Wacky Widowhood

“And…..How are you, REALLY?” I’ve been asked that a lot lately. I’ve been asked by all sorts of people, in all sorts of places. The short answer is, “it depends”. The truthful answer is,  “I don’t know”. I feel like I am in a boat…on flat water….with no oars. I’m in the river, I trust it is going somewhere, but I’m not real sure how I am going to navigate it. I’ve spent some time researching. Reading books, looking things up on the internet. There isn’t too much out there. Much like there wasn’t a story I could read that helped me through the year of caring for Jim as his cognition declined….there isn’t a good story to teach me how to do this time post caring for him. Most of the widow blogs are written by people that have already navigated the river and emerged from the dead end pool intact. I wanna know what it feels like to navigate.

So, I’ve figured out 3 things, based on a UU sermon I heard years ago, and still pull up in hard times:

To thine own self be true: I lost myself over the last year plus. At a time when I was just embarking on my own path, I was thrust into the role of caretaker. I dropped almost everything that was unique to me in order to do what was best for the man I loved, the man I promised to stand by in sickness and in health. I am a different person now. I am not who I was in August of 2009. I’m not sure who this new person is. I do know that I need to write. Writing helped me navigate the homeorhesis of Jim’s decline and death. Perhaps it can steer me through this next phase of my life.

It’s not about you: I’ve had quite a few folks tell me that my previous writing was helpful to them. It assisted them in thinking about their own death, their spouse’s death, clarified decisions they were making about aging parents. While the positive strokes were nice, I was just writing my story. My story stirred something else in someone else…which leads to the 3rd point:

You are never alone: We are all embedded in this web we call life. The human condition. The bittersweet. My experience may have an impact on someone else. Chaos theory. If my writing can help someone else on their journey, then it is worth my time. If I write something, and someone contacts me with their thoughts on it, I have made a connection, and we both feel less alone. I finally spoke with another young (well, we are actually both middle aged :)) widow yesterday…it was SOOO nice, because she just instantly “got it”. Did you know that the average age of a widow is 55? Wow. There are a lot of us out there, how come so little is written about how to do this?

So, I am back to writing. Since my daughter writes too, and she is wise, I’ve decided to steal her idea of a topic list. Here is what has been waking me up at 2 am, nagging me, bugging me to put it into some coherent form. I am sure there will be more as time progresses, but this is what I feel possessed to write about in the near future:

  • Grief
  • Solitude, solace and service
  • Digital Death
  • Angels
  • Boy Chores and Women’s Work
  • E-Bay
  • Divorce
  • Fear Factor
  • How to Feed a Widow
  • Finances
  • Addictions
  • Being Single Again

So, how am I REALLY???? It depends….and that is really all the answer I can give in line at the post office, early am at the grocery store, or even on the phone after a long day at work. It just depends. Grief is like that.

Til later,


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13 Responses to Wacky Widowhood

  1. emeraldlens says:

    I’m glad you decided to keep writing…
    You should add a subscribe button so I can get notifications in my e-mail!

  2. jj says:

    We are a tad bit surprised, but more than that we are delighted that you are back on board (so to speak)…

  3. Nancy Draznin says:

    I’m glad you’re continuing to write. I’ve wanted to tell you to do so, but it really isn’t my place. Your writing is wonderful, and through the sadness of Jim’s death, your posts were really a treasure. You gave everyone a gift by writing them. So now I will say what is still not my place to say: I would love to read this all in a book. Just saying. It IS about you and you are good at this and what you have to say is of immense value to the world. I know because it changed me. Thanks for continuing to share, Kathy.

  4. Deb Hieronymus says:

    Keep on writing, Kathy. Great blog!

  5. Todd Benson says:

    good to see you writing again… I didn’t realized how much I missed it. I have no idea why…

  6. Kim Forester says:

    Thank you, Kathie, for continuing to share your journey as you navigate the widowy waters. ‘Tis no doubt good for you, and it’s definitely a gift for all of the rest of us. I look forward to reading your emerging thoughts once again — I’ve missed “hearing” you!

  7. Lisa Poplawski says:

    I so enjoy your writing and am happy to stay in touch with how you’re doing through this until my next trip to Idaho. Thinking about you and wonderful Moscow.

  8. Michelle Doty says:

    I am so glad you are going to keep writing. I will be a faithful reader.

  9. Kathy,
    I was one of the ones who told you, your writing touched me almost every time. I am glad to see you writing. I have taken up the blogging again myself, if you just want to read something sometime feel free to check out my blog too.


  10. Nancy Nelson says:

    You’re writing works because it is honest. Also, it resonates with readers who haven’t shared similar experiences; we recognize bits and pieces of ourselves in you.

    Is that sermon the one Joan preached on “it’s not about you?” Do you have a copy? ? I remember bits and pieces — very often.

  11. Kris Brenc says:

    Really interesting, I woke up too early this morning and was thinking about all the types of things you think about when you wake up to0 early and coincidentally started thinking, I wonder how Kathie Lafortune is doing? since the caring journal hasn’t been on my e-mail every other day and Voila! there was a caring journal message on my e-mail which led me to here. So, anyway I was also thinking that publishing your writings could be a therapeutic endeavor for you and therapeutic to soooo many others. so it COULD be about you while simultaneously helping others…

  12. Gordon & Judi Allard says:

    So glad you have decided to continue writing! From my own experience, writing or journaling has taken me to and through more situations than I can name. And almost always, I come from it enlightened in some way. I hope you gain all the insight and hope in your new life/you through whatever you choose to explore by writing. And I am delighted that you have found a friend or more who confirm that you are not alone. With much love and hugs, Judi

  13. Gordon & Judi Allard says:

    Just listened to Can’t Go Back Now. Thank you so much, Kathie, for posting that song. Dad & Judi

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