Sunday, August 19, 2012

Shhhh, I've Got a Secret



Dear Reader,

It is more than 8 years my husband is dead.

I started writing Griefcase as a blog shortly after that grim day I buried Ed. At the time, I was numb. I was in pain. I was alone. Imagine, everyone I had ever loved was dead, or moved away. It felt like I did not have one friend in the whole world.

So I turned to the internet for support and one morning after brushing my teeth, the name Griefcase popped out my face and found its way on a computer screen. At the time, I felt it described quite accurately my feelings.

Before I knew it, Griefcase was a blog at blogspot.com and I was honoring famous widows. I was in uncharted waters and had no clue what a widow did with the rest of her life after burying her man. I kept combing through the mountain of sympathy cards looking for a Little Book of Instructions, as if it was enclosed like a mass card in one of those pearly white envelopes. I decided back then if I researched famous women in history and learned how they got through their grief journey, maybe I could apply some of that knowledge to my own journey. So I did.

I knew the names Jackie Kennedy, Coretta Scott King, and one other widow, the one the nun's talked about when I was in grammar school. Her name was Mother Seton. She was an Italian immigrant with a gaggle of children whose husband had died and left her penniless. I began with those names. I googled and learned other names, as well. If you search the archives in 2007-8, you can read more.

Before I knew it, what started as a blog for widow's only had rapidly morphed into a full website with shared resources, tips, and interviews for all individuals cycling through the grief process. It was not long before I was doing radio shows, blogging, writing free ezine articles -- more than 50! -- and I was hosting my own cable t.v. show.

Looking back, I still cannot believe I did all those things and lived a life. What I did not realize at the time was that by doing so much for so many, I was not taking proper care of me -- my health, my grief, my needs.

When I tried to take a break, inevitably a new email would pop my email box. Someone would write asking for help; perhaps to share their personal tragedy, or to thank me for being there in their greatest hour of need. I had started going out, dating, meeting and making new friends. I became a mom-in-law, then a new grandmother. I did not feel like writing because I wanted to spend time with my new family. Life is so precious.

I felt torn. And I felt tremendous guilt. I began to feel like Michael in The Godfather, remembering that famous line saying Just when I thought I was out, they pull me back in.

So after I had completed writing my book, after I had started a new relationship, and ended it, too; after I had moved out of one home, sold all my belongings; moved into a new home, and made a fresh start, I decided to take a much needed break -- I took some time for me.

And Griefcase.net the graduate of Griefcase.blogspot.com languished.

Dear reader, I sincerely apologize for that.

But I am here to tell you that Griefcase is back, and so am I.

Today I announce Linda's Place, the safe place for members of The Official Club Nobody Wants to Join. It is at facebook and you are invited. At Linda's Place, anyone mourning the loss of a loved one is welcome. Nobody sees your words at Linda's Place; nobody knows who belongs. All information is for members only, confidential, and is a secret. What happens at Linda's Place, stays at Linda's Place!

At Linda's Place, we tell it like it is, we let it all hang out. With rare exception, no subject is off limits. The shared goal is to motivate, encourage, support, provide a cyber shoulder and hug and to help each other turn an upside down smile right side up again.

Hope I see you there.

See you in print,

Linda Della Donna
Founder, Director
Griefcase