find my way. I have read so many “widow” books and each has given me a morsel of hope and a plan on how I want to navigate my way through my journey of being a widow. Reading has also helped me as an escape from reality. I mostly enjoy young adult books and they have provided me humor and tears that had nothing to do with me, and it is wonderful to escape into someone else’s world for a few and forget about my pain. Books bring me peace, hope and joy. I couldn’t imagine life without the written word. Definitely my #1.
- Music – I have always had a connection to music. I can listen to a song and feel exactly what the artist is trying to portray to their listeners. I find that when I connect with the lyrics of a song, ‘ if I have someone who understands how I am feeling and that I am not as crazy as I feel. My playlist is like a soundtrack to my life. I can go through the list and see where I was emotionally a week ago, a month ago, even years ago. Without music I think I would feel disconnected from the world and that would be a lonely life.
- Walking – Walking is my own personal therapy session. When I am confused, or hurting or have something to figure out, you will find me walking. I mean really walking. I will walk and walk until I find an answer or sort my mind out. The summer after Pat died I was practically obsessed with walking. I would walk miles a day until I could get some clarity. My walks helped me through some tough times. It still does. I am not as obsessed as I was after his death, but it has been a great source of comfort for me.
- Writing – Writing is my passion. When I am feeling anything…happy or sad, I write. I write daily in a journal. I write when I can on this blog. I want to write here more, because it helps me. It helps others. I am not the best communicator in the world…some would say I am terrible. I have a hard time expressing myself verbally. But when I write I can just say it. I can say what I want to say. It just comes easy for me and it is therapeutic and comforting. It’s my thing that I am good at. So perhaps, this should be my #1.
- Choosing me – This has been the hardest one for me to let into my first aid kit because it goes against my nature. After losing Pat I decided on how I wanted to live my life. I want to do what makes me and boys happy. The problem with that has been that I didn’t know what made me happy anymore. I have changed so much that I wasn’t sure what that was. This is where choosing me became extremely important. Making the choice to leave my job that wasn’t making me happy anymore and taking a year to figure my life out was the best thing I could have done. This was my first step in choosing me. Since then I have been working on finding my new path. I am focusing on my passions in life. Discovering what they are and putting them in the forefront of my life. I am trying to be open to the world with an open heart and open mind. I am taking advantage of my time to just be. I am forgetting about the to do lists and getting everything done at a particular time, and instead being in the moment that comes along. I have to be happy in order for my boys to be happy. I need to be at peace for my boys to be at peace. I am no good to any of them without me finding solid ground. So choosing me, as awkward and selfish it may seem, is really the motor pushing me forward down my new path.
So I know the down days are going to keep coming. I am not delusional in believing that because time has passed and I am finding my way that the pain is over, but the days don’t come as often. Most days are pretty good. Most days I am happy with my life. It is a new life, but it is pretty good. I have an amazing family who loves and supports me. I have amazing friends who understand my need to be alone at times, and are there with open arms when I am willing to step out into the world again. I have love and laughter and hope for the future. My life with Pat was unbelievable. It was all I had hoped for. But that doesn’t mean my life now can’t be just as good. It is different, it has new people, new experiences, new wants and new needs, but it is going to be just as incredible as my “previous” life…maybe even better. Just keep the focus. I am still here for a reason and I am going to keep on keepin’ on.