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  • Writer's pictureCatherine Tidd

More Questions Than Answers




I was talking to a fellow widow who had read my book years ago when her husband passed. Our paths crossed IRL (in real life) through work and we immediately hit it off.


As is true in most friendships, you don't have to have everything in common to find a connection. Sometimes that connection is widowhood, but never assume that just because someone else is widowed a friendship will automatically develop. People you have things in common with can be just as annoying as people you don't.


But in this case, a friendship naturally formed and we were talking about work and then catching up on what was going on in the widow community - which I am seriously out of touch with.


Her comment was, "I wish more people wrote about what comes next."


I sporadically write about different milestones I've experienced, but as I get further away from being newly widowed (it will be 17 years this summer) the things that I experience are generally more about being a woman in my 40s than being a widow.


The thing is that the "outcome" of widowhood is as varied as the people who experience it. Some people get remarried right away. Some people don't. Some people move. Some people can't imagine leaving the home they lived in with their spouse. Some people's financial problems are solved by a sudden influx of life insurance funds. Some people find themselves struggling more than they ever have.


The abrupt change that comes with widowhood means that what comes next is either exciting (in a weird way) or completely overwhelming.


I remember saying that to my sister after Brad passed. I was trying to decide if I should go back to school, start a new job, move houses...a thousand decisions were suddenly mine alone.


"I can do ANYTHING," I said. "But the scary thing is I can do ANYTHING."


Widowed or Not, the Questions Keep Coming


I find myself in a somewhat similar position now. My youngest will be leaving for college in the fall which means I will be a single empty nester.


A friend of hers came over recently and he asked, "So, what are you going to do now?"


I stumbled over my answer because I've been wondering the same thing for the last couple of years.


What comes next?


I'm not going to lie - I feel somewhat paralyzed trying to figure that out. The world is WIDE OPEN to me. I can work from anywhere. Except for my pets, I have nothing to keep me at home if I want to do something. I don't need to ask permission or even tell anyone what I'm up to.


And the questions keep piling up.


  • Will I be lonely all alone?

  • Will I love it?

  • Will I forget how to be with people if I allow myself to be alone too much?

  • Do I want to travel?

  • Would I rather sit on my back porch with my book?

  • Would I feel better or worse if I started dating?


WHAT'S NEXT?


Just like with widowhood, when I was constantly looking for answers from anyone, I know that there's nothing I can do but experience what I'm going to experience and figure this out as I go.


So, my dear widowed friend, I wish I could more effectively write a blog about what comes next as the years pass after losing a spouse. But like you, I have more questions than answers at this point in my life.


And I kind of wouldn't trust anyone who claimed to have it all figured out.



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2 commentaires


Dalon Gage
Dalon Gage
20 mai

Great closing! I feel the same - I do not trust those who claim to "have it all figured out" because there is just no way ... like with many things in life we make the best decision we can at this point in time and then move forward ... the point of absolute certainty does not arrive. Thank you for continuing to post!!

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Catherine Tidd
Catherine Tidd
20 mai
En réponse à

Thank you, Dalon! I always have faith that when I'm feeling a little lost I'm still exactly where I'm supposed to be. Major changes are scary and liberating all at the same time. Thank you for your comment! -Catherine

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