Thursday, April 11, 2013

All Too Familiar

I was in conversation with some women last week discussing times when we, today, as widows, feel most alone or closest to our deceased spouses.   While I miss Boomer immensely, I was astutely aware I did not feel alone, lonely or lonesome in his physical absence (read Mood Ring).  In many ways, I feel closer and more connected to him than ever.   My loneliness is existential among my contemporaries, demonstrated by the compassionate remarks I so often hear "I have no idea what you're going through..."  While I'm grateful for the support, encouragement and kinship, for me this is a very lonely place to be, a widow barely at mid-life.
Kona, HI , 2009,  SMO & Boomer's Honeymoon

I'm attending a sunset funeral this evening.   It's feeling all too familiar - - because it is.  Last week, a friend, a contemporary,  lost her husband - - to alcoholism (read the Reality and Bowing to Russell posts).  Ironically, she is my doppelganger.  Our shared parallels blow my mind, and I'm sharply alerted how un-alone I am. 

Nancy (not her real name of course) discovered her husband's body in his hotel room, where he'd checked in for business, but never showed up to work.  He was surrounded by empty bottles of vodka.  Her reality was a jolting shock to my system.    That could have been my story too.  I replayed episodes from at least the last seven years that were all too familiar.   The countless times I'd made an airport pick-up, something Boomer genuinely loved, to discover he was smashed returning from a business trip.   Or the time he was released from a client project because he showed up at a business meeting drunk. 

My sorrow and compassion for Nancy penetrates my bones, I'm temporarily reliving the horrors of this disease, what it does to the ones we love and who love us.  It's so shitty.  Now I glide into having humongous gratitude that my story didn't go exactly that way Nancy's did.  I leap at the chance to be at her side for support, comfort and the biggest hugs I can provide; just as I received, even from those who so openly, honestly said, "I have no idea what you're going through."  

I stand strong for my friend, as a beacon, amidst my own weak knees of grief, for I understand exactly where she is, how she's feeling and what role I can and want to play in being there for her.   That's the gift I get to give. Get to give?  I want to.  I must.  Setting my own experience and feelings aside to stand with her, hold her hand, and remind her how much she is loved - - by me, by her husband and all others in her life whether they have the ability to express it or not.   I'm further humbled in remembering those amazing people who have been there for me, and even those who have not.  Thank you all.

I ponder the question, "Who will you be being when...?"   I know my answer.  Nancy reminded me this week.    How about you?   Who will you be being when...?

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