After my husband’s death, I enclosed myself in an emotional shell. A hard cased, untouchable cocoon of nothingness. I wanted to be numb, I wanted to be left alone. Many days my self-imposed prison made me want to be loved by someone. Some days I lived and breathed by rote. God kept me breathing when maybe I took that for granted. It sank in one morning when I woke and asked myself what do I do with the rest of my life. I decided I probably had another forty years to go. Where do I go from here?

I felt an overwhelming disinterest in life and living. I had three boys, so I put one foot in front of the other and took care of the things that needed doing. My kids were my first priority. I was and am so blessed to have them. And yet, I felt bad that they lost their father. My youngest was ten, and I just wanted to fold up some days and hide in a corner for sadness. But I didn’t. I decided, subconsciously, my children needed me more to be straight and unbroken then I needed to crumple.

I avoided people sometimes because I didn’t want to talk about and therefore confront my grief. I didn’t know who I was anymore, now that I was alone. And I felt very alone and isolated, even from family. Isolating myself, I just wanted to be left alone. Sometimes others didn’t know what to say. It’s just the way it was.

I read with gratitude the cards and letters friends and family sent. Many of them wrote about how much my husband had meant to them, and expressed their sorrow at his passing. Those were the letters that meant so much.

I understood acquaintances awkwardness with my grief, but there was nothing I could do, beyond trying to alleviate their unease with my own sense of caring.

Gradually I grew into my life, a new life where I carved a niche for myself. Over time, I grew to enjoy living again. Some days when I thought I had progressed so very far, I would suddenly go into a depressive state of mind. I hated when that happened and tried to think analyze why it happened, but some days it just came unbidden and pulled me down.

At about three and a half years after my husband’s passing, I began to feel a noticeable lightening of my spirit, as if I’d suddenly found new purpose in my life. I had been doing some dating, and had reached the point where I decided to empower myself by not dating men who were not in the same space mentally and emotionally as I was.

By four years, I knew I had made it on my own this long, I would continue to be alone until the right partner came along. No more rushing into dead end relationships. My writing career took on new life, giving me a sense of purpose once more. I truly began to enjoy my life as I developed new friendships and took on interesting job endeavors.

The little whine inside me that protested my circumstances, became quiet and almost content. Somehow, I had skipped over some milestones in the last several years and made my life my own. I am proud of myself for where I have gone and where I will go. It’s been an interesting journey, and totally unpredictable, a journey I expect to get better with each day.

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, www.ajourneywelltaken.com