Elaine Williams ©2008

When you become a widow your life changes and there is no guarantee of sanity in the transition. Some days are topsy-turvy; other days have a numbing calm. You wonder if life will ever be joyful again. You’re not crazy, you’re grieving.

Joy has a way of creeping up on you when you least expect it, yes, even in the midst of loss. I discovered it’s a waste of energy to feel guilt over a moment of joy while in the pain of loss. I used to tell myself I had to stop being so serious and cut myself some slack. I refused to be a victim in life and I vowed not to become bitter over my husband’s loss.
Sure, it was unfair that my kids lost their dad at 11, 18, and 19, but inside each of us are life tools, and we do the best with what we have learned in life.

So how do you craft your new life as a widow? Time and patience are the best advice I could give. I had never expected my husband would die, even though he was diagnosed with end stage esophagus cancer. I was so determined he would get well, he would beat it, that losing him never was an option until the last three weeks. So I wasn’t prepared for his death, but who ever is? Stuff like this didn’t happen to me. I’d always considered myself an upbeat, lucky person. I still consider myself in that category, which is why I know from my own experience you can create a new life and be happy and feel joy once more.

I recall many days up until about two and a half years into my loss where I felt weighted down by uncertainty and indecision. I wanted nothing more than to just hide away in some safe, dark place where no one else could find me. Many days I felt a complete lack of enthusiasm for life. I worked because that occupied my mind, and in deepest grief, I often wondered if I’d ever experience true joy again. I felt off kilter, as if an essential life force had been pulled from me. I had a big hole.

For months I hung in a kind of limbo. I asked myself what was it that I wanted to do with my life? Was this empty feeling all there was? I knew I had to contribute something more – that there was a purpose for me. I wanted full knowledge of what my the next step was in my life.

As a writer I attempted to pick up my writing, but there was no passion there. I have always been a writer and to think that that well had dried up, felt devastating.

Slowly, I began to find a new me, one that I had never fully tapped into. I wondered had experiencing loss uncovered the stronger, more independent me? I have learned to live fully on my own, taking care of my children but also taking care of myself.

When I made myself step outside my comfort zone, I often found a new world waiting for me. I discovered that living a full life is all within my own control.

Author's Bio: 

Elaine is a writer across various genres, published in women’s fiction, but also enjoys writing children’s books, self-help and screenplays. She is a mother of three boys and when life saw her a widow at 47, she eventually picked herself up and wrote about her experience. The resulting book, A Journey Well Taken: Life After Loss will be available June 2008,