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I haven’t posted recently but I’m back.  It’s not that I’ve been away (although I did take a very ambitious trip for a few weeks which will be the subject of another blog entry).  Thankfully, I haven’t been distracted with illness. Primarily, I’ve wondered how to orient my blogs now that I feel less as if widowhood defined me.  I’d like to avoid using the “moving on” cliched expression.  Instead, I’ll say I’ve progressed from feeling like just half a person.  I do feel much stronger and like a whole person, a single woman on my own.

In a few weeks, I’m coming up to the 8th anniversary of my husband’s death.  That is an extraordinarily long separation after an incredibly happy and supportive marriage.  As we all know, grief has a way of coming at you when you least expect it.  I’ve no doubt that it will be another difficult anniversary.  But I think some of my newly acquired strength will be there to help me out.

To express this stronger single person I’ve become, I’ll be drawing in color!  I hope you’ll join me for explorations as a single woman with both wonderful memories of the past and resilience to deal with the present and future.  Stay tuned.

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There was a recent (January 11, 2015) OpEd in the New York Times entitled, “Getting Grief Right”.  It was written by Patrick O’Malley, a psychotherapist in Fort Worth.

Frankly, it was a relief to finally read an article about grief that felt right.  I had none of the so-called “stages of grief” (denial, anger, bargaining, depression and acceptance) so often trumpeted as “the standard”.  After a marriage as long as mine, and with the profound love I felt for my husband, his death left (and continues to leave even 5 years later) an enormous void in my life.

My first trip taken, within 8 months of his death, was to visit the Grand Canyon where I wanted to see a gigantic hole in the ground. I thought that visualizing the enormity of such a hole would help me understand the depths of my grief.

I’ve also imagined that another suitable metaphor for the death of a  person deeply loved would be an enormous tree with an extremely large and deep root system. If such a tree could possibly be extracted from the ground, it would leave an enormous hole.

O’Malley says as much in this remark to his patients:  “I often tell them that the size of their grief corresponds to the depth of their love.” He also recognizes that the idea of accomplishing “closure” isn’t helpful.

“To do so would be to lose a piece of a sacred bond.”

Indeed.