A Village of One
I will soon experience my 7th Christmas without my wife, Robyn. With December having arrived, my residence that would have been transformed by Robyn into a Winter Wonderland remains unchanged. While I have plans to decorate, the result, while acceptable, will be missing a key component, her charm. Brothers, we have come to the time of year for some of us that I will describe as “The Village of One.”
This is a season where despite being surrounded by others, you somehow can feel very alone. We often find moments of happiness along the way, but deep inside, that nagging feeling of void exists. There may be gatherings with friends or maybe even the work gathering, but somehow the “new normal” pales compared to our former traditions. I look back at times and realize how much I took events for granted now that they are no more. While I advocate making new traditions, the seasons still feel different somehow.
The village of one has become familiar surroundings for me in this world I call widowhood. This world is very different in many ways. The rhythm of my life has taken on a different beat. The world at times seems to be moving at an unfamiliar pace, sometimes feeling emotionally just beyond my grasp. As a man who has not found that new relationship to date, the desire to be consistently connected romantically to another person remains unfulfilled. At the same time, I have not lost hope in finding someone to feel that connection with; the priority is to find that someone ebbs and flows in my mind. I can say it falls into that “nice but not necessary” vein of my life. More and more, I am starting to believe that this village will take several people to fill what one person did so well.
The grief process demands that we navigate parts of it alone. It is that demand that makes us form the village of one. Like that harsh taskmaster, the village urges us to complete the task to move forward with our life. There are times that even though you are making progress in some areas of your life, the same task seems to return. While it would be nice to say” a little help here,” you know these are solitary steps we much take. So, we summon the energy and even the courage to press on. Even though there can be times when my inner voice can be heard saying, “why bother,” the answer remains the same because you are worth it!
The village can be a lonely place and, at times, a messy site, full of harsh lessons we would like to avoid, like that medicine you hated as a child; take it because it helps make you feel better in the end.
In this season, that can be so daunting; I urge you, Brothers, to push through. You are not alone. Your version is unique to you, but you are not alone. Just know I am rooting for you.
Terrell Whitener is an author, motivational speaker, and coach. Based in St. Louis, Missouri, Terrell is the author of The First 365, Learning to Live After Loss. Terrell can be reached at my newly redesigned thedebriefgroup365.com, where you will find all my social media contacts or through the Widowers Support Network.