Time Frame > Beyond the First Year (1+ years)



My husband died in 2006 but tonight, I’m looking back at things I wrote years ago.  Here is a post from 2008.

A few months ago, I was talking with some friends. We are sort of an informal support group. One of the people asked, “If you had one word to describe yourself, what would it be?” The first word that popped into my head was “broken”. I tried to explain that pieces of me are missing. I mentioned that some people seem to want to “fix” me. I know they care about me and want me to be happy, but death isn’t something that can be “fixed”. I will have joy in my life, and happiness and contentment, but I will always be broken.

My friend sent me this poem today that she wrote.


This is not a cheap toy, this is not a fancy dish.
Put away your glue
This is her, and she is broken.

Friends can’t fix her.
Family cannot unbreak her.
This is not a seam to mend, this is not a crack to fill.
She is broken

Love her, comfort her, hug her.
Listen to her, talk to her.
Try to understand her.
But don’t try to fix her.
She is broken

Love her, accept her, encourage her.
Walk with her, not over her.
Think of her, but give her space.
Pray for her, but let her heal.
In her time, in her way.

He is gone and she is broken.

I was so touched by this. One of the many losses that death has brought is the loss of being understood. You know how it is between a husband and a wife. Sometimes you try to put something into words, but the words don't quite convey what you mean. But often your spouse understands what you are really trying to say. He knows you. He can read between the lines. Sometimes you don't even have to say anything, because you have the same reference points, the same shared history.

This poem made me feel seen, understood, and accepted.

I was reminded about a book called "Grief Observed" by C.S.Lewis. He wrote it after his wife died and he compares being a widow/widower to having your leg amputated. I got the book out and looked up the part I was thinking about.


To say the patient is getting over it after an operation for appendicitis is one thing; after he’s had his leg off is quite another. After that operation either the wounded stump heals or the man dies. If it heals, the fierce, continuous pain will stop. Presently he’ll get back his strength and be able to stump about on his wooden leg. He has "got over it".

But he will probably have recurrent pains in the stump all his life, and always perhaps pretty bad one’s and he will always be a one legged man. There will hardly be any moment when he forgets it. Bathing, dressing, sitting down and getting up again, even lying in bed, will all be different.

His whole life will be changed.

All sorts of pleasures and activities that he once took for granted will have to be simply written off.

At present (in my grief) I am learning to get about on crutches. Perhaps I shall presently be given a wooden leg.

But I shall never be a biped again.

-"A Grief Observed" by C.S. Lewis

I'm further along in my grief than C.S.Lewis was when he wrote about his amputated leg. He still had crutches, but I have the wooden leg now although I'll never be able to walk the way I used to. My husband is gone and I am broken.

This question is sometimes asked here: "Can you think of anything good that has come from your spouses death?" It's a hard question to answer because we would be willing to trade all the good for the life we had before. But there is good in being broken. It slows you down walking with that wooden leg and you see things and find things you never knew were there. You learn new ways to do things. You appreciate your good leg more than you ever did before. And you learn that being broken is not the same as being destroyed.

Thank you Euf for posting your friends poem. For me, broken is a prefect way to describe it even now at 4.5 yrs. I wish I could have sent this post to family and friends earlier out.  If I did now they would jump all over me because I have so many DGIs in my life.
This poem made me feel the same as you. I too got a lot out of CS Lewis' book as well. Great post Euf!

Great post and poem! This widowhood freaking sucks. While watching the sunset today, I wanted to break down so bad and just cry because my Wife is not here to see the beautiful sunset. I hate this.

Happy holidays everyone.


--- Quote from: Euf on November 19, 2017, 05:56:44 PM ---And you learn that being broken is not the same as being destroyed.

--- End quote ---

I like the tagline someone has here from Pink

"It's in the stars, it's been written in the scars on our hearts
We're not broken just bent, and we can learn to love again"


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