Thursday, December 01, 2011

A Widow's Peek....

Widow.  Ugh.  And I thought the term 'housewife' bothered me!  Oh how I would love to trade in my widow card for my housewife card.  And then just throw 'single-mother' title into the mix and you have a whole bag of fun.

I'm 3 1/2 months into this world of widow-hood and it's as brutal as you might expect.  Lately, the waves of grief crash with unrelenting force and there is little time between them. I can feel them coming on, almost like an emotional contraction, and as I take my cleansing breath I wonder how many hours or days the next set of waves will last before I might breathe again.

Gianna says it best when she declares, "I just wish Daddy will stop dying."  That's what it feels like to me too:  he keeps dying - and our hearts keep breaking - over and over and over.  It's exhausting. It's gripping. It's hollowing.  It's isolating.  It's lonely. It's humbling. It's excruciating.  It's the most vulnerable I've ever been.  It's my existence right now....and I won't lie --- I don't like any of it.

I miss him.  My soul aches. I have no words to describe the pain of longing and missing and wanting things to be different.  Sometimes I feel like a spoiled child yelling, "I don't want to do this anymore."  I have fantasies about God coming to me and saying, "Oh Maria, what a trial you've had to endure.  I'm so proud of you and how you have dealt with this, so as I reward I will be making all things as they should be. Go and get ready because I will be sending Iain back to you and Gianna in his happiest and healthiest state."

Oh, don't worry ~ I'm not delusional. Trust me when I tell you that I am very grounded in my reality these days.  I just don't happen to like my reality ~ AT ALL.  I know I'm not the only one.  I often think of Jesus in the Garden of Gethsemane, “Father, if you are willing, take this cup away from me; still, not my will but yours be done.” Luke: 22:42 I'm certainly not in the position to assume what Jesus' actual feelings were, but he wasn't just fully divine - he was also fully human, and in believing in his humanity, I would have to guess that he wasn't so excited about his cross either. His faithfulness is what we remember ("not my will but yours be done,") but his faithfulness doesn't erase his humanity ("take this cup away from me").  That's where I am....feeling the reality and depths of my humanity.

I think people assume because I am a woman of faith, that these kind of trials and crosses are somehow easier.  People have said to me, "You'll be fine. You have such strong faith. If anyone can handle this, you can."  I know they mean well, but it's almost offensive to me and it really invalidates my very human, very painful grief.  Oh, I can write a book on what helps and what doesn't in dealing with someone who is grieving - maybe not a book - but a post is in the works, for sure. 

I am not writing this glimpse into my grief to gain sympathy or pity.  (Trust me, I get looks of pity all the time - and it's not so fun.)  I just think people see me (and Gianna) in public fairly often - doing what we do - living our lives with whatever semblance of normalcy we can - and there is an assumption that life isn't so hard. People often tell me that are so impressed that we are doing so well. Sometimes I correct them, "Oh, I'm not okay - but I am managing." I feel like an absolute WRECK 90% of the time.

I'm learning how much energy it takes to do 'normal' things - especially in public.  Going to birthday parties, weddings (brutal), and church (longest hour of my week) are not always miserable - but it takes every bit of energy to survive them.  Even just to grocery shop it takes me isles and isles of Hail Mary's just to make it to the car without losing it.  And just because you don't see me cry or Gianna fall apart - doesn't me we don't.

There are SO many people who are struggling with all sorts of pain and grief which I'm sure is amplified during this holiday season - you know, the happiest time of the year.  I wonder how many people in our lives are begging to be reached out to and are suffering in silence as the rest of us complain about too many party invitations, how we'll manage to get our shopping done and how we don't have anything to wear for Christmas day.  Yeah, it's all small potatoes, folks. Even if you pick an angel off a tree at the mall to buy presents for, even if you donate a Christmas basket at church - this just a reminder to actually  connect to with real people - in person (facebook and texting is a nice 2nd best - but isn't the same as a phonecall or visit). 

* * * * * * * * * * *
Before I close, I do want to say that there are times of joy and fun and normalcy in my daily life.  I know I seem morose - and I am, I guess - but I am not hopeless or without faith - just walking through the fire of this journey of grief.  The very best thing that people tell me is that they are praying for us - all of us - Iain too. Thank you to all those people who have continued to lift us in prayer.  May you be richly blessed.


  1. Thank you for this post. You are truly an inspiration, and I am so sorry for your loss. The holidays are a hard time when you're grieving, but I pray that you will continue to find the strength to keep going.

  2. Maria, weeping and praying.

  3. Very real! Thank you. You are a gifted writer and I hope a book does come out of your journaling and blogging. I am praying for you all!

  4. I agree with Sylvia about a book, Maria. You have an amazing way of expressing your unimaginable pain & sorrow with a deep faith that will give strength to others someday. I can't even begin to imagine what a minute of your day is like, but thank you for sharing your feelings with us. If there was anything in the world I could do to ease the grief you & Gianna are experiencing, even for a little while, I would. And if you see us somewhere (or want to call) & you are just tired of having to 'keep it together', please know that I love you & will be there to listen, hug, cry, laugh, or pray with you ANYTIME!!

  5. Maria, thank you for this post. I am feeling very blessed and honored to have insight into your grief journey.

  6. Maria, your strength shines through your vulnerability, and your words are so honest and true. Grief stinks. There is no easy way around it. We have to go through, as you so directly put it, the fires of grief when we are given our crosses to bear. Please know that I will continue to keep you, Gianna, and Iain in my prayers.

  7. Maria my heart goes out to you!!

     Grief is so hard and you have a gift of expressing that grief!

    Losing my beloved sister and friend, Belinda, and my daughter Lauren .. Well grief is something we pray most people don't have to truly understand.   And for those wanting Maria to reach out ... Well read grief books on what not to say. A grieving person can't reach out.. They are waiting and praying for others to reach out.  When we are at out weakest we can't reach out.  We are strong in your eyes, but we don't have a choice. We call it existing. And yes we need and appreciate the prayers .. But also need a friend. Someone to help when we can't ask or don't know what we need. A
    Friend to help with the daily tasks, cleaning, organizing.. Legal, financial guidance and yes.. just to listen.. Or be quite. 

     Existing and what others think are easy task are hard  when we don't have the physical and mental strength.    

    Love and praying for you Maria. God has a plan, we don't humanly understand, but we pray each day to get us through and his will be done... But
    Please guide us!  

    God Bless
    Delaina Naquin Baker

  8. Maria, you don't know me. A friend of mine put out a prayer request for you a few months ago. I have been praying for you everyday - in the car, at work on my lunch break and before I go to bed at night. I'm not entirely sure why your story has affected me the way it has, but reading your blog has made me view life in a different way. It's funny how a complete stranger can have such an incredible impact on someone. Thank you. I admire you and your strength you show for your precious daughter. Know that I will continue to lift you and your family up in prayer everyday. God Bless!

  9. After a beloved relative died I cried during Mass one Easter morning.

    After another family member died, I cried during the entire Mass one Christmas morning. Then I went to priest afterwards and said it feels like Good Friday instead of Christmas. The priest gave me a hug and said, "It's [the death] so recent, it's so raw."

    You really don't have to keep up a front. I didn't and the world didn't stop spinning because I cried and cried during the most joyous of Holy Days.


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