Welcome

WRITING is a solitary occupation and one of its hazards is loneliness.  But the advantage to loneliness is privacy, autonomy, and freedom.

WIDOWHOOD is also a solitary occupation, but most of us don’t welcome the autonomy and freedom that comes with it. We’re in a club that no one joins willingly, but instead are initiated into after a husband or wife dies—after our best friend and lover passes.  We turn to each other for understanding, companionship, and hope.

My writings don’t omit much of the personal, so I ask readers to accept the uncensored thoughts and conclusions of one widow as she begins her journey of change.

graveyard

Writing about loss digs deep into uncharted territory. It takes risks, and in exchange brings about a greater range and depth to our artistic expression. A deep immersion into our reading and writing has a quiet, calming, and healthful effect—our heart rate slows, our immune system strengthens, and we feel a general sense of being. By confronting our most difficult memories and translating them into a cohesive form of narrative—we begin to accept and heal.

I invite all widows, widowers, and their loved ones to follow my journey and write alongside with me. Please take the time to start at the beginning and read about one widow’s journey through widowhood. I hope you find solace and inspiration.

REMEMBER, one must tell the story slowly and carefully; how their loved one fell ill, the depths of their suffering, what was said before they died, and how they died. One must describe the journey to the hospital, gathering of their personal belongings, every detail of the funeral, and the aftermath. The specifics must be told. And then—that gasp—that sigh—from the listener.

Perhaps what grief requires, as much as anything, is that the process not be interrupted—that it find a time and a place in which to unfold and without (too much) interruption.

24 Responses to Welcome

  1. Sylvia says:

    Hi Terry,
    This story is about me and so many others….you have captured this chapter our lives to the letter T. After reading it, I don’t feel so alone in my thoughts and fears, so many of us are going through this painful but growing experience. Thank you for putting our journey into words, it helps to see it in black and white when there is so much gray.

    Sylvia

    • amy says:

      I am going out on a limb here and I am not a widow, but my husband whom I recently married was diagnosed post honeymoon with stage IV ec. I am devastated. He also is new into chemo and it is greatly affecting him. Does anyone have any input for me?

      thank you

  2. Carol Ayraud says:

    Terry, I’ve started reading your blog and am very touched. It brings it all home which is good and bad at the same time. It’s good because I have to get through this thing called grief also and because your words expand my grief somehow into your world. Bad because I don’t want to be a widow. Even though we had been fighting cancer for over a year. I always expected it to be a fight we would win. I was unable to think otherwise. Even when I knew at the end that I would loose my beloved, I didn’t ever think it would be today, but always another day.

    • Ellie Carr Reiss says:

      I just happened to find this site and after reading Carol Ayraud’s response, I felt she told my story. My husband and I fought cancer for 5 months. I was always optimistic not only for myself, but for him. In the end, I didn’t expect to be a widow so soon, but, much too soon, I lost my husband and best friend. I am trying to survive, but it is not easy.

      • Valerie says:

        I just read your words about losing your husband and trying to survive I lost my soul mate three and half years and I still have a hole in my heart we have to go on as best we can

  3. Christa Hayes says:

    I read your Widow’s Corner in the lovinlife paper. I am so sorry to read about your loss. I have had other losses than a husband, but they are all traumatic. You are so right that writing down feelings are so important it seems to validate them. Whenever I can’t seem to get through or communicate I write and it helps. Christa

  4. Mary Beardsley says:

    Terry – I have been slowly digesting your writings over the past months. I admire your strength — your courage as you have shared your grief journey. You have a gift and I thank you so much for sharing your heartfelt thoughts in such a meaningful, tender way.
    In 1997, I lost my 2nd husband and soulmate to cancer. I truly believe that he sent someone to watch over me and I was blessed to remarry and have yet another soulmate. However, he passed away in April of 09. It was sudden and oh, so very unexpected – the picture of health gone in a nanosecond. It still seems so new sometimes. To become widowed twice is a special kind of horror.
    I wish I had your gifts of writing, but have never been the journaling type. If I had your talent, I would have pages of thoughts to share. Your writings have given me strength when I thought I had none and I truly thank you.

  5. COLIN JAMES says:

    Dear Terry.
    Just got off work and decided to go for Chinese – pepper beef with white rice and heapings of chilli sauce! I picked up a newspaper – something to read while I waited for the chef to create my masterpiece, and that’s where I discovered you.
    It was the ‘lovinlifeafter50’ and after perusing an article on visiting China, I turned the page and read your piece on MEMORY POOLS.
    Really enjoyed it and read the article several times. I enjoy the idea of the indellibility of memory wether we are conscious of it or not, it is all pervasive. We are after all the product of our summed experience and the experience of those whom we interact with.
    I haven’t read your blog yet but intend to. Its always good when you can feel the writer on the other side of the page.
    Kind Regards,
    Colin James
    http://www.writercrjames.wordpress.com (I-10 BLOG)

  6. Tracy says:

    Hi My Friend I was aware that you had this blog but NEVER had the courage to read it! I did for some reason read a little today. You are a excellent writer! I am so sorry for your loss and maybe I will have the courage to read more at a later time. I am not a widow but as you know I have lost both my parents. Loss is very painful my way to deal with things is to never talk about it or think about it too much. Maybe your way of dealing with grief is the healthy way and I hope that I will have the courage to face my grief and read more of your inspirational work!

  7. Joanne Dean says:

    Hi Terry,
    I have not met you yet,but someday maybe I will—
    My dad passed away Nov 2004. It was an experience that has been the most painful in my life. I won’t go through all the details. It was like the domino theory. My dad was a strong man and in a matter of 3 months nothing worked anymore and it was time to take him off life support and let him go-My brother and I always felt he would come home one day but this never happened.
    I had a hard covered blank book that I had written poems (for my husband) and wrote down memories of a special vacation we took together-I turned a page and started to write my everyday visits with my dad till the end-I felt he could hear me when I was writing-This was more tragic then loosing my mother in July of 2012. I was by her side also till the day she died. I guess I did not need a journal with my mom because we were able to talk about things for 8 months till she passed away. The point is ,the writing of my feelings and thoughts while my dad was so sick was healing to me-
    Sincerely,Joanne

  8. Cynthia says:

    I am just beginning this journey and appreciate the opportunity to read your story. It gives me hope and courage.
    Cib

  9. Valerie says:

    Dear Terry it would be so nice if widows and widowers could meet somewhere talk and just a get together in a place of your choosing would love to do that is it possible. Thank you valerie

    • Jackie Brenne says:

      You could start a widows group in your area. Or maybe there is one already. I went to one foe awhile and it does help to share experiences and feelings. Good luck! J.B.

  10. Valerie says:

    Just wondering if you had thought about meeting up with people like us valerie

  11. J. B. says:

    Hi Terry,

    I just finished reading much of your blog. What a beautiful heart wrenching journey you have experienced. 

    I have been a widow for over 8 years and since my husband died of a massive brain aneurysm I have experienced the sudden death of my sister,   my father in law, my Dad, and the three year heroin addiction of my sweet intelligent son. (He is clean 10 months now). I had to sell my home after my husband died and now live in an apartment that I do not love.  I helped , and sadly enabled my son which financially screwed me. I also shopped for awhile to fill an emotional need—as if new clothes and art work would “fix” my heart.

    Seeing my son’s life change positively though difficult at times,and being a Nana to my beautiful daughter’s children brings me great joy. People don’t understand why I am not remarried. I don’t even know. I am 58, look much younger, have many interests, I am a Rec Therapist in senior housing and love my job. I have a pretty good sense of humor, love music, art and dancing but just can’t connect or feel emotionally attached to any of the wonderful guys I have dated. Maybe I’m afraid of more loss. I don’t know.

    Life is not easy for me and though I had always written in a diary regularly. I  now find writing difficult. I’ve had many losses and try to throw myself into my work and volunteering, and taking care of my 88 year old mother to keep busy. I have pushed away a few sweet kind men and had a few mindless affairs as well. Being alone suits me but also frightens me. 

    Thank you for sharing your journey. I identify with many of your feelings and look forward to more postings. You should write a book!

    Sincerely,

    J.B. 

  12. Nancy says:

    My husband was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer a month after I turned 50 yrs of age. He had symptoms and it was stage 1. After a whipple – 12hr surgery he was told that all 121 slides were benign, and he should go live his life. we thought we were spared !
    A year later started having pain again. This time it was notoperable and he died a year later after the fight of his life. He was my everything and still is. I can not imagine that he is not going to walk through the door . It has now been 2.5 years since his death and I can not imagine being without him the rest of my life ! It is overwhelming.
    I wish there was a group of women I could meet with that would just love to talk about the loves of their lives and be proud of what they had.
    Most people after death are scared to talk about the person that has died. I want to share how great we were together ! I do not want to feel like I shouldnot talk about things. IT is so hard.
    The only thing that gets me up every morning is my belief that heis here with me in another form.
    without that I would not have the strength.

    I went froma life of sponteaity and fun- we fished and sailed (hada pwer boat and sailboat)
    to doing nothing ! The silence is deafening.

  13. Jessie says:

    Hello my name is Jessie, my husband Jeff was diagnosed with stage III EC on 4/27 of this year. this coming Monday and Tuesday are the last 2 days of chemo and radiation, up until today I was excited for him to be done with treatment as its taken a toll on his body and mind as he is very depressed and petrified of the upcoming surgery which includes removal of the right lower lung (*small tumor there too) and an Esophagectomy.

    Our surgeon indicated that surgery was his best chance at survival and that he could be “cancer free” by fall, after the long description of complications during and after surgery, loos of weight, less than normal exsistance that awaits him I feel scared too as he is already withering away, he is so utterly depressed that my normal rants to kick his butt and not let Cancer beat him down are starting to run on deaf ears…..Even if he has the surgery there is no guarantee of survival. in fact, the percentages of survival are the same weather he has the surgery or not. If he does have surgery, looks like the complications and aftermath could kill him as well. We are scared and don’t have anyone to talk too:( Does anyone have any additional information to support having the surgery and or not having it? Help

  14. lucy says:

    I have been on this journey for a year and half .it feels like I am stuck in a time warp. I can not seem toto want to enjoy anything.
    Will it ever feel different?

  15. mrsbekks says:

    Truly we only get into this club when we loose our spouse

  16. Sandra Hatch says:

    Hello,

    We had been on the EC journey until 3 years from diagnosis, after surgery and several chemo rounds, my husband lost the fight in June 2016.
    I am interested in any EC group in Denver area that I might join or attend when in the city ( I live in small Mtn town now about 2 hrs away).
    It is a solitary trip, this widowhood, and losing one’s best friend is not easy. I am determined to journey on though, as he was my biggest cheerleader to live life to its fullest even after his departure.

  17. Barbara Foster says:

    Hello to all: I am a widow to EC of 2 weeks. I’ts still very unreal….I can’t believe he is gone from me. Nothing seem natural…. I was well aware that Stage IV at diagnosis Dec. 21, 2015 was devasting….but he did so well in first chemo round…..carbo/taxol. The radiation concurrently really kicked him. But things got better and he could eat again. Then PET showed mets to adrenal gland….radiation did not cure that and it spread to other adrenal gland…then looked like it was moving down to peritoneal area. Sad irony that he could eat just fine but then he couldn’t eliminate it….bowel obstructions with constant pain. He went into the hospital for just a palliative procedure on Oct. 8, a transverse colon diversion ostomy to bypass the obstruction in the sigmoid. He was fine the first night, in pain and not really conversant the next day, and by the 3rd day he wasn’t rallying at all. I got there on Monday morning and he was not speaking…..had some green fluids leaking from his mouth and nose. They cleaned him up. Understand hewas a DNR status. Around 11:30am I saw that he was regurgitating fluids and had a congested rattle. The nurses tried to make him cough….and he could a little but the congestion was worse. He was very agitated. He was reaching out to me……his Oxygen SAT was plummeting and his heart rate was going way up. 6 nurses came in and put oxygen mask on him…..he wouldn’t keep it on…..every time they put it on, he pulled it off. They sat him up…..I could see the life drain out of his body as everything went slack. I sincerely hope that the green fluid purge was post mortem. Mouth and nose gushing. Nurse pronounced time of death at 12;25.

    I didn’t know what was happening……I didn’t think he was going to die that admission. I’m still so troubled by it……..he should have had more time…..but would it have been quality time or more pain.

    We buried him……I lost my best friend, the love of my life.

    • Valerie Webb says:

      How do you manage that awful feeling inside of you when you see a man and women out holding hands and you are alone knowing your beloved husband has gone even after five years Where can you go to meet other widows ? I live in Scottsdale .

      Sent from my iPad

      >

  18. Laurel says:

    My husband of 25 years died suddenly 10 days ago. It was completely unexpected and I was not with him when it happened. In this passing week I have learned that all of our income ceases upon his death; his life insurance fell 7 days short of the 2 year mark and as such will be closely reviewed and in all likely hood be rescinded, of course the premiums will be refunded; our sons have agreed to clear time in their busy lives to come into town for a day for his life celebration. I am raw and numb and if one more person tells me I have the strength to survive this I, a life long pacifist, might just have to start punching noses. And can someone tell me when people stopped bringing bereavement food? Would kill for a meat platter, Mac and cheese, a bit of salad and lasagna – is this only reserved for church goers? If you are going to tell me that my husband is in God’s loving hands or was called home for heavenly reasons, you should have a casserole in hand! And why exactly do people who hear your husband has died feel compelled to tell you they too have experienced a death recently, generally of a pet or of a much removed relative?

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