At my last Widow Wellness Workshop, a common topic came up, that I found very interesting. The topic was "I lost my filter when my husband died!" Wow, I had no idea! I thought I was the only one!
You see, for me, my husband was my protector, and the one who always spoke up when someone wronged him. Me, on the other hand, I would rather keep things to myself, and let it fester, and bitch and moan to my husband about it, until it would settle down, but then happen again. In fact, we had an ongoing joke about my mom - whenever I would be mad about something she'd said, he'd say "do you want me to call her?" Oh God, no!!! He might say something that would hurt her feelings! Heaven for bid her feelings be hurt, for saying something out of line to me! I would quickly reply with, "no, no, I'll call her." And I would. He taught me to be tougher than I wanted to be. He taught me to stick up for myself, a little more than I ever would have. I still had a long ways to go, but at least he made me confront people!
So, when he died, I suddenly had to find my voice and learn to be my own protector. I had to figure out when to stick up for myself, or let people know when they did something that didn't work for me, or within my boundaries. And I most certainly had to identify those boundaries, more definitively. The only downfall, however, was I had nobody to bounce things off, like I used to. Now it was just me, the dogs, and the cat. =)
They say people only treat you the way you let them, and I had to figure out how to do that. In fact, I got very good at it! I started saying things to people, and they weren't used to this new me, who was saying things I never would have said before. People were used to the nice me, the pushover, the one who would put up with just about anything, and would never say a word. And, well, people didn't like it when I started using my voice! And, I turned a few people away; these were close people, too. One of them actually said "I don't like what I'm hearing right now, I will talk to you later." That was 8 years ago and we've never spoken since. We've run into each other at family events, and she glares at me and looks right past me. And, when I reflect on that conversation, today, I honestly do not think I said anything that I shouldn't have. But, I did say things that needed to be said, and were honest from my heart, and, unfortunately, it was not received well.
Since those early days of my grieving period, when I found this "new voice" I have often wondered if I wrongly pushed those people out of my life, as a form of defense or protection. Maybe it was really just a result of my deep grief, and I was like a terrified child who was just throwing punches at anything and anyone in the world, because the hurt was so deep and I didn't know who to go after. I harbored feelings of disappointment, anger and pain, at those people for leaving me during my deep grieving, and for not sticking it out with me, through it. And, it still stings, when I think of the way those relationships ended.
So, when all us widow gals were sitting around chatting about the things that happened, or the things we experienced during our early days of grieving, and the topic "I lost my filter" came up, I was intrigued. And guess what, it was a common trait for ALL OF US! Some of us lost our moral filters, some of us lost our kindness filters, some of us lost our voice filters, and some of us said things we never would have said before, with brutal honesty. But you know what, we also found our voices, we became vulnerable and honest, we fought our way through it, tooth and nail. And we survived. And we kept on going. Some days we stayed in bed all day, some days we ate all the wrong things, some days we drank too much, some days we smoked too much. But we kept going. And we still keep going. And we show up, everyday, for ourselves and the people we love. We may be tattered, torn, and bruised, but we are beautiful, and courageous, and we are amazing. We are still learning. We are still growing. We are human. We are not alone. We are perfect.
I hope this blog speaks to your heart and finds you well. I wish you so much love and light.