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“Love You Different”

Like many men who have lost a wife, Herb Knoll did not believe he could ever love again. Of course, this was long before he met his wife, Maria. One night, it occurred to Herb how, should he ever fall in love again, it might well be with a widow, especially given his age. This was the birth of the song “Love You Different.” Those who have experienced the loss of a spouse, a life partner, or a close relationship; listen as Herb captured in verse a tender song about a widower who falls in love with a widow.
Three of Herb’s recording artists, friends from Nashville, entered a studio to record this genuinely unique track. Pictured below are (L-R) Kim Parent, Rob Harris, and Marcia Ramirez. Together, they tweaked Herb’s original lyrics and then brought it to life. We hope you enjoy “Love You Different” and ask that you share it with your friends. The lyrics can be found on here and appear on page 107 of Herb’s popular book, The Widower’s Journey.

“Love You Different”

Music by: Kim Parent, Rob Harris, & Marcia Ramirez

Lyrics by: Herb Knoll, Kim Parent, Rob Harris & Marcia Ramirez

I have come to know
The heart can love again
Even after true love has passed into the wind
There’s no need to explain
What you’re going through
‘ Cause not long ago I lost an angel, too
I know you miss him
But I’ll love you different
I won’t replace him or ask you to forget
Love him all the same
That’s not for me to change
I know you miss him
But I’ll love you different

Even as we let them go
Part of them will stay
Woven deep into our lives and who we are today
That’s something we can celebrate
BRIDGE:
So let me wipe your tears away, my beautiful friend
I believe they’d tell us it’s okay to love again

Featured

WSN Receives A-Tribute from Florida House of Representatives

Yesterday, at the State of Florida Capitol in Tallahassee, in the Florida House of Representatives, State Representative Scott Plakon paid “A Tribute” to the Widowers Support Network and myself. Scott is himself is a widower (although he too has rediscovered love and has remarried) and is a member of WSN-MO.

I want to publicly thank Scott for the honor he has provided when he took to the floor of the Florida House and addressed those assembled while highlighting WSN many accomplishments.

You can view Scott’s remarks by going to 1.35 time stamp on the attached video. Be sure to zoom in on the “A Tribute” so you can read Scott’s generous words.

Make no mistake, Scott’s message were directed at you, for you have make our ministry what is is today. You volunteered, participated, reached out to one another at a time of need, and so much more.

Some of you have even contributed to our GoFundMe page to help with the expenses of operating WSN. To those who did so, we thank you.

If you would like to volunteer, perhaps joining on of our Special Interest Groups, write a column, write me at herb@widowerssupportnetwork.com.

For those of you who would like to donate to our operating cost, Go to https://www.gofundme.com/…/pegu7v-widowers-support…

To Representative Scott Plakon …You’re the best. Thank you.

WSN – Healing Hearts and Saving Lives.

https://thefloridachannel.org/videos/4-27-21-house-session/

Tired of being alone? Maybe it’s time to try dating again.

Whether you’re a divorcee, a widowed man, have never married or even been in a committed relationship, you may someday tire of being alone. I completely understand. You see, I have been in your shoes as have millions of other men.  As a result, there are many lessons and best practices for you to go to school on as you emerge from  your “cave.”

Men have various reasons for wanting a new friend. Some men hope to discover love while others are happy having someone who can cook meals or care for them should they ever become ill. Others are lonely, usually the result of a divorce or the death of their spouse and desire someone with whom they can share a bed. Others are wounded following an unwanted breakup, or they are a veteran of a previous romantic experience gone bad; causing them to shy away from ever exposing their emotions or their wallets to more pain.  As a result, they forego any future entanglements. To them, it’s just not worth it.  Like the women they seek, men too have their own motives. 

Others see a real upside to dating and are willing to give it another try.  And when they do, they like moving things along pretty fast, but they would be better advised to be a bit more patient. Through my years of research, I have found men in these situations to at times be a bit impulsive, a behavior that triggers potentially devastating errors in judgment. There are many risks associated with late-in-life dating. From the emotional dangers of rejection to the financial risks presented by a woman who has predatory motives, dating can have its downsides. But that should not deter a single or widowed man from seeking a companion and more.  Dating can be exciting.  It’s fun, but it can complicate one’s life, so go about it with your common sense fully engaged; moving forward with intent and purpose.

Where does an eligible man begin?

If you are considering re-entering the dating scene, you first need to understand your own motives. What is missing in your life; a partner or a hot date? Do you seek the companionship of a woman of deep faith, an intellectual who can debate the issues of the day or someone who can make you laugh and has a great figure? I know, I know… you want all of the above. But what are your MUST WANTS?  You need to know them and then look for them in those you meet. Example: During one’s life, we all accumulate baggage. If you are asking a new companion to accept your baggage, are you willing to embrass hers?  

When I decided to seek a new life companion, I subscribed to the online dating service, eHarmony.com. Be aware not all online dating services are created equal. Fortunate for me, eHarmony paired me with a computer engineer named Maria.  Maria subscribed to eHarmony herself because she happened to know the psychologist that designed eHarmony’s matching software, and he confirmed how it was scientifically valid.  I suspect not all online dating services can make the same claim. Maria and I were married a year later. 

My mother once said to me, “If you want to meet a nice girl, go to church!” Regardless of your beliefs, my mother’s advice is worthy of consideration.

Herb Knoll is a retired banking executive, an advocate for Widowers, professional speaker and author of the breakout book, The Widower’s Journey.  Available at Amazon.com in paperback and in all digital formats. Herb is the founder of the Widower’s Support Network LLC (WidowersSupportNetwork.com) featuring the Widowers Support Network Members Only, a private Facebook group page for men only, and a second Facebook page which is open to the general public at Widowers Support Network. Herb also hosts the lively and popular Widowers Journey Podcast, which followers in 44 countries. See: Contact Herb at herb@WidowersSupportNetwork.com.     

A Dating Checklist for Senior Males

  1. Know yourself
    1. What void in your life are you attempting to fill? Lover, cook, travel partner, caretaker for you, etc.
    1. Are you emotionally ready for a relationship?
  2. Identify your Must Haves and your Never Wants
    1. Children? A smoker/drinker? Someone younger? Someone healthy? Someone who is financially self-sufficient?
  3. Clean-up
    1. Women prefer men who take care of themselves physically as well as visually. Are you fit?
    1. Never invite a woman into a cluttered or messy residence.      
  4. Define your dating strategy
    1. Consider the services of a dating coach.
    1. Blind dates?
    1. If you use an online service, be honest when answering their questionnaire. 
    1. Join groups or volunteer where you are likely to meet others possessing common interests.
  5. Never Compare
    1. Never compare your dates with your deceased bride. Enjoy the unifueness (Besides, you would not like being compared to her previous mate.)
  6. Get off the sofa
    1. Be where people are found; civic and public events, at a house of worship or clubs.
  7. Be honest about your intentions
    1. Don’t say you’re the “marrying type” if you are not.
  8. Read
    1. Purchase Abel Keogh’s book, The Ultimate Dating Guide for Widowers
  9. Enjoy the moment
    1. Plan fordates that both you and your new friend will genuinely enjoy.
    1. Some of the most enjoyable dates don’t have to cost anything.
    1. First dates over lunch at a favorite restaurant make for a safe environment for both parties.

… And enjoy the moment!

Be a Better Friend – to Yourself

We have to learn to be our own best friend because we fall too easily into the trap of being our own worst enemies. – Roderick Thorp

So often during our deep grieving we fall into the trap of condemning ourselves, dwelling on our regrets, and/or doubting ourselves. Instead of celebrating the great marriage we had and honoring our wives, we turn on ourselves and focus on the negatives.

This can only lead to an even more difficult and longer grieving experience, which for some may result in what is called “complicated grief.” Once you find yourself in this negative space, it can feed itself with self-inflicted wounds and a deterioration of your ability to find a way out. When you settle into this state of mind, you are apt to dismiss the very things that might help you, such as seeing a grief therapist. Much like an addiction to alcohol or drugs, your psycho-emotional state feeds upon itself and rationalizes all the bad decisions you may be making.

The further into this state of mind that you fall, the more you drive away the very people who could help you. Family and friends may give up on you, may be offended by some of your words and actions, and may cut their ties to you. Then you really are isolated.

So how do you get out of this state of mind? The first and most important step is to recognize that you are becoming your own worst enemy, and that you need help to get out of this pit of despair. This means reaching out to those who still are in your support circle and letting them know that you need and are willing to accept any support they can offer.

It also means finding a good Grief Therapist (not general therapist) and hopefully a grief group in your area. You may find the first meeting or two to be challenging for you, but if you stick it out and open your mind you are likely to discover this really can help.

A part of this healing process also involves learning how to be your own best friend. You just lost your best friend, had half of your identity torn away, and are struggling to find who you now are. If you focus on being your own worst enemy, it is unlikely that you will be successful rebuilding a new and productive you.

However, if you decide that you are going to be your best new friend, then you can focus on forgiving yourself for imagined and real mistakes that you may have made during your marriage and while caring for your wife. You can begin to do as your wife did… which was to encourage and support your continued growth as a human being living in an imperfect world.

Will you get there overnight? Hell no! Just like building new friendships in your workplace or neighborhood, this development of your friendship with yourself takes a lot of work. And I mean real work! Not just uttering nice phrases and patting yourself on the back, but a concerted effort to recognize and build on the good already in you, and then seeking to develop creative new ways to become the new and better person that your wife always knew you could be.

These can include volunteering at area nonprofits (e.g. food banks), being a mentor to your grandchildren or young people at your workplace, creating art for others to enjoy, and much more. If you succeed you may be pleasantly surprised to discover the positive impact you can have on your family, workplace, and community.

Good luck to you on this new journey of self-discovery.

© Copyright 2021 Fred Colby

All rights reserved

Home For the Holidays: 2021 Edition

This year I will be experiencing my 7th Christmas without my wife, Robyn. Every year our house would transform into a continuous theme of the current or upcoming holiday. Now, most of those decorations remain in the basement, and my annual complaint of having to haul the countless crates from the basement is no more. But while different, the holidays are here. Never the same, but nonetheless, the holidays have returned. So, as I do each year, I thought I would share my annual article on what I call “Home for the Holidays.”

I enjoy writing this article every year, as this was the first article I was asked to write by any organization after Robyn died. The Heartland Hospice Association invited me to share my thoughts back in 2015, my first Christmas without Robyn. Over the years, many things have changed, but one thing is for sure, it has been and never will be the same without her. So here it is, the 2021 edition of “Home for the Holidays.”

“During this article, I want to share five things I have personally come to understand about these still unsettled days called the holidays.

The first thought is that it is “seldom the same.” Some of us have been able to continue when surrounded by family and friends with little impact on our lives. I, for one, am not that fortunate. My house seems particularly vast at this time of year. The sounds of the never-ending Hallmark Christmas movies, the seemingly endless packages arriving, and the calls to remove packages from the car no longer exist. The anxiousness of finding the right gift is a faded memory. The holidays are not the same. I even miss our annual biggest fight of the year, the day after Thanksgiving trip to the Christmas tree lot to pick out the year’s tree. I lost that fight every year, by the way. My dear, it

My second thought is to encourage you to keep the things that bring you joy. It could be returning to the tree lot; it could be finding the holiday concert somewhere, or how about fixing their favorite dish during the holiday meal. Whatever brings you joy, do it!

While continuing with the tried-and-true traditions, don’t forget to make a new memory. For several years, I have bought a new mini-Christmas tree to continue a tradition Robyn started. I am at the point now that I must rotate the trees most years as there are too many to display at once. This year, I may not even purchase one, but it makes me smile every time I pull them out.

As I have stated many times, “what we don’t talk out, we act out.” If you find your thoughts turning toward the negative, if your 24-hour days turn into 26 hours of sadness, find someone with whom you can share your thoughts. For me, I had my grief counselor along with my journal and finally my book “The First 365”. I encourage you to find a place to express your feelings, tell a happy story, or safely express your frustration. You will be glad you did.

Finally, if the tears flow, find a way to follow them with a smile. I promise you, while I am experiencing my 7th Christmas without Robyn, the tears will come. Those tears are not only those of sorrow but tears of gratitude as well. I have a new relationship in my life; while emerging, it has given my life a new focus and a new feeling in an area that I thought was over in my life. It has been a great gift so far. So, follow the tears with a smile, give thanks, and press on. You are not done yet!

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. You can contact Terrell at his newly redesigned thedebriefgroup365.com, where you will find all of his social media contacts or through the Widow Support Network.

Dating

“Seek, and you will find.” Luke 11:9

Dating may not be the right word for what a widow-man might do in search of female companionship. Among younger people, dating seems to go on more rapidly and more casually than dating women in my young adulthood. Fewer rules seem to apply today, and there are more venues for meeting women than ever.

If you are over forty and thinking about dating, you might want to know that some people will find it strange to think of you having a “girlfriend.” If you are over seventy, it may seem stranger still, even comical, to others and yourself. But having a “girlfriend” and dating in some form will let you respond to a pull toward a special friendship with a woman. And the truth is, there are differences in male-female companionships now compared to the dating we knew as young men.

I have had little experience with dating since my widowhood began. Most of my social contacts with women near my age have been widows and divorced women who are not interested in dating in the romantic sense.

Simply meeting women is the first challenge of dating. Meeting at church, on the job, or through friends may still be the best way to connect with women your age. And there are far more ways to follow up than in the “old days”: email, text messages, Facebook, and the ever-present cell phone with caller ID and voicemail are just a few ways to communicate. Old-fashioned greeting cards or letters in the mail are options, and they can seem more personal than the modern electronic methods.

“Computer dating” existed back in the 1960s, but online dating is much more sophisticated now. There are so many online dating sites now that you need to investigate carefully if you want to try this. I know several men who have found wives online with whom they are happy today, so it can work successfully. Meeting women online does not necessarily mean you plan to marry one of them; it can be just for dinner or for a night at the movies.

Dating has become more casual than when I was a young man, and the expectations have changed. On the one hand, it seems easier now to have a truly casual date for dinner and a movie with no expectation of an ongoing relationship. Many women wouldn’t want any other kind of date. At the other extreme, some people assume that a date will lead rapidly to sexual activity. Women are often wary of men seeking dates because of this heightened expectation. You also need to realize that some women you meet may have more aggressive plans than yours, either for commitment or sex.

You may need to develop ways to communicate your trustworthiness to a woman you want to see socially. You may need to find ways to avoid getting into an awkward situation with a woman. There are wonderful opportunities ahead, but there are also perils to be avoided.

Surviving the Holiday Abyss

Everyone will start to tell you within a week of your wife’s passing that you must steel yourself against the trauma of upcoming special days and holidays. We each are likely to have very different experiences during these special days.

Much of your reaction will depend upon how important and memorable each of those days was for you and your wife. For example, Theresa and I had gotten to the point that our birthdays were not a big deal to us, so I did not have a major reaction on that day. Same was true for Valentine’s Day.

However, Thanksgiving and Christmas were major markers for me and did result in unpredictable regressions into deep grieving.

Thanksgiving was tough, but I survived… having my meltdown the day before instead of on the holiday. To counter the anticipated Thanksgiving impact, I took our kids and grandkids for an overnight stay at the Cheyenne Mountain Resort, which had a Thanksgiving buffet. It changed things up enough that the impact was diminished somewhat.

However, my attempt to introduce a remembrance of Theresa into the beginning ceremony of the meal turned into an awkward scene. The others, and I realized myself, were just not ready to talk about it without bursting into tears. So everyone remained pretty mum and I just let it go.

Unfortunately, Christmas (six months after Theresa’s death) was as advertised, with my regressing into the worst stages of my deep grieving, as if I were once again in month one of the process. This included full blown meltdowns, sobbing, crying, yelling, and the whole bit. Total funk days occurred often, and I could barely function at times.

In the middle of preparing our first Christmas family dinner together after my wife’s passing, I had to escape. I crouched in our master bedroom closet, shut the door, and sobbed. After regaining control, I returned to the family to enjoy our meal together. I felt better just knowing that I had taken the time to remember and honor my wife in a way which was therapeutic and helpful.

As I put up the Christmas tree that first year, set out the Christmas displays, and decorated the tree with my grandchildren, I felt it necessary to let the grandkids know that Popa had not forgotten Gaga, and that Christmas would go on no matter what.

One thing I have learned during this process is that it is best to confront your demons, your grief, rather than try to avoid it. That does not mean wallowing in constant self-pity where you are re-experiencing the pain for the pain’s sake; but rather, allowing your grief to progress and come out as it needs to. This will help you process your feelings and love for your wife. Once this is done, it is much easier to move on and celebrate the good moments from the past, and to enjoy the ones in the present.

Each widower must find his own unique way to embrace and express his grief, a way that means something special to him and/or his family. This may build on a talent you have such as writing, singing, music, painting, or even carpentry work. I escaped to reorganizing our photo albums to try and counter the grief with the many positive memories of my wife. Writing my book, Widower to Widower, was another effective outlet.

Now in my sixth year after her passing, I find the holidays less challenging. I remember her often and fondly at these times, but no longer sink into deep grieving. My mantra remains: Stop thinking about yesterday, focus on today, and look forward to tomorrow. I know Theresa would be there with me every step of the way with this approach. Yes, I still miss her… but, I am re-engaging with life, as I know she would have wanted me to do.

You can do the same!

© Copyright 2021 Fred Colby

All rights reserved

——————————————————————————————

Widower to Widower 2nd Edition is now available through:

Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Indie bookstores, Target, Walmart, local libraries and more.

To buy directly from the author, go to: https://www.fredcolby.com/buy-books

Love and Companionship

By Nyle Kardatzke, PhD

“God is love.” 1 John 4:16

All things were made through him.” John 1-3

“In Him, all things hold together.” Colossians 1:17

“Two are better than one.” Ecclesiastes 4:9

Love is one of the most powerful words in the English vocabulary or any other language. The first three scriptures above tell of God’s work through love. The fourth verse tells us of our need for companionship.

Some of the same urges that led us to marry may lead us to seek love and companionship again. We were created to be loving beings, and we are social beings, even if we sometimes want to be alone. The word love is so overworked that it can become trite, even boring. But the concept of love attempts to grasp perhaps the greatest reality about life.

It is important to distinguish between true love and the state of “being in love.” Thanks to Hollywood, we need to be clear that love is not the same thing as sex or falling in love, though they are intertwined. We widow-men may feel sexual desire, and we might even “fall in love” again, but I believe the love we seek is something more profound than sex or romance.

Love, it seems to me, is a magnetic or gravitational force that arose from God at the creation. The Bible says, “God is love,” and concerning Jesus, “All things were made through him” . . . and “in him, all things hold together.” So I think love permeates the cosmos, holding galaxies and solar systems together, wrapping our planet in life-giving oxygen, and binding men, women, and children together in families and societies. We shouldn’t be surprised that we continue to feel a pull toward other people, especially toward some with whom we could share years of life.

Companionship is talked of less than love, yet it’s closely related. I have heard men speak of their wives as their “best friend.” That idea was foreign to me. Marriage for me was more binding and all-encompassing than any friendship I could imagine, and marriage came with more accountability. Friendships, in contrast, create strong and delightful bonds, but they are more easily started and stopped than marriages. Not all friendships are intended to last a lifetime.

After my wife died, I began to think of our love and companionship and the natural flow of activity between us. It was only then that I realized my wife had, in fact, been my best friend.

What memories cause you to think of your wife as your best friend? What kind of friendship do you now seek in others, perhaps especially in women?

More than three years after my wife died, I awoke one morning with a feeling of loneliness. I need a companion, but I don’t know how to have a constant companion now. Then I thought, The Lord is my companion. I went on to another thought: “The Lord is my shepherd” (Psalm 23:1). I hadn’t made up that last thought, so I was reminded that I had companionship beyond what I might find with another human being, even beyond what I had known in marriage.

I believe that God’s companionship is available to us if we ask, and it can help prepare us for human companionship when the opportunities arise.

     Thankful for a Life Well Lived

                                                                   

About a week ago I saw an interview conducted with Steven Roberts husband, widower and best- selling author of a new book about his late wife Cokie Roberts entitled Cokie Roberts: A Life Well Lived.  At the start of the interview the interviewer spoke about the impact Cokie Roberts had on her life as a journalist and then asked Steven Roberts the question all of us in this group often get: “How are you doing? Steven Roberts responded as follows:

“It has been a tough road he said, we were married for 53 years.  This is the way I chose to grieve; this is the way I chose to mourn and this how I celebrate her life. She was so much more that a famous journalist; she was a daughter, a wife, a mother, and a grandmother. She had a quick wit and a sharp mind combined with a heart of gold and tremendous love for family and friends. I want her to be remembered as a good person that all of us can learn from and emulate”

His words I believe resonate in the hearts and minds of each of us. As we approach Thanksgiving, I recall past holidays when my wife and I would reflect on what we were thankful for. First on the list was the love we shared for almost 30 years. I was thankful that she came into my life and chose me to be her husband. I was grateful for the support, confidence, and “kicks in the pants” at times I needed to build my business and be a successful provider and husband. She was grateful for me and showed her love in countless ways that I often think about each day as I miss her so dearly.   She loved her children and grandchildren as well and always relished this season as they would await with great anticipation the holidays and sharing their joy and excitement with us.

As I walk the path without my beloved wife I again for the second holiday season I pause to reflect on what she taught me. Holidays are special times to gather with family and friends, to be grateful for what you have; what you have learned and what you can do for others. It easy to sink into sadness over our collective loses. It easy to say I want to be quiet and want to avoid the season since it brings back tears and sorrow.

Let me begin by giving thanks for what I had. For thirty years I had a wonderful, caring, loving woman who taught me to be a good man, a loving husband and a good father. She helped me build a career and provide a home and be a role model for our children and grand children She taught me to be grateful for what I have and to appreciate those blessings in my life.

What have I learned? I witnessed her love for all people. She always thought about her children, grandchildren, friends, and relatives first. She hosted many parties including her 44th birthday party that was just an excuse to host a large party and to celebrate, have fun and enjoy each other’s company. Why 44, Who knows? It was never about her; it was about others sharing good food and laughing until it hurts. My wife taught me to love life, cherish good friends and enjoy delicious food.

Thirdly always think about others.  How can I help other people? The simple way was to pick up the phone and call them. My wife did not like texting or emails.  Rather the other persons voice, gain an understanding of how they are doing. Meet them face to face to share a meal and show you are a good friend. Most importantly turn off the cell phone for that time so you can devote your attention to the quality time spent together. Reach out and help others in need when you can. Volunteer and support organizations that need your help. My wife donated too so many animal protection groups that continue to send me letters each week. I try to support as many as I can without breaking my bank.

Find the causes your loved one supported and keep her memory alive by helping others

I continue to mourn my wife, but I also recall her joy. For Christians and Jews alike it the season of anticipation and joy. The Festival of Lights and the celebration of Christmas mark new life, joy and hopefully peace. Give thanks for what we had and continue to have through family and friends. My wife loved to celebrate the season. I am traveling to South Carolina to see my son and daughter in law for Thanksgiving and then to New Hampshire to see  my other daughter and grands for Christmas. I look forward to being with family sharing laughs, good times, fond memories and keeping my wife alive in the joy and tears we will share.

I look forward to dinners and lunches with friends and relatives. I look forward more importantly to sharing the gifts my wife taught me with others.

After They Are Gone

There are many lessons that I have learned from my late wife long after she has left this earth. There are times that it takes on a cruel irony, and at other times it is a source of great comfort. However, throughout this process, I have come to realize that these lessons have become one of the “cornerstones” of my existence.

I want to share just a few of the many lessons I’ve learned over these last six and a half years since my wife has passed away.

The Time to Love is in the Moment

I have been fortunate not to be bound by regret but fortified by reflection in managing my loss. I mean by this statement that my thoughts run in remembering the happy times while owning any missteps as a learning tool. Now I know that this sounds very existential at first glance, but I did the best I could with what I knew at the time. Far too many of us have fallen prey to the back seat driving of others when trying to regain our footing after the loss of our loved ones. I, for one, gave no quarter to such banter. The opinions of others were just that, their opinion. I held fast to the fact that others were observers of but not participants in our love. They didn’t have then and certainly don’t have now a vote in the legacy of our love.

Laugh Everyday

One of the things I miss the most is the sound of laughter in my house. Robyn and I laughed constantly. I feel that it contributed to the quality of the life she lived until the end. I now realize how difficult it must have been to be as ill as she was but admire her ability to find the strength to love me enough to laugh. What a gift our laughter was.

If you Are Blessed Enough to Love Again, it will be Different

I believe that all love is not created equal. I have shared with you brothers that I don’t think I have the strength to handle another Robyn. This understanding brings me comfort. Full disclosure, I am in the early stages of a new relationship and thoroughly enjoy the discovery stage I now find myself enjoying. While initially terrified at the start, I am doing alright so far. I can’t call it love yet, but the energy and added emotional bandwidth she brings provides is just what the doctor ordered.

Time Is Important

I have grown to respect time. We always say it goes by so fast, but does it? I have become one of those individuals that are committed to not wasting this gift called time. My stewardship of time has made me very discerning with what I do and who I do it with. I seldom do things without some thought or purpose other than taking time to rest. I love taking time to rest. I used to feel it was wasting time. I got over that feeling. So, take the time to respect time. Be the captain of your clock. Fill your days with what makes you happy as much as possible.

There are countless other lessons I could share, but enough for now. We continue to learn long after they are gone. I have found continued learning to be a comfortable part of my existence. A place where I can go to see her essence. A place that I am very familiar

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 his newly redesigned thedebriefgroup365.com, where you will find all my social media contacts or through the Widow Support Network.

WHERE CAN I GET HELP?

If you are a widower looking for help, ideas, or support, this blog is for you! At this time of year many of us have a difficult time getting through all the poignant reminders of our spouse. This is NOT the time to be the silent loner. It is the time to reach out to others, and let them help you if they are able to.

While there are very few good books out there specifically for widowers, there are several organizations around the country that can provide help or direct you to the help that you need. Here are a few of the key ones that I have compiled to share with my fellow widowers.

Cancer Support Community: located in many communities to help families deal with the challenges of dealing with cancer and its consequences.

GriefNet.org: an online support group which offers specific online groups for loss of spouse or partner.

GriefJourney.com: offers online grief support and resources.

Griefshare.org: offers a listing of church-based grief groups in your area.

Grief Healing: a variety of articles, discussion groups, blogs and more to help you through the grieving process.

Hospice Foundation of America: provides information about many hospices around the country, and access to online articles about end-of-life and grief.

Meetup.com: provides access to many group activities in most areas, including grief groups.

Mygriefangels.org: lists hundreds of resources, including many specific to certain types of losses (e.g. due to cancer).

Modern Loss: provides articles written by people like you and me who have gone through the grief process and have something to share.

National Widowers Association: Lists widower support groups around the country as well as various resources that are helpful such as articles and blogs.

Online Grief Support: offers online support including online groups, information about grieving, and even After Death Experiences.

Open to Hope: offers articles and talks on grief by real people who have experienced the loss of a loved one. They have sections specific to loss of spouse.

Soaring Spirits International: provides a variety of online resources to assist widows/ers to help each other.

Widower to Widower: offers free blogs, resources, podcasts, and links to many other organizations.

Widowers Support Network: provides a members only online group for widowers where hundreds of widowers provide mutual support, humor, and ideas to help fellow widowers through this experience.

If you need help during this strange and crazy time, don’t hesitate to reach out to these groups or your brothers in grief. To go it alone is not healthy for you or others. We were not made to be isolated and alone, and that is not what our wives would want for us either. So, honor your wives by reaching out to others for help when you need it, and to help others when they need it.

© Copyright 2021 Fred Colby

All rights reserved

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Widower to Widower 2nd Edition is now available through:

Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Indie bookstores, Target, Walmart, local libraries and more.

To buy directly from the author, go to: https://www.fredcolby.com/buy-books

Finishing Strong

Several years ago, when contemplating retirement, I published an article titled “Finishing Strong.” While this article focused on the mechanisms for preparing for life after work, it also gave recommendations for navigating the far too often experience of being both too expensive and becoming somewhat marginalized in the workplace. In some ways, if not experienced in the right perspective, our personal life can take on many of the same traits. This article in no way is an “end of life” column, but more directed at developing a healthy state of mind while moving forward in life.

For myself, I am closing in on seven years since my wife Robyn’s death. Like many others, the road has been met with its share of highs and lows. But when looking back, the most important thing I can say is that I survived, and boy, how different life without Robyn is.

So, in my mind, what does “finishing strong” look like? I’m living my life alone and focusing on family and friends, embracing the uncertainty surrounding me, and enjoying the discovery that has become my everyday experience?

I have found the aspect of discovery to be the most effective way for me. I have learned to deal with the change in my priorities and perspective over the past few years. I have talked previously about my great love for baseball. Being unable to attend baseball games due to the pandemic, I have since discovered the game has lost some of its lusters. I find myself dialing in on television and watching more casually than fanatically than I used to. My views on how I spend my time have changed as well. I spend more time reading and listening to music than I used to. I guard the level of negative information I take in.

In many ways, I have become a “kinder and gentler version of my former self. Not exactly withdrawing, but more at peace with stepping back. It has become, in many ways, my version of personal maintenance. I have a new daughter-in-law that I adore and am enjoying getting to know her family. I still maintain my fondness for travel and find myself spending time discovering new places to visit. Also, I have a new friendship to cultivate as well. This, I have found, takes a certain amount of energy that has been very different than I remember in the past. While exciting, in some ways has been a bit interesting going through the process of inviting new energy into my life. Pray for me, brothers; I am not used to being in the deep end of the pool!

So, finishing strong is about finding happiness and peace in your everyday existence. I certainly don’t seek my former life, which realistically ended with Robyn’s death. I certainly am not the same; the death of a spouse or partner changes things. But happiness, peace, and embracing change are still out there if you reach for it. If you are fortunate enough to find it, whether through self-acceptance or, if you are lucky, new love, you will find yourself “finishing strong” in life.

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 his newly redesigned thedebriefgroup365.com, where you will find all my social media contacts or through the Widow Support Network.