Thursday, April 12, 2007

For Widows Only - How to Know When You're Ready to Get On With the Rest of Your Life


(c) By 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.

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