Thursday, March 13, 2014

I'm a Widow - Now What?

My husband died last month after his year-long brain tumor battle. In the course of one year I went from a happily married wife to a widow. Just like that. I'm a widow.

Now what?

We knew my husband wouldn't survive his brain tumor because no cure exists, but we hoped and prayed for more time. We just wanted more time. Last year was a blur of doctor visits, prescription medications, radiation and chemotherapy appointments, MRIs, hospital admissions, insurance claim phone calls, and a host of other illness-related tasks.

Last year I had to learn how to care for a husband with a terminal illness. This year I have to learn how to live without him. Last year I had to tell my children their father was going to die. This year I have to remind them he's not coming back. Last year we learned how to adapt to a constantly changing schedule. This year the stillness is unsettling.

My kids and I are learning how to cope with our "new normal." It's a daily challenge to figure out how fill the huge, gaping void in our lives. It's also a daily challenge to figure out how to navigate widowhood. Do I still wear my wedding ring? Do I fill out forms as Mrs. or Ms.? Do I keep my wedding photos on display? For how long?

At times like this, I continually recite the serenity prayer: God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change; courage to change the things I can; and wisdom to know the difference.

I cannot change that I'm a widow. Now I'm praying for the serenity to accept it. 

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