So we meet. She overhears me discussing my travel plans with my neighbor Teri. She is excited and says "Oh...so you travel? Are you going by yourself?". Anyway, one thing led to the other, she finds out I've written a book about my widowhood journey, and she says with tears in her eyes, "Oh my god! I have only been a widow for less than a year!" My widow-empathy red alarm went off. One thing led to another and pretty soon, we have become friends. We have had lunch together twice. She is on her journey...and she is controlling her journey (much like I did in the beginning), finding peace with what is. She has many questions. She has doubt in herself. She's still finding her way around her loneliness. We have much in common, a long marriage, a quick illness, and a desire to travel.
I invited her to The Writers Journey group that a dear friend Joan Silva, (owner of Your Money Dream) and I have created together. Joan lives in my neighboring city, and we meet often to talk about our writing. With a couple of other new recruits, we have been meeting for a couple of weeks. We hope to bring forward others, who are just as excited about putting words on paper--a metaphor in these days, because you can Facebook your notes, blog them, and place them anywhere in the digital world. It's sweet. It fits nicely with my new journey, There is no pressure to meet any deadlines. I love this.
So my new widow friend called me last night. She's very excited about meeting me (and I have said the same)...but she hasn't stepped to the boundaries yet that I met during my journey. It can be a very slow journey. I reminded her that I have been on this journey almost 6 years now. There is no time scale in order to deal with your widowhood. You are either prepared for it, or it happens in a flick of the finger. She apologized for wanting more information about doing things that will get out of her comfort zone and then not wanting to participate, quite yet.
Her money situation is still in limbo...not quite aged 60 to get her widow's benefits, not quite old enough to pull her 401(k). I totally understand this type of reluctance. You say to yourself..."Oh, I can't do this, I can't do that, I can't go here, I can't go there. I wish I could, but I'm ready to move forward, and I just can't yet." I 've been there, and you are not alone. Sometimes you feel stuck in a monetary situation that won't allow you to move forward. I highly recommend that you see my friend Joan for this. I met Joan years after I finally waded through the financial discourse of widowhood. For those who aren't ready, now is the time to start planning and be true to yourself.
Get your financial ducks in a row, but authentic to YOURSELF, no one else. It's like the airplane emergency drill, if the altitude drops fast and the air masks drop, make sure you cover your face first so you can help those around you. Learn to understand the real reasons we feel that we are monetarily stuck. Is it a personal or family emotional issue? Is it necessary to hang on to that "for the sake of the children". How far down this path do you want to wallow in misery. How far do you want to deny yourself? Ultimately, and I truly believe this, your other half, whom has left you here in the physical form would not want you to be in misery. It is now your time to shine and follow your own true self.
As for many of my friends and future new ones, I will always invite anyone to join me on my journey. Some creative help from someone who has no relation to you, who can really help you clear the "hardship" debris is the best advice I can give you. This goes from non-widows too. But I'm grateful every morning for my great health, my abundance, my financial stability, and my ability to clearly see the things that make me happy.
I do want to give my widow-friends a HUGE comforting hug here. I found my journey uncomfortable. It takes determination to get here and the help of others who have gone before you will ease the hurdles. You can slide back. But isn't that what life is all about? You have to stir it up a little, and when you do, sometimes the crust from the bottom floats to the top, and you have to deal with it, skim if off, and throw it away.
Everyone finds their own way. It can come from their church, their synagogue, their mosque, mother-nature, drum circles, their best friends, meditation...it really doesn't matter. If that makes you feel better, then do it. That's the only advice I have. Find things that amuse you. Play with little children, and just observe their free nature. If they want to run naked..let them. The only thing that matters in life is - you're never going to get it done. Feeling on the dark side will not get you to the lighter side. When you are ready, something will peak your interest and you will focus on that and a new "project" or even a plan to work with. Be easy on yourself, there is no hurry.
Thank you to all who are currently joining me on my journey. For those who don't know what this journey is, perhaps you could just purchase my book. It benefits us all, including this Widow.
For special measure, let me shout out recognition of the Soaring Spirits International Foundation for their continual growth and determination to provide a place for widows to share on-line. It's worth a try to go there.