There’s just something about January that’s just hard. For most, it may simply be going back to work after the holidays that is difficult. I mean, after all of the shopping, cooking, eating, cleaning, and family it only seems right that we get a bit of down time to decompress. The new year symbolizes time passing, starting anew and, for some, that’s just hard.
A few days ago, I received an email from one of my widow friends. Written just after an exceptionally challenging weekend, she described her day. It was a rant like no other — painting a picture of hopelessness from the valley despair which, she says, occurs EVERY weekend. I felt for her but was unable to find the words of encouragement that I’m sure she needed. Instead, I acknowledged that I could not relate to the stressors that she had and then listed a few of my own so as to somehow reassure her that life was not perfect for me either. I left off the fact that these days I am full with much love and happiness which helps to balance out all of the other.
Days later, one of my other widow friends chimed in and offered the reassurance I had not been able to give. Her struggles were similar, though not as overwhelming, and she listed off ways that she’d found helpful in dealing with going it alone in the after life (or death).
Between the lines was the awareness that each new year reaffirms: the loss of husbands, fathers, financial security, dreams for the future, and so much more. It slaps you with the message that it’s not just a bad dream; it’s real — so deal with it!
Each year for me, the struggle that screams out loudest has been a little different. This year, it is the realization that, most likely, I will not be able to keep my home. Somewhere, buried deep beneath all of the fear and frustration, I’ve managed to find the courage to redefine old dreams and create new ones, attempt some semblance of monetary balance, and let myself love and be loved again. Until now, I never appreciated how huge that is. And still, I want to do better… so that I may find myself yodeling from the hilltops of optimism instead of wallowing in the valleys of despair.