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ATJ

What the Widow Road has taught me ...

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This road has taught me a multitude of lessons:

 

First, I have learned that it is a very long and winding unpaved trail  -  uphill and downhill, so it goes.  It reminds me of the old British song: "It's a Long, Long Way to Tipperary" - and yes, my aching feet can vouch for it! I am a "veteran widow" (a very dubious honor, indeed!) ;) and long-time member of the former YWBB. I always used to be a fast learner in life and had similar expectations for this new challenge, called "widowhood". But instead I was taught a great lesson in humility.

 

Grief, an insidious, powerful and determined foe, invariably finds means to set booby traps along our way, even after we have become more sure-footed and begin to believe that we may have 'got it' - briefly relishing in a new found sense of confidence. After all, we have progressed from the early stages of merely crawling to trudging along, even as it often seemed at glacial pace. And over time many have made even more progress. In equestrian terms, we now may have resumed a steady trot, evolving periodically into a light canter, and at times even charging ahead at a full gallop. Could we finally be on our way, untethered and free from the heavy ballast of grief??  Speaking for myself, the best *I* have been able to achieve is a certain "Accord of Détente", a temporary ceasefire until unexpectedly fire opens again. A permanent peace agreement has been elusive and so far unobtainable. Grief has been a tough and intransigent negotiator and constantly changes the terms and conditions.

 

This widow road teaches, if nothing else, perspective and humility. We learn that we can't take anything for granted, that life inexorably presents us with new hurdles to conquer, that all is in constant flux and needs perpetual readjustment, fine-tuning, and sometimes even stepping back and retracing old ground - the latter being the most troublesome aspect. One could argue that this is essentially life's general nature, but widowhood definitely throws us some "extra crunchy" surprises, just for the heck of it, and tauntingly says: "Let's see how you chew on this one!"

 

"Life is a gamble at terrible odds,



if it was a bet you wouldn't take it."

 

-- Tom Stoppard

 

This assertion made me laugh, and I said out loud: "Right you are!" - "But add widowhood on top of it, and then give me a quip!" ;)

 

Another thinker opined:



 

"In life, unlike chess,



the game continues after checkmate."

 

~~ Isaac Asimov

 

That is true for certain. Even after we have come to ignominious defeat, the game goes on, and we have to figure out how to play it.

 

I have learned that life throughout widowhood is a perpetual apprenticeship, from which one never quite graduates with a final diploma or receives the "winner's trophy" - and this insight can often be wearisome!  Perhaps my personal lens is clouded through my own experience, and conceivably there are others who have made it with flying colors through the finish line. To those lucky winners I admiringly say: "Congratulations!!" - 

 

Over the years I have given it my ultimate effort, but I am still in class, still learning some difficult lessons. Someone said that: "Life is a harsh teacher who gives the test first and then teaches the lesson." So it seems! I can certainly say that it has been true of MY walk on this 'rocky road'. -  Oh, WHY couldn't it be like the "Rocky Road Ice Cream Version"? - Yeah, dream on, Cinderella! ;D - And IF ONLY there were a "Widowhood for Dummies" manual that could show us how to do 'It' and avoid all the pitfalls along the way. Ahh Yes, - but that would be in the wonderful world of Utopia. Time to get back to reality and deal with it!

 

For numerous reasons I had taken a long hiatus from the YWBB, mostly because I missed my contemporaries, and it also felt that I had not much of value to offer to those coming after me anymore. I am a "SLOW Learner".  But when my former citadel of hope and support abruptly shut down recently, I experienced a big jolt, despite not having been an active participant for a long time. My entire widowed history suddenly fell into a bottomless, irretrievable abyss. One could perhaps consider this a positive intervention, helpful in 'letting go', because it documented the aggregate of raw emotions and agony of yore. But it also bore witness to the bond forged between fellow travelers and their mutual quest for survival and recovery. In other words, it was the documented link to what brought us to the present moment - "From whence we came" - a treasured diary, as well as a yardstick.

 

I played a quite lengthy mental ping pong game as to whether to join this nascent community under its new auspices. And then I suddenly saw many familiar 'veteran names' pop up, people who seemed to have disappeared into the ether.  It gave me the final impetus for my decision and was the irresistible "Siren call".  It is reassuring to hear from contemporaries and their respective experiences, and through it regaining a bit of the former comfort emanating from the 'virtual safety cocoon'.

 

By the way, for those who were present during my time frame, my previous name was 'SemperFidelis', a former cancer caregiver and 'SOS' - not a good combination!!  I wanted a fresh start, just like I have been seeking to achieve in my real life. Hence, my new screen name - À Tout Jamais (forevermore).

 

I suppose many of us have never quite cut the virtual umbilical cord. We seem to like its elasticity, something that stretches as we go forward, but holds a certain sense of belonging.

 

@Nuggets said it best in her reply to the @fleur post, titled "Should I go gentle?"

 

QUOTE:

"I'm staying until John isn't dead anymore ---

"I think all of us have done some reflection on what 'this' all means in the past couple weeks -- it will be a catalyst for some, a bit of a bump on the track for others."

 

The first part made me chuckle out loud! Thank you for that Nuggets! You have the spunk that we all need in this widow endeavor, and above all, you have not lost your sense of humor! Wouldn't it be the ultimate triumph, if we did not grant Death the last laugh?! Well, at least we can aspire to working toward it.

 

 

6.jpg

 

 

"May you become like the Lotus,



growing out of the muddy waters of life,

to rise above and blossom."

 

~~ Unknown Author

 

 

ATJ - working on the above! 

:)

 

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Guest marian1953

So nice to see you- I was so pleased to see you return the other day. D., you don't know how much your eloquent, thought-provoking posts have meant to me. I had many printed and posted on my fridge. i have thought of you and am glad you are back. You have so much to offer us.

Marian

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I also am glad to see you again.  I have missed your insightful posts and often thought of you and hoped you were doing well.

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Hi!  Good to see you!

 

For me, this road has taught me to take more chances... That there will always be another brick wall to smack into somewhere in the future, so when awesome new chances come my way, I think, "Well, why the heck not?" and jump in with both feet.  I try to focus on the positive, enjoy the moment, and I really, really keep myself away from negative people.  If someone gives me bad vibes, I really can't afford to give them my time.  We all have seen enough bad in this life... I want positive people around me. 

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ATJ,

 

When I read your introductory post yesterday, though the username was different, I nevertheless knew that SF had returned. No other writes as you do.

 

It is so good to see you here. Far too many years have passed since you shared your thoughtful, eloquent and beautiful posts with us. As I mentioned long ago on YWBB, your contributions there were greatly responsible for my joining that site, which ultimately led to tremendous healing, a multitude of wonderful wid friends, a rediscovery of true love, and a return of incredible happiness. For these, I will always be grateful to both YWBB and you.

 

Welcome back.

 

--- WifeLess

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I am another one glad to see you back.  You are one of the veterans I looked to for wisdom in my early days at YWBB.  You and your contemporaries had so much to offer this board and I am so glad to see others who have been quiet for awhile back here with sound support for those on the trail a shorter period of time.

 

Thank you...for being here.

 

Maureen

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I am another one glad to see you back.  You are one of the veterans I looked to for wisdom in my early days at YWBB.  You and your contemporaries had so much to offer this board and I am so glad to see others who have been quiet for awhile back here with sound support for those on the trail a shorter period of time.

 

So much agreement! There are names that pop up...SemperFidelis/A Tout Jamais  being one!...that bring a feeling of immediate comfort. Back in my earliest days when I felt broken nearly beyond repair, reading your beautiful words and the words of other vets helped me get my feet back under me. It's interesting to now be a vet myself and I still get that feeling of comfort.  :) You each matter more than I can express.

 

As always, your words are exquisite and thank you for sharing them. I nodded my head often through the read, and with additional vigor at, "I suppose many of us have never quite cut the virtual umbilical cord. We seem to like its elasticity, something that stretches as we go forward, but holds a certain sense of ?belonging?." I'm not sure I'll ever not need that cord, even if I wander.

 

Welcome back!

 

K

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Another who is glad to see you here! And I, too, have more than one quote of yours printed out and tacked up, right next to me, on my office wall.

 

Thank you for all that you've shared.

 

Kate

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What a beautiful post.  I'm 15 months out and still clueless so thank you for giving me the opportunity to know you and benefit from what you share.

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Add me to this growing list of those that are happy to see you here again. Your thoughtful and supportive posts were always a welcome sight to me. Glad you made it here to this new board.

 

Ginger

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Dear D:

Like a few others, I thought this was you while reading your post and so glad it was.  Your kindness and thoughtfulness helped me a great deal during a particularly rough time early on.  I hope life is treating you gently these days?

 

xoxo

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When I saw numerous familiar names responding to me, even under my new username, it felt like a warm "welcome back hug". There are some who came before me, some who were contemporaries, some who came after me and became short-term travel companions, and even some newcomers who extended a hand of welcome to a complete stranger.  Your individual words of kindness and generous spirit touched my heart. It feels good not to be forgotten and nice to be able to "come home"!

 

"The ache for home lives in all of us,



The safe place where we can go as we are and not be questioned."

 

~~ Maya Angelou

 

 

@marian1953, @anniegirl, @Euf, @mokie, @WifeLess, @Wheelerswife,



@canadiangirl, @kmouse, @kpgct, @Carey, @Ginger, @marjoe, and @calimom -

 

To all of you, Thank You for reaching out and welcoming me into your circle. Your warm and generous words have been a treasured gift.

I am sending each of you Light and Blessings!



 

 

CO_Plants_Semidesert_spring_flowers.jpg

 

 

"How beautiful a day can be when kindness touches it!"



 

~~ George Elliston

 

With appreciation,



 

ATJ  :)

 

 

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Guest marian1953

thank you! You have me beaming and not many can  :) I am heading out to the dentist lifted up by this message.

Marian

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Guest Munsen

Can I say that one of the GOOD things that has come from the YWBB shutting down is this resurgence of 'senior' posting?!

 

I'm so pleased to be seeing so many familiar names and 'voices' posting again. These are  the names that mentored me in my early days. These are the thoughts that gave me hope for the future and confidence that I too could survive the blow dealt to me.

 

Thank you from the bottom of my heart. May you continue to be part of this new place.

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Guest marian1953

You know, Munsen, you are so right. I had really thought there was something wrong with me (beside the obvious, heh-heh) because I kept coming back, reading, sometimes posting?I thought i just must be a loser who was never going to cut the cord. Then the shit hit the fan with ywbb. Guess what, people returned and said they had been reading still for years.  Once again I have the "vim and vigor" -well, not so much the vigor with health issues these days-but that same hope and confidence that Munsen describes to face the days. I have really been struggling with my relationship- his kids, his ex, blah blah. This place is my safe place. This place gives me back myself.

 

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Can I say that one of the GOOD things that has come from the YWBB shutting down is this resurgence of 'senior' posting?!.....Thank you from the bottom of my heart. May you continue to be part of this new place.

This is exactly how I feel! I joined YWBB a little over 2 years ago and many of these "senior" posters were still posting then...your words were an enormous comfort. I am in a rough part of this journey right now, and i am so very grateful for the timing of this resurgence. Once again, I am finding comfort in your wisdom, honesty, and thoughtfully expressed insights. Thank you to all of you.

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Guest fleur

A Tout Jamais,

 

Your pictures, quotes and words have all been missed.

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I LOVE the pictures.  I love your presence here and the presence of the others who are further along than I.  I love that this place exists.  Im saying this because that's about ALL I love today, but because you are all here and this place is here, I Have that.  I still feel like collapsing.  But it doesn't feel like there's nothing under me. If that makes any sense?

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