Author Topic: How We can help Each Other!  (Read 5414 times)

A Tout Jamais

  • Member
  • Posts: 175
How We can help Each Other!
« on: March 18, 2015, 12:39:15 PM »
The word "Widow" - if nothing else - immediately conjures up an image of loneliness and sadness. Its linguistic origins and disambiguation are as follows:

Old English 'widewe', from an Indo-European root meaning "empty"; - Sanskrit 'vidh' "destitute" - Latin 'viduus' "bereft"

But, no matter how it is linguistically defined, LIVING IT is an entirely different matter, and this community can vouch for it! For us it is not an abstract word, but a harsh and painful reality.

During our darkest moments, widowhood becomes a desperate, lonely struggle for survival, we look for anything to prevent us from going under and drowning. Our emotions are raw and bloodied, and we feel a deep isolation and separation from the rest of the world. At times it can seem like a sentence of solitary confinement, held in a lonely prison cell of darkness and despair. And even as we become a little more stabilized, we still look for something or someone to hold onto - our emotional balance is still impaired, and our confidence somewhat diminished. It takes time to find restoration and varies depending on individual circumstances and other factors. Ultimately, it is a unique and lonely experience, and we have to find our own navigation tools.

In the early years I wrote the following poem:

'When Shadows Fall'

When shadows fall
And night descends upon our soul
Our heart is filled with pain

Alone in sorrow and despair
And having lost its way
It cries out loud and yearns for help

And reaches for a tender hand
To touch our wound and dry our tears
And gently draw us near

Close to another's heart
And hold us there
Until the pain subsides

To let us know we're not alone
In our troubled night
To hold us tight and stay with us

Until the early morning light ascends
And whispers to us fresh, new hope
And brings the promise of another day

When shadows fall
We need a friend
Who helps us find our way!


Our community serves this purpose, to help us find kindred spirits who are at our side when 'night descends upon our soul' and to help us get through 'our troubled night'.  Help can come in so many forms. It does not always have to be expressed in elaborate, eloquent words or grand gestures. Often simply just letting someone know that we are 'there', not saying much, perhaps silently walking at their side in solidarity and giving them the reassurance that they can virtually lean on us when they run out of strength. This can be done in public view on the forum, or quietly behind the scenes in a personal message.

Immediately after my husband had died, someone anonymously put a single rose outside my front door without knocking or saying a word. I shakingly picked it up and put it into a small vase, then lay on my bed, completely immobilized by fear, paralyzed by horror, in a transfixed state - just staring at this flower for endless hours. It was the only thing I could focus on at that moment when I thought I was going insane, that utter madness would be my future state of mind. -

After a long, horrendous struggle with cancer, followed by a stroke, my husband's fighting spirit broke, and he somehow managed to walk away from our home to end his life with a bullet to his heart, while I had quickly run to the grocery store - the ONLY time I ever left him alone. Upon my return, I was met by police to notify me of the event.  I was in a state of disbelief and shock and wanted to see him. But they had already taken him from the nearby site where it had occurred, to the city morgue for an autopsy, and I never saw him again. No "Goodbye", simply "Poof, gone!" - He vanished into thin air as if by a magic trick! Needless to say, it took me to the brink of insanity and turned my world upside down.

Other than the kind, anonymous giver of the rose, nobody wanted to come near me, including my/our friends - it was too "freaky" for them. And since I don't have children or any other family, I felt utterly and devastatingly alone. Then, through fortuitous chance, I found the former YWBB site, and it became my lifeline for several years.

To this day I still feel deep gratitude to those who virtually walked beside me - some in a very vocal and demonstrative manner, others lent quiet support. Sometimes I would only get a one-word message, simply saying (((HUGS))). But it let me know that there was SOMEONE out there in the ether who had heard my cry of desperation, who did not run away from me as I stood bloodied and torn, looking at the ash heap of my life. Even in the middle of MANY sleepless nights, often a single, kind word helped me get through the next tortured moment of despair ... the next hour.

In our deepest pain we most often become invisible to the world, 'persona non grata', and our language of grief is not recognized, as if we communicated in some esoteric foreign language. Thus, we come to feel truly alone and like an outcast in society. For this reason a community of others, who have experienced similar tragedy, can become our bedrock of support and understanding, and our only refuge.

Therefore, whatever we can give each other here, small or large, is of help! People often hesitate because they are too shy or don't quite know what to say. But, nobody should ever think "I don't have anything to say or offer" and let it prevent them from reaching out to others.

Mother Theresa said:

"Kind words can be short and easy to speak,
But their echoes are truly endless."

And someone else said:

"Do not let what you cannot do interfere with what you CAN do."
~~ John Wooden

"Be thou the rainbow in the storms of life;
The evening beam that smiles the clouds away,
And tints tomorrow with prophetic ray."

~~ Lord Byron

Let us become rainbows for each other.
Even just a small ray of light can make a difference!!

I bid you Peace!

ATJ :)
« Last Edit: May 20, 2016, 11:12:14 AM by A Tout Jamais »
"Tu n'es plus là où tu étais, mais tu es partout là où je suis."
~~ Victor Hugo

"Je me souviens de toi ... Je me souviens de nous  - Il était une fois -  Je me souviens de tout!"


  • Member
  • Posts: 524
  • Widowed 11/23/13 Joined YWBB 12/2/13
Re: How We can help Each Other!
« Reply #1 on: March 18, 2015, 12:58:44 PM »
tears are just flowing  :'(
This is beautiful.
I can't look at the stars they make me wonder where you are. 
Stars.... up on heaven's boulevard
And if I know you at all
I know you've gone too far
 So I .... I can't look at the stars --Grace Potter


  • Member
  • Posts: 1151
  • Widowed x 2.
Re: How We can help Each Other!
« Reply #2 on: March 18, 2015, 01:11:34 PM »
I just needed to is so wonderful that you are back, A Tout Jamais. 

Life is short.  Love with all you've got. 

Barry 11/29/55-9/22/09       John  1/16/57-1/11/14

Empathy  Developer  Responsibility  Adaptability Connectedness


  • Member
  • Posts: 1025
  • Widowed 2013
Re: How We can help Each Other!
« Reply #3 on: March 18, 2015, 01:18:35 PM »
ATJ, so eloquently stated. Thank you!
I don't want it to be his legacy that his death destroyed me.
I need to honour his life by rebuilding my life.


  • Member
  • Posts: 28
Re: How We can help Each Other!
« Reply #4 on: March 18, 2015, 04:33:24 PM »
Thank you so much for your words.  I really needed those today.  Truly.


  • Member
  • Posts: 438
Re: How We can help Each Other!
« Reply #5 on: March 18, 2015, 05:26:52 PM »
Wonderful, thanks ATJ.


  • Member
  • Posts: 671
Re: How We can help Each Other!
« Reply #6 on: March 18, 2015, 07:10:09 PM »
This was so beautifully worded, and much of what you said truly resonated with me.  Thank you for sharing this.
"The highest tribute to the dead is not grief but gratitude." - Thornton Wilder

Thank you, my dearest Kenneth, for loving me and for giving me the best 13 years of my life.


  • Global Moderator
  • Member
  • Posts: 267
  • Widowed: August 2009 Remarried: June 2013
Re: How We can help Each Other!
« Reply #7 on: March 18, 2015, 08:41:52 PM »

When I first joined YWBB, I was one of those you refer to who was hesitant to post. Fortunately, I quickly overcame this and benefitted greatly as a result. Had I not been an active part of this community, I don't know how I would have survived.

Thank you for so beautifully reminding us of what our role should be here with regard to one another.

--- WifeLess


  • Guest
Re: How We can help Each Other!
« Reply #8 on: March 18, 2015, 09:38:17 PM »
I am so delighted to see you (and many others) back ATJ!  Thank you for your posts. 

I could write a book on this particular topic - but I won't.  I really like everything you had to say.  I can broadly summarize my own thoughts on this issue with three thoughts.

First, I think it is important that we decide who it is we are trying to help.  It has always been my understanding that we were trying to help all "widda's" who had the ability to read and write in English, the good fortune to have some type of access to this website, and the desire to be a part of the community.  Others may have varying opinions.  I think that is fine, but I do feel that there needs to be a group consensus and that people should be expected and encouraged to use this resource in a manner consistent with the goals of the group.

Second, I think that the best way to help the members of our community (regardless of who those people are) is to encourage everyone so inclined to speak their own truth.  We can not truly help anyone who feels they are unable to do so.  Each individual is unique and no two situations are the same.  What works best for the majority should be emphasized, but not to the exclusion of other points of view.  Only by hearing a story and truly trying to understand the other person can we really try to help that particular individual.  Of course, we can't always do that.  Like you said, sometimes just acknowledgment and an offer to stand by their side come what may is the best we can offer.

Finally, I think it is important to realize that many of our members and others who read regularly but never register will never post (or post much).  For whatever reason, they will never share their truth.  This is where I think it is so important to encourage active participation from those who do take the leap and post.  I think people should be encouraged to share what they have experienced personally and what they have observed in the world in a manner that acknowledges that no one knows everything - we all just know what we know.  Different people have different needs and thus need to hear different stories.  Of course, factually incorrect information is typically not actually helpful to anyone when presented as truth.

Anyway - I said I would not write a book.  Sorry to go on so long.  Just my thoughts on the issue.  I am so glad to see you back, your contributions to the ywbb helped me and many others immensely.


« Last Edit: March 18, 2015, 09:54:46 PM by AC »


  • Blessed By Great Love Twice
  • Global Moderator
  • Member
  • Posts: 183
Re: How We can help Each Other!
« Reply #9 on: March 18, 2015, 11:52:56 PM »
A Tout Jamais,

Thank you for this wonderful post. It is beautifully written and captures my hopes about what we can do for each other here.

Take care, Bluebird

My First Love, Peace Be Thine


  • Global Moderator
  • Member
  • Posts: 1077
  • Jim: 7 April 1974-10 April 2014
Re: How We can help Each Other!
« Reply #10 on: March 19, 2015, 02:01:28 PM »
Ever since I started to come out of the deepest part of hell, I've hung onto one thing: the need to pay forward the amazing support I've gotten from this incredible community. You captured it perfectly. Thank you. (((HUGS)))
I have love in me the likes of which you can scarcely imagine and rage the likes of which you would not believe. If I cannot satisfy the one, I will indulge the other. ~Mary Shelley, Frankenstein

"Dying is easy. Living is hard. ~George Washington, Hamilton


  • Member
  • Posts: 33
Re: How We can help Each Other!
« Reply #11 on: March 19, 2015, 08:02:45 PM »
ATJ This is so beautifully written. I was crying when I read it and immediately knew that this was a person that helped me through the early years. I missed those beautiful written words, quotes for my mirror and the pictures.   I am glad to see friends here.  I really missed you all. ((((Hugs)))) and Many Many Thanks  :)

A Tout Jamais

  • Member
  • Posts: 175
Re: How We can help Each Other!
« Reply #12 on: March 21, 2015, 12:13:49 AM »
TO:  @Carey @Wheelerswife @BrokenHeart2 @messageinabottle @Icoxwell @canadiangirl @Wifeless @AC @Bluebird @Just Jen @Grammy

I wish to express my gratitude for your warm and gracious responses. Indeed, we all can help each other! Unknowingly, YOU, through your kind replies, have helped ME and lifted my spirit, which had been under attack for some time. And through the recent board upheaval I have also witnessed so many helping hands extended to make this new 'Home' possible, as well as many hands reaching out to others in need.

Help does not have to come in a fancy gift-wrapped package; sincere support can come in a wrinkled, brown bag. Sometimes just VERY FEW words can help someone else to hold on.

I remember from my earliest days, when during one of my many sleepless nights I totally 'freaked out' and had a panic attack of epic proportions. I felt like 'pulling the plug'. In my despair I wrote a private message to a trusted fellow member. The response was not fancy or long, but just A FEW words. They said: "Steady now!" - "I'm here." Shaking and trembling, I kept staring at those words, and gradually calmed down while tears were flowing. Those simple words had a hypnotic effect on me and got me through the night.

"Dare to reach out your hand into the darkness,
to pull another hand into the light."

~~ Norman B. Rice

"How far that little candle throws its beam!
So shines a good deed in a weary world."

~~ William Shakespeare

During the last several days I have seen MANY 'candle lighters' here, many who have helped to shine light on another's path. So much kindness and caring has risen to the surface. Never doubt that YOU can make a difference, even if to just ONE single person!

With deep appreciation,

ATJ :)
« Last Edit: May 17, 2016, 10:28:19 AM by A Tout Jamais »
"Tu n'es plus là où tu étais, mais tu es partout là où je suis."
~~ Victor Hugo

"Je me souviens de toi ... Je me souviens de nous  - Il était une fois -  Je me souviens de tout!"


  • Blessed By Great Love Twice
  • Global Moderator
  • Member
  • Posts: 183
Re: How We can help Each Other!
« Reply #13 on: March 21, 2015, 11:00:31 AM »

I'm so glad you wrote that private message and you were steadied by those sound words! Keep shining your light ATJ!

Take care, Bluebird
My First Love, Peace Be Thine


  • Member
  • Posts: 2
Re: How We can help Each Other!
« Reply #14 on: March 21, 2015, 01:38:47 PM »
It is so odd coming back here. A place I don't live any more, but will ever call home. I was hispie back then.

It was lovely to see your post. It was unmistakably you, but with a lightness that speaks to your courage and grace through these years. I was always grateful to you for speaking the words I was afraid to. You're still doing it. I'm still grateful. xo
Time goes by everything else keeps changing
You and I we get continued next week
Old Friends, Stephen Sondheim