Saturday, March 25, 2017

What I Wish, Mourning Joy, You

"Flowers are a gift of love."





Dear Widow,

Today is Saturday. Out my window is gray sky and drizzle of rain sweetened with a slight breeze. The temperature is 44 degrees. I'm eating French toast, sipping my morning cup of coffee, and admiring a gift of a bouquet of yellow roses from a new friend.

I'm stopping by to wish you what I lovingly refer to as Mourning Joy:


  • A cup of tea you didn't have to make yourself.
  • An unexpected call from an old friend.
  • A parking space in a crowded shopping mall.
  • Green lights for six blocks on your way to work or to shop.
  • A sunny day. *If only in your heart*
  • The fast line at the grocery store.
  • Your keys right where you look.


I wish you abundant happiness, health, courage, wisdom, and love.

Most of all I wish you Joy.

May He look down on you, watch over you and keep you, today and all the days of your life.

Happy Saturday.

See you in print,

Linda Della Donna
"Come journal with me;
your book is yet to be."

Mourning Quote: "Be kind to widows. We have friends in high places." --Linda Della Donna

Mourning Joy:

Q: How many ears does Captain Kirk have:

A: Three. His left ear, his right ear, and his final front ear.


Muses E and Pretend Kitty
Life is good.
And I am grateful.
Thank you for reading my blog.

Thursday, March 16, 2017

For Widows Only - Grief Relief, Moving Forward, 2 Tips to Guide You

"After awhile, the time may come when being His widow becomes a burden."
--Linda Della Donna






As Fannie Lou Hamer once said, "I am sick and tired of being sick and tired."

The same can be said for moaning, mourning, crying, and grieving.

After awhile, the time may come when being His widow becomes a burden. But only you dear widow can decide when that time is.

Because when that time does arrive, that's the time to throw up the sash to what I call your "window of illumination," those brief earth-shattering moments when you feel relieved of your grief; when you are able to get out of bed, cook, clean, swim, let the sunshine in! And smile.

Here are 2 Tips to get you started:

Permission

Raise your right hand and repeat after me: I, *state your name,* give myself permission to live, laugh, love, smile, grin, snicker, and do all, or any, of the things I choose to do, today, tomorrow, always, for the rest of my life.

Don't stop here. Keep reading.

Forgiveness

Admit it. You've made mistakes since His death.

So what?

So what you forgot to write the check to the mortgage company last month. Or, was it the month before? Did the bank sic the mortgage police on you?

So what you didn't remember to change the litter in the cat box. Did Mr. Kitty join cats anonymous and write a letter of complaint?

So what you kissed a fool. Did the Cinderella police wisk away all your shoes?

If the answers to the above 3 questions was an emphatic No; if the roof over your head is still standing, if you didn't pass out from Mr. Kitty's stinky fumes, then you've learned life's valuable lesson: After the death of a spouse, life goes on without Him. And maybe it's time, your time, to move on with the rest of your life. Only you can be the judge of that.

I know it's hard losing a spouse. What seems like an eternity of dark days, followed by a sea of lonely nights, sucks. But if you follow my 3 tips outlined above, sure as cinnamon melts in warm butter, you'll find your window of illumination opening wide, wider, widest for long, longer, longest periods of time, lighting your way to mend and heal your shattered heart. Before you know it, you will be one baby step closer to your new perfect self. The person you are meant to be.


See you in print,

Linda Della Donna
"Come journal with me;
your book is yet to be."


Mourning Joy:

Q: What do you call a snarky criminal going down the stairs?

A: A condescending con descending.

Mourning Quotation:

"Do one thing every day that scares you. Do what you feel in your heart to be right--for you'll be criticized anyway." --Eleanor Roosevelt







Monday, March 13, 2017

For the Newly Widowed: Living Life Without Him, My Secret Tip

Oh Toto, we're not in Kansas anymore.



Bobbi Brown, CEO of Bobbi Brown Cosmetics, says, "Loving yourself the way you are" is what it takes to live the "Good Life." For you, dear widow, living the "Good Life" means living life without Him, and accepting who you are, now that He's gone. It means starting over, making a new beginning--Yours!

Think childhood game--the more you've got, the more you stand to lose when tossing two plastic cubes across a gameboard. Only this time, you're teensy tin car's over that bitsy plastic rope You've survived the death of your spouse and know the answer to the dreaded ugly question every married woman secretly harbors--What will I do if my husband dies? What you need now is encouragement to make your next move.

That said, dear widow, here is my secret tip to guide you forward, as you celebrate living the "Good Life" without Him.

Simple. Think positive.

I know what you're thinking. What's with this widow-writer? How can mourning the loss of a husband be simple ?

Well, I'm here to tell you, like all things in life, grief is what we make it.

So start today. Begin this moment. Do it now! Begin with simple things.

Get out of bed, comb your hair, brush your teeth. Get your children dressed. Slice strawberries and bananas into piping hot bowls of oatmeal — yours, too! Sit with your children. Hug them. Ask them to tell you about their day. And listen! Walk your dog. Make your bed. Change the litter in the cat box. No, you don't have to iron your bed sheets, not unless you want to, and for heaven's sake, if you don't feel like dusting the living room furniture, don't! But, do look for simple ways to work at positive good.

I know the above sounds simple, and to a non-widowed wife and mother, it probably is. But, if you've just buried your soul mate, your lover, your mentor, your husband, your best friend, the thought of moving forward with the rest of your life may feel like an elephant-sized thought. It will take time for your brain to wrap itself around it. But if you remember my secret tip outlined above, you'll be one giant baby step closer to the best of your life--The "Good Life" without Him.

I promise.



Linda Della Donna
"..Come journal with me;
your book is yet to be."



Thursday, March 09, 2017

For the Newly Widowed: 4 Tips to Guide You


"Would that I could I'd order up a giant eraser to erase away all your pain."
--Linda Della Donna


The telephone rings endlessly. Seems soon as you hang up from talking to one caller, it rings again.
And each time you answer it, you must relive the dirge of who, what, why, when, where, and how it
all happened, all over again. You secretly wish to shuttle off to the moon and leave no forwarding address.

It's what happens when your husband dies, and you, the newly widowed, may wonder how the heck will I get through the grief process?

I know it's not easy adjusting to life without Him. Would that I could I'd order up a giant eraser to erase away all your pain. But I can't. Nobody can. Best I got are 4 tips to guide you as you make your way through the grief process. If you follow them, and I think you will at least try, you will soon become your own best friend. You will learn to trust your judgment, again; you will regain your self confidence, again, and eventually, you will accept what is before you, and be one giant baby step closer to mending your fractured heart and moving on with the best of your life.

Rule Number 1: Cry.

Give yourself permission to shed juicy tears. Why not? You've just experienced life at its worst. So be sure to keep tissues and hankies handy. You've earned the right.

Rule Number 2: Smile

Okay. What's with this writer, you say. Can't this woman make up her mind?

Well, yes and no.

After awhile, maybe later than sooner, you're going to notice soon as you've stepped one bunny-slippered foot into a room, that your friends' eyes may start to glaze over at the sight of you, the newly widowed. You won't need a crystal ball to tell you they got trouble dealing with you, the weepy widow woman, hanging around all the time moaning and groaning like some wounded animal -- Think silly fat fish draped around some scruffy sailorman's neck; think Cadillac-sized white whale spouting air through a giant blow hole.

Okay. You got the picture.

Being without your husband sucks; being without your friends stinks. So give yourself permission to smile, too. Then graduate to laughter.

Snip and clip funny papers for funny comic strips; ask friends and family for their favorite joke. Tell them to write it down. Give everyone who asks the inane question if there's anything I can do, please don't hesitate to ask, the Herculean assignment to go out and find you the best damn joke they never heard.

It won't be long before your friends will see you in a new light, the one without that fin or blowhole you sported the last time you met. And because they see you still standing and smiling, they'll be better able to accept the change in your life.

Rule Number 3. Breathe.

Inhale. Exhale. Concentrate on the rush of air through your nose. Just breathe.

Sound easy? Think again. Under extreme stress an individual may find it difficult to catch a deep breath. So best advice: Practice whenever you can.

In this way the next time you feel that golf ball sized lump in your throat grab you by the tonsils, or those fat tears well up behind your eyeballs ready to splash out your face, you'll be prepared and know what to do. Just take that deep breath. Just breathe.

As Health Educator, Michael White says, "Breath is life so when breathing improves, all good possibilities in life improve."

I cannot impress upon, you, the newly widowed, more than that. Besides, good breathing will make you look healthy, feel healthy, and it will help you to better focus.

Rule Number 4. Deal yourself a deck of JOY.

It is said that the best things in life are free. I call these things "Mourning Joy."

So get to the cheap store, purchase a soft-gel pen, pick out a set of blank index cards, a cheap pair of
plastic scissors, and a glue stick. While you're at it, toss in a see-thru zippered bag to store your stash.

What are you waiting for? Go!

Next, plan a specific time in the day to sit and stare out your window. Do it for the next 10 days. For 15 minutes.

Then get ready to draw.

On a blank index card.

Can't draw? Scribble a stick figure.

Make a circle for a head. Another circle for its body. Draw a beaked nose. Scratch two lines for legs, three lines for feet. Make a fuzzy looped line for a wing. Draw a stick tree.

Can't do that?

Hey, no excuses. Then cut and paste.

Pull out that favorite photo album with that favorite picture of you and Him in it.

Cut and paste that on a blank card. Scribble your three favorite words, "I Love You," on the other side.

Grab another card.

Paste a joke *the one your favorite friend sent you, remember?* on it.

Cut and paste a picture from a favorite magazine on the other side of that card. Heck, cut up a doctor's bill. Paste that.

Snip your horoscope from the daily  newspaper. Paste it on a blank card.

Write one word, "Believe," on the flip side of that card.

Joy cards are your cards. And, you, the newly widowed, are limited only by your imagination on what to fill them with. So be creative, be free. Be filled with "Mourning JOY."

I know it's not easy burying your life partner. On the long Ugly list, standing over a hole in the ground with the one you love lying in it, rockets to the top. Your life will never be the same without Him--I've said it before, I'll say it again, Grief--Can't go over it, can't go under it, 'ya just gotta go through it. But following my 4 things to guide you through the grief process, as outlined above, you can and you will make it through. And before you know it, like that old headstone in the cemetery reads, "Where you are now, I once was." Well, "Where I am now, you soon shall be."

You wait and see.



Faithful Friend,
Mighty Muse,
The E

Monday, March 06, 2017

For Widows Only: How to Know When It's Time to Get On With the Rest of Your Life


"... And sometime when I wasn't looking, I got a new life."
--Linda Della Donna


You look at your watch strapped neatly on your wrist or at the clock tick-tocking loudly on your kitchen wall. You stare ominously at a calendar attached to your refrigerator door by 4 mismatched magnets and note numbly a time, a date. You comment out loud to no one in particular, Is it really ____ (fill in the blank) days, weeks, years since His death?

Then you ask yourself the silly stupid question every widow asks, "When do I get on with the rest of my life"?

Every widow learns there is no clock or calendar for grieving. And there is no magic answer. There is just that nagging haunting question that shadows us, dear widow, as we go about living our daily lives. But sooner or later, we accept that He is never coming back. When that happens, it is time, our time, to move on with the rest of our life.

Though, this writer cannot provide specific answers to you, dear widow, I offer 5 questions to help you determine if you are indeed ready to move on and continue living. Here they are:

Are You Still Wearing Your Rings?

The hardest thing for every widow to do is to remove her wedding rings. Permanently. It is natural and respectful for a widow to honor the memory of her beloved husband, and a period of one year is emotionally healthy, maybe 2, maybe 3, 4, 5, 6, years. Maybe 75 years. Who's to say, dear widow. It's your choice.

But soon...but after awhile...but one day you, dear widow, will see your world in a different light. That is when you begin to fully realize He's not coming back. Ever.

When you are able to remove your rings - to place them lovingly in a velvet covered slot in your jewel box - to tuck them neatly away in a safety deposit box - to have them reset perhaps in a charm to dangle off a new bracelet, or new chain to wear looped around your neck - it is a sign that you are living in your present and not buried in the memories of your past.

But, unless and until a widow can accept HINCB *He Is Never Coming Back* and come to terms with all that entails, it is unwise to venture through doors number 1, number 2, or number 3. Yet.

Do You Have a Job?

Are you ready, willing, and able to fill out a job application?

Can you answer job application's silly stupid "Single, Married, Divorced, Other" question without bursting into tears when you check Other?

Do You Still Have His Clothes?

What is the state of His closet? Can you clean out that space? You know the place where He stored His shoes, where He hung His suits, where He hung His ties, and His shirts. What about His armoire? Is it in your bedroom?

If His stuff is lingering about where you rest your head, He's still master of your domain and you may need more time to heal.

It's fine and dandy to want to hang onto His things. Just keep in mind that these items are like anchors that may weigh you down and prevent you from making important decisions. And they may hold you back from achieving your goals.

Are You Afraid to Spend Money?

Can you spend money--on yourself? Are you able to shop for a new sweater; something He will not
see you put on your body when you step out of the shower to begin your new day? Are you able to purchase this item, a sexy pair of high heeled shoes to go with a new pair of slacks to go with that great new sexy sweater?

It's Okay to feel guilty about spending money, that's not my question. But, if you feel a twinge of guilt that you will be cheating on Him as you step out of your front door in your new outfit, it's best to admit you've got a long way to go, baby, before you, dear widow, are ready to make life altering decisions.

Have You Had a Date?

Do you fantasize about having a date? No, not the chewy kind that falls off of a tree, the man kind.
The kind you dress up for in that new sexy outfit you spent money on, the kind you paint your lips Revlon red for, the kind you smile pleasingly for when a car door is held open as you slide across a seat, the kind that takes your hand while accompanying you, dear widow, into a restaurant, stares madly lovingly into your two dry eyes, and compliments how great you look in metallic sheen, without feeling like a cheat!

If you can answer yes to the questions outlined above, dear widow, congratulations! Proceed to the head of the class. You are almost there. And you are one giant baby step closer to moving on with the rest of your life.






My Mighty Muse
The E




Tuesday, February 28, 2017

Bill Paxton, Louise Newbury Paxton, Condolences, Welcome to the Club Nobody Wants to Join




1955 - 2017

"I'm not heavily scrutinized, I'm not dating a starlet, I'm left alone pretty much."
--Bill Paxton


Today we honor the memory of celebrity Bill Paxton and welcome Louise Newbury Paxton, his wife and widow, into the Club Nobody Wants to Join.

Bill died February 25, 2017 at age 61 from complications of surgery. He had a passion for the arts and was well respected and loved by everyone who knew him. Louise met Bill on a bus in London when she was a teenager. They were married in 1987 and have two children, James and Lydia, ages 22 and 19, respectively. Lydia attends Duke University and James is an actor.

The Paxton family has issued a statement through TMZ, "It is with heavy hearts we share the news that Bill Paxton has passed away due to complications from surgery."

To Mrs. Louise Newbury Paxton and the entire Paxton family, Griefcase extends its sincerest condolences and heartfelt best wishes for what I lovingly refer to as mourning joy, all the days of your lives.



Mourning Quote: Death leaves a heartache no one can heal, love leaves a memory no one can steal.--From an Irish Headstone, Richard Puz, The Carolinian

Mourning Joy:

Q: What is black and white and red all over?

A: A sunburned zebra.

Friday, February 24, 2017

For Widows Only: Internet Dating, 3 Tips to Guide You

Photo property of Linda Della Donna
Cannot be reproduced, copied or shared without permission.



It was sometime after I buried my husband that I decided it was time for me to begin dating again. Can you imagine? Me, age 50 *hand-over-mouth*-something, doing that high school activity, again? Well, it's true. I realized after three years, it was time, my time, to move on with the best of my life. I wondered where to begin. I chose an internet dating site, filled out a profile, hit return, and as Dr. Phil says, "It's okay."

Now, before you, dear widow, scurry on over to one of those internet dating sites, I have three tips to guide you, and here they are:

1: Give permission. Give yourself permission to go out with a member of the opposite sex, or same sex, as the case may be. Call it, go-for-cup-of-coffee, call it, meetup-under-the-big clock at Grand Central Station, call it, anything-you-like, but give yourself permission. You are a free woman now, and as such, you are entitled to get out of the house, and have some fun. If you feel like you are cheating, stop that!

2. Be cautious. Internet dating is risky. Do not give out your home telephone number. Under no circumstances, until you have had ample opportunity to meet this person, should you tell this person where you live. Meet at a busy, outdoors, if possible, busy cafe', or busy restaurant, or busy bus stop waiting bench. Are you getting a message here? Tell a friend, tell a neighbor, tell a trusted family member that you have an internet date and when. You can even record the information in an email message to yourself, with a cc to an out-of-state acquaintance. I like to place a call to myself and leave a message on my landline answer machine stating where I am going and when I expect to be back. For chuckles, I describe what I am wearing. I figure if the meeting works out, I will have a record and know what not to wear the next time we meetup.

3. Be prepared. Okay. So you met the guy. And, he likes you; and, you like him. You agree to meetup again. Only this time, you say it's okay for him to pick you up at your place. Why so trusting? Maybe it was the way he held the door for you at the restaurant, or helped you off with your coat, or gently held your chair as you seated yourself at the table. Maybe you like that he's a civil structural engineer with International Business Machines, or that you feel sorry his wife died of lung cancer. Whatevuh. Take my advice, dear widow, and pin a mad #20 bill to the inside of your bra before you go out your door. What is a mad $20 bill? Mad money. It says you are prepared to get mad in case Mr. Wonderful trades angel wings for devil horns and you need to call a cab. Never be afraid to pick up and leave.

It's not easy losing a husband. And getting on and out into the real world again can be tough. But if you remember my three tips outlined above, you may discover a fun time, meet a nice friend, and be one giant baby step closer to the best of your life.




You have permission to email Linda Della Donna at little red mail box (all one word) (the at sign) the initials a o l (all together) (dot) (com) to ask a grief question and/or request a copy of her free e-book For Widows Only: Us.

My Mighty Muse
The E


Thursday, February 23, 2017

For Widows Only: Who We Are

The Club nobody wants to join.

We are women left.

We experienced the best of times; The worst of times. And survived.

We discovered the meaning of life -- Nothing like the loss of a spouse to wake us up to that.

We gained some; We lost some -- Friends and pounds.

We had friends run out on us. We understood they just couldn't take it. At least, we tried to.

We lost appetites, and we lost weight. And in the spirit of true friendship, we watched true friends reappear, and the pounds.

We discovered life as a widow is different than being married, but trying to explain it to anyone is like describing the color orange to a blind man. We know it's best to change the subject. We train our eyes to look away.

We spend endless sleepless nights pondering the future. We wonder -- Can we meet this month's mortgage payment, next month's electric bill. Even if we know we are able, we worry, What if...

We daydream -- Consider moving to an island someplace in the South Pacific; sailing off into the horizon, peddling into traffic on a bicycle, motoring cross-country on a motorcycle, blazing a trail on horseback. We contemplate running away every minute of every day. We will do anything to escape the pain, but we don't. Because we know, deep inside, there is no place to run away to.

We contemplate entering the convent. We think, Maybe there is peace there.

Every morning, we get out of bed. And we remember -- He's gone. He's not coming back.

Every evening, we turn out the light. And we remember -- He's gone. He's not coming back.

We love our sons, our daughters; We love your sons, your daughters. Heck, we love everyone! We
love grandkids, most especially our own.

We eat meals standing up, usually over the kitchen sink.

We eat cold pasta for breakfast out of a container. We use our fingers. We think, Why dirty a fork?

We traded lacy lingerie for flannel pajamas; silk robes for cotton terry cloth, and candlelight dinners for an open refrigerator door.

We identify red wires, white wires, and yellow wires inside a gem box in a wall when the ceiling fan switch in the master bedroom doesn't work. And we fix it.

We know which circuit breaker shuts the current in every room of the house; when to change the battery in the smoke detector; how to plunge a stopped toilet; how to snake a clogged drain.

We keep a supply of Draino under every sink in the house, because we swear to god we'll never let that happen again!

We know where the water main is; what number to call for the garage door repairman, and when to use it.

We know how to read a tire gauge, check the oil, change a flat.

We rake leaves, we hoe peas, we plant corn, tomatoes, and celery. We reap the harvest. And we cook and eat it, too.

We paint the house; Outside and in.

We tile the bathroom; grout it, too.

We know how to wash a floor on hands and knees.

We cry out loud when no one is looking. And don't care if they are.

We are strong; we are weak.

We are big; we are small

We are tall; we are short.

We are every color in the rainbow, different sizes, different shapes.

We are different; we are same.

We've been congratulated, applauded, patted on the back, hugged, French kissed, mentored, adored, and loved by the best.

We have loved and lost; buried and mourned.

If getting through a day without Him by our sides was an Olympic event, a role in a motion picture, a horse race at Hialeah, we'd own a Tony, an Emmy, an Oscar, and our hand prints and footprints would be stamped in a sidewalk outside a Chinese Restaurant on Hollywood and Vine. And the world would know us by the giant horseshoe of red and white carnations hanging around our necks.

We've made sense of the senseless, discovered the meaning of grief -- insanity gone greased and wild. And, we've learned life's valuable lesson: When you lose a spouse, life goes on.

We remind the world that love is never having to say goodbye.

Congratulations, Widows! Take a bow.



Article Source: http://EzineArticles.com/expert/Linda_Della_Donna/14903

Wednesday, February 22, 2017

For Widows Only: What Grief Is; What Grief Isn't

Me and E
...And sometime when I wasn't looking, I got a new life.
--Linda Della Donna



Grief is unbearable pain. It lingers long after standing over a hole in the earth with your dead husband in it. It results in friends not calling anymore, because they don't know what to say; you  not feeling up to going out, because when you do get out the house, you just want to run back home, jump into bed, and pull the covers over your head; you not being able to control your tears, because every thought cramming your brain are thoughts of Him.

Grief is not punishment for a past moment in your life. So stop that. You did nothing wrong to deserve the death of your loved one.

Grief is a journey. Long. Dark. Unknown. Think tunnel. Can't go around it, and can't go over it. You just got to go through it.

Grief is not a straight line. Sometimes years go by without feeling pain, and then when you least expect it, it rears its morbid head and bites you hard in your heart reminding you that mourning the loss of your significant other, husband, soul mate, mentor, lover, best friend, and hero, never gets easy, it just gets less hard.

Grief is a thumb print. No two alike.

Grief is not one size fits all. There is no grief map, grief prescription, grief guide, grief watch, grief calendar, or grief clock to help make your journey pleasant. Each widow must figure out for herself just how long it will take for her to feel life is worth living again without Him by her side. But you, dear widow, have permission to take as much time as you need.

Grief is overwhelming to the strongest and mightiest of individuals, and until a widow has perfected her coping mechanism, the one that teaches life is rich and rewarding even without her best friend by her side, she will struggle with her pain.

I know it is not easy losing a beloved spouse, but this much I promise, dear widow, as time inches forward, you will make it through your grief process. You will stop looking at your wristwatch, clock, and calendar, and measuring your life in seconds, minutes, hours, days, weeks, months and years, because you will have learned it wastes energy, energy best spent on living life to its fullest. I know, because I am a widow, too, and if I can make it through the grief process, so can you.

Eventually, we all evolve into the best we can be.




Author Linda Della Donna supports individuals going through the grief process with tips and shared resources. Feel free to write her to request a copy of her FREE E-Book, Treasury of Quotations, or to ask your grief question. At present Della Donna is studying and writing again with a goal of having her own on-line grief advice column.

For more articles on grief by Linda Della Donna, be sure to check out http://EzineArticles.com

Tuesday, February 21, 2017

One Widow Wants to Know, Letters, Hello Linda



Letters, Griefcase gets letters.
Hello Linda,

I just became a widow at age 57. And I'm atheist. And I'm a lifelong loner who used to love solitude but now feels lonely, which seems very strange. And I have no brothers or sisters or cousins or friends, not even one friend. And I'm not a joiner. And I'm in therapy for social anxiety disorder.

So my problem is this - When I look on the internet for other women like myself, I don't find anybody whose situation is exactly like mine.

People advise turning to God (that doesn't work for me). They advise joining organizations (hard to do when you have crippling shyness and anxiety). They advise turning to family (What family?) They advise turning to friends (What friends?) They offer "reassurance" that the loneliness will go away. What if you used to love solitude, but now feel lonesome?

I feel so alone in my situation. Is there no other woman quite like me in the entire world?

CF


Hello CF,

First, my sincerest condolences. Though I am a widow too, I can't imagine what it is you are going through. Grief is like a thumb print--no two alike. Each one of us must plow our own new path. Next, your situation is not unique and you are not the only widow in the entire world feeling alone and lonesome. I get letters all day long from widows from all over the world writing to let me know how alone and lonesome life is since losing a beloved spouse. And some even have family, friends and religion for support. In time, we widows all learn a new normal--acceptance that the love our life is forever gone and we must pick ourselves up, dust ourselves off, and move forward. You can and you will get through the tunnel of grief. I promise.

Your letter is well written and you are able to express your feelings well, especially at this difficult time. This tells me that you are smart, focused and have a good heart.

You mention that you have difficulty reaching out to others, and point out that "People" give you advice, and that you are seeing a counselor to help you with a social anxiety disorder. Your letter to me tells that you can and do reach out. Seeing a counselor is another plus. All this is a good thing and you need to be made aware of this.

The Grief Journey is a long, hard and most challenging trek for all widows mourning the loss of a husband. In a perfect world there would be a little book of instructions complete with road map, compass, and set order of directions in which to turn to guide us. But there isn't. So we must turn to ourselves. It is all deep inside you. You have to just sit quiet and let it happen--when you least expect it, it will bubble up and remind you that you are okay and that everything will be alright.

Losing a spouse is like losing a limb and we must relearn how to walk unaided again.

Give yourself permission to grieve. There is no right way. There is no wrong way. There is just your way. Keep doing what it is that you are doing. I believe you are on the right path. And by the way, for what it's worth, you write beautifully. Why not keep a journal, write in it every day, if only for ten minutes. It will be good reward to see how far you have traveled in your journey one week, one month, one year from now.

I hope this helps. Write to me again in six months and let me know how you are doing.

Best,

Linda Della Donna
...And sometime when I wasn't looking,
I got a new life.