Categories
Family Finding Purpose Giving Support Grief/Dispair

Husband – Warrior – Brother

Terrell Whitener

WSN-MO: A Few Minutes with Terrell Whitener

During a recent reflection period, my thoughts turned to just how I have ended up where I am at in life. As a very grateful and appreciative man of my station in life, these reflection times usually end up as an exercise in gratitude and not a time for regret.

Many times, these sessions end up being a catalyst for a future article, and this my brother is one such article. At the conclusion of this exercise, I came away with three defining roles that have contributed significantly to my status as a widowed man. I started as a husband, moved to a period of being a warrior, and now reside proudly as a member of this brotherhood.

Let me begin with my role as a husband. In my life, I have had the pleasure of achieving many things. I say this not to be boastful but from a place of gratitude. Professionally I have benefited from the guidance of wonderful mentors, talented staff, the providence of the right timing, and a small modicum of talent mixed in. But one of the greatest benefits that I had was the counsel and support of my wife, Robyn. I have said many times on these pages that no one ever believed in me more than Robyn did. I am sure that my seeming hire wire act of risk-taking drove her crazy at times, but she wore it well.

The warrior aspect of my life manifested itself when Robyn’s health challenges occurred. Over what was nine years of concern with the last 18 months serving as her primary caretaker, we waged what I felt was a winnable war on her health, both physically and emotionally. I was dogmatic about her care and equally dogmatic about her happiness. I felt this was the least I could do for the woman I loved. While I relish the trips we took and the comfortable life we built, I would burn it to the ground if it got in the way of taking care of my Robyn. Like most marriages, we had our moments. But I have come to realize we had a “mature marriage,” one that was not without flaw, but one that always found its way to do the right thing for each other. Sometimes you must let the person have their way even though you disagree but support them and be there for them despite the outcome. That was the bedrock that forged the strength that held us together the last 18 months of our marriage. But alas, I was not victorious in winning the war to keep Robyn alive. Despite my best intentions and my best efforts, I did not have the final say. But boy, did I try. That my brothers, I can accept.

Last but certainly not least is the brotherhood aspect of my life. I spend a lot of time sharing my experiences with creating a life after loss. Sharing that story has found a comfortable place in my life. Like many, I am often lonely. Unlike many, I have not found true love again. But I have a great and comfortable place in the brotherhood. I have biological brothers and my kindred spirit brothers that I am sharing this article with today. I am so grateful for both sets of my brothers. They give me a soft-landing place from time to time. They provide me an outlet to share my grief and loss as well as my hope for the future.

So, there you have it. Husband, Warrior, Brother. All roles in which I comfort. Like many who will honor me by reading this article, we all will find a way of defining our existence, or at least I hope so. As always, I welcome your thoughts and responses. And as always, I want to let you know that I appreciate and want nothing but peace for each of you. Until next time.

____________________________________________________________________

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 reach Terrell at his newly redesigned website thedebriefgroup365.com. There you will find all my social media contacts or through the Widow Support Network.

Categories
Family Giving Support Grief/Dispair

THE REAL DEFINITION OF WINNING

LArry Ahrens

WSN: Coffee and Conversation with Larry Ahrens

One unsavory reality of losing your wife is dealing with the estate details, relatives, and lawyers. What this process does is smack you in your grieving face one more time with cold reality. Your wife is gone, and now we’re taking inventory and putting a value on things.

Here’s the disclaimer with my column today. My situation is unique. It probably doesn’t reflect your situation. But the purpose of this story is to help you find the “win” when you may have lost by any other standard.

Let me set the stage. When I met my wife over 25 years ago, she lived in a beautiful home nestled in the foothills of our city. When our relationship got serious, I sold my house and moved in with her. The house was always hers. I knew that from the beginning. The house was left to her one and only son. I knew that from the start.

When she passed, I moved out of the house. Number one, I didn’t want to live there anymore. The house WAS her. Everything in the house was about her and our life together. I didn’t want to stay there anymore. My wonderful friends helped me take care of her clothing and personal possessions. We arranged an estate sale for the rest of the household items, followed by the home being sold.

Fast forward now to the probate process. This is where it gets very cold and calculating. Lawyers are now involved. Values are assigned to the property. Dollar signs are attached to things. What’s that sofa worth? Who did it belong to? What was her property, your property, and what was your joint property? You’re forced to participate in this exercise even if you don’t want to.

Her son, whom I have admired and loved, turned very hostile towards me in this process. Hostile as in ugly hostile. We’re wrapping up the probate negotiations now. And on paper and in a financial sense, I lost, and he won. Sure, I’m getting some dollars out of this. He’s getting far more, so he believes he won.

At the same time, did I really lose? I was lucky enough to be married to a spectacular woman that loved me as much as I loved her. We got to live in a lovely home where we entertained our friends, welcomed our family, and spent magical holiday times together. The house was very much our sanctuary and our blessed abode. As I look back, it was a marvelous 25 years with her in a warm, loving home. It was a chapter in my life that I’ll never forget.

To me, her son may have gained financially. But he really lost on the most important things – family, memories and just being a decent person. By any measure, that’s a big loss when you get right down to it.

_______________________________________________

Larry Ahrens is a radio (KDAZ 96.9 FM) and television (KCHF-TV) personality in Albuquerque, New Mexico, where his show, “Coffee and Conversation,” is broadcast-ed. Larry’s articles appear every other Thursday, right here, on WSN-MO. You can send private messages to him on Facebook.

Categories
Dating/Relationships Family Financial/Estate Planning Grief/Dispair

Accepting Choices

Jeff

WSN: Widowers, Wounded, Warrior, Waling and Walking

by Jeff Ziegler

In the last two years, I have made some life-altering tough choices. Initially, I was going to call this post “Bad Decisions”… But “Accepting Choices” seems more appropriate.

Dating

Especially for my fellow widowers, I want to start with dating. It was one of the first things I decided to do after Suzi died. Within three months of her death, I was active on dating websites. In less than 5-months, I was “in a relationship.”

The first woman with whom I had a relationship bore the brunt of my fears, anxieties, and frustrations. She became the object of an obsessive need to “fill the Suzanne sized hole” in my life. I vehemently denied this to her, but it was true.

At that moment, I was too much for someone going through a divorce, who had three children of her own, and who needed her own time and space regularly. The pressure she must have felt from me must have been both suffocating and oppressive. To her, I say, “I’m sorry.”

The second relationship (which only recently ended) “should” have worked. It was, for all those who saw us together, supposedly a perfect union. But it was not. No, I cannot put my finger on why I felt like I could not be with her any longer. It was not cut and dry. What I did know was that something inside of me was out of alignment. It was not her that caused the relationship to end. It was me.

She’s beautiful, kind, caring, loving, understanding, and accepting. She is an amazing and resilient person. I recognized that she is all the things I could want in a new person. She is all the things most men could want in a person. But I guess it came down to the fact that she was not Suzanne. It felt like I did not deserve her love. So, like in the first relationship, I came to realize that I still had to work on myself before I could fully give myself up to anyone else. To her, I have to say, “I am sorry. Forgive me. Thank you. I love you.”

Relationships have not been the only area of my life where I made some “difficult” and (probably) not very wise choices.

“Investments”

After I received a life insurance payout, I started to explore investments. Initially, I wanted to buy a business (outright) and several rental homes to generate income, but things did not quite happen that way. With some “bad choices,” the money flowed out like water—I spent too much on lavish gifts for others. I allowed my kids to spend money freely (thinking it was okay to spoil them).

I bought an investment property and rented it out. After a few months, repairs that the previous owner probably knew about (but never disclosed) but did not make started to require attention. It became a bit of a money pit.

Just to clarify, houses are usually a sound investment. The place I bought was a 45+-year-old house with a guest house at the back of the property, separated long before I bought it. I inherited a great set of tenants in the guest house, so I was already earning income. They paid rent and utilities every month, on time, every time.

Unfortunately, the people renting the main home (the larger house) were not as reliable and could not pay their rent every month. When I realized how much it had become a money pit, I started to lose interest. After increasing frustration, I sold the property this year. After considering all that I had invested in it, I sold it at a net loss of thousands.

Yes, I successfully made other investments. Today, I own a home, and (instead of owning a business), I am 10% shareholder of a larger company based in Scotland. Truthfully, it’s kind of fun and cool business to be a part of, so I am not unhappy about that choice at all.

I have also invested in my own coaching business. Recently, I decided to work primarily with other widowers to help them start to find new meaning and purpose in their lives after losing their person.

Hobson’s Choice

The things I have been doing, chasing a new partner, and investing money in something I think will bring me “happiness” and “wealth” have been “poor choices” (yes, I am judging myself). But, I know that I have created tremendous wealth for myself—yes, I created it—and it is something of a conundrum.

The story I have been telling myself is that “I would trade all the money and possessions in the world just to have Suzi back.” In some respects, the investing, the frivolous spending, the inability to commit to a new person, etc. all come from that story.

Everything I have done, the self-sabotage, the rushing into the first relationship, the ending of the second, the “good” and the “bad” investment choices, etc., has been based on this story. I keep telling myself that my identity as a person, as a man, a father, and a partner is based on my relationship with Suzanne and how I showed up in it.

I am still in the process of transformation. Over the last few weeks, since I ended the second relationship and “shed” the rental house, I have felt a weight lift off my shoulders. I am more relaxed and at ease with the decisions, I have made and have noticed something. The identity that I was clinging to has started to fall away, and a new one has begun to emerge.

In the last few weeks, I have started to create a new identity. Emerging is the coach, the helper, the man who changes the lives of other widowers. That is part of the new identity as is the solo father who maintains boundaries but still shows up for his kids (this has been a huge struggle for me, and it impacted both my previous relationships). All these choices I have made are part of my new identity. And my new identity continues to evolve—”something from nothing”—as I do… but that is also a choice I have made. And now, I choose to be a healthy, present, open, conscious, and helpful person for myself and others.

It is the choice I have been forced to make. It is the choice I have accepted.

____________________________________________

Jeff Ziegler can be seen every two weeks here on WSN-MO. You can write Jeff at jeff.ziegler@ymail.com

Categories
Family Grief/Dispair Holidays Loneliness

Grief Loss and the Upcoming Holiday Season, Strategies for Getting Your ARMS Around It Early

Terrell Whitener

WSN-MO: A Few Minutes with Terrell Whitener

For my offering this week, I have chosen an article out of my archives to share with the brotherhood. I hope you enjoy and, most importantly, consider integrating this into your approach to the season ahead.

Before you know it, the holiday season will be upon us. For individuals that are in a season of grief, the holidays can be the most challenging time of year. It may be even more difficult for those experiencing this season for the first time without a loved one. In this article, I would like to offer a few thoughts that you may consider to navigate this most uncertain time. I refer to it as taking the ARMS approach to surviving the holidays during the season of grief.

A: Acknowledge Your Feelings. Though this may seem obvious, we must realize that grasping a solid hold of this cognitive realization is paramount to your self-care. A successful approach must respect that your personal and genuine feelings will allow for the most palatable experience through this most difficult time. It is normal to feel the need to be strong for others, and it is your right to feel the need to “hold it together” for others. But the day is 24 hours long, and there will be plenty of private time to sort through your actual state of mind.

R: Remember the Good Times. As part of the periods of reflection, always remember to add in memories of the good times. The arguments over the Christmas tree, the heavy-handed pouring of the liquor that “was just to add a little flavor” to the recipe at Thanksgiving, can go a long way at times like these.

M: Make at Least One New Memory. One of the most challenging endeavors to undertake is to introduce some measure of change. Though difficult to do, I highly recommend adding one new activity or memory to this season. It could be as simple as inviting friends for dessert or drinks after the family Christmas meal. Or preparing dinner for friends who may not have a family to join them in celebrating the holidays. Though the initial thought may seem daunting, you may find that it may help you navigate this time a bit easier.

S: Save a Place for Sadness. It would be foolhardy to think that honest reflection will not include times of sadness. To those experiencing their first season after losing a loved one, becoming sad is entirely normal. Finding a place for sorrow is a responsible and honest emotion to manifest. It is an exercise that will make this time bearable.

So, there we are—strategies for Getting Your ARMS Around it Early. I wish you nothing but the best in navigating the upcoming holiday season.

_______________________________________________________________________

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 reach Terrell at his newly redesigned website thedebriefgroup365.com. There you will find all my social media contacts or through the Widow Support Network.

Categories
Family Grief/Dispair Pets

Who Rescued Whom?

Who Rescued Whom?

WSN-MO: Guest Columnist, Tom Peyton

I have been on the Widowers Journey for over four months, and although I struggle at times, I never stop moving forward. Even though the journey is challenging, I wake up each day and push forward determined to pay tribute to my wife by following the mantra of Herb Knoll: “Celebrate your wife’s life by living yours.”

Two weeks ago, I decided to begin my search online for a prospective dog to adopt. I asked my local shelter about a three-legged pet whom I thought would be a great companion. Unfortunately, he was adopted and is currently living with a beautiful family.

I started my search again and found a beautiful lab mix; part Great Dane, part St. Bernard, possibly Dalmatian-Once. Will not know for certain until I get the DNA test back.

Since he piqued my curiosity, I decided to arrange a meet and greet. Petey, as he is known, was playful, affectionate, and curious; I thought he might be my new furry companion.

We went for a long walk, and he kept looking back at me; I think he needed some reassurance we would be a good match.

I learned from his foster mom he was abandoned in Tennessee and has been in Upstate New York for about a week. She told me he is good with other dogs, likes children, and enjoys being an 80-pound lap dog. I went home to think about it, and within hours I knew he was the one. Three days later, I was picking up my new friend: Petey.

He was so excited when I met him again at the shelter. With his head bobbing and tail spinning faster than the final spin cycle on the washing machine, my new friend had chosen me. I brought my granddaughter for the trip home, and she stayed with him at the rear of my truck. He felt very much at home after sniffing and smelling every part of the truck. When he arrived at my home, my other grandchildren welcomed him with inexplicable joy. I do not know what I enjoyed more, watching him chase them through the house or watching them cuddle and caress him while showing him tons of love.

Indeed, my wife played a role in Petey, now being part of my life. A few months before she died, she made me promise to save a few animals. I told her I would start with one.

Dogs are remarkable creatures; they learn to trust again after being hurt and abandoned by someone they thought would give them a forever home. They provide unconditional love that transcends time and space. They teach us how to start over on a new path in life and how we can heal from a tragedy.

As I move forward in my journey accompanied by a new furry friend, I realize I did not rescue him; instead, he saved me. He is giving me a purpose, a meaning, and a desire to move forward each day.

I think my wife knew that when she asked me to save an animal.

Strength and support to all our brothers.

_____________________________________________

Known as Tom Peytom, (pay the property man) for over 25 years, Tom has owned and managed SG Property Management of Saratoga Inc. He and his late wife manage over 40 properties, and they service over 125 tenants throughout the Capital Region of New York State. Tom became a member of the WSN-MO on May 17th. 2020. You can write Tom c/o Facebook messenger.

Writers Wanted:

If you like to write or have something you would like to share in the written word that would help our members, take pen to paper. Keep it under 500 words and send it along with your photo (Headshot). Your words could be gracing WSN-MO for men and our public page, WSN.

Categories
Dating/Relationships Family Grief/Dispair Healing Loneliness Moving Forward

God, Football, Sex & Gold-diggers

Fred-18

WSN: Widower to Widower with Fred Colby

Admit it! How often have even the most devout of us have chosen to attend a football game (or other favorite sport or activity) instead of attending church? Or instead of spending time with your family? Or instead of honoring a previous commitment to a friend?

If you are a churchgoer, you might be accused of violating the first commandment, “Thou shalt have no other gods before me.” The non-believers among us might question on whether they have their priorities straight? Are you choosing to place immediate personal gratification before things with more real long-term worth?

Whether we are religious or not, most of us can all agree that during our marriages, we gradually developed a set of values that are important to our sense of self and well-being. These might include such beliefs as:

• Love is better than hate

• Truth is better than lies

• Honesty is better than deceit

• Compassion is better than indifference

• Helping others is better than self-indulgence

So often, we can easily be distracted from these core beliefs, which are essential to our well-being.

When we lose our faithfulness to these beliefs and values, and when we choose to adopt contrary values, we put ourselves at risk and endanger our relationships with those we love and have learned to depend.

Sex, in particular, can entice us away from those long-held beliefs which have served as our foundation for years. In the wrong hands, it can blind us and turn us to less ethical or honorable practices.

During our most vulnerable time (first year of grieving), an experienced gold digger can easily manipulate us and even get us to do things contrary to our beliefs. If our new friend is just feeding our fantasy or appealing to our weakest inclinations, rather than encouraging, supporting, and helping build us up… this is the time to stop and think about where this is all going. Is this really what you want?

There also are many women (and men) who are just plain desperate because of finances, loneliness, or lousy living arrangements. They, too, can cling to you like a raft in rough seas and drag you down with them if you are not careful. So slow down and ask, are my priorities straight? Are her priorities straight?

When I started dating again, I sat down with my two daughters to explain why having women in my life also were important to me and to let them know that I would be careful. I was fortunate that they did not get angry or resent me for this; one suggested that her husband (a former Secret Service agent) would background check my new friends!

A good woman or new best friend will help us to continue our growth. They may even challenge us (without being overbearing) to be better! Remember when your wife did that? Maybe we resented it sometimes, but after a while, we often realized that they were just helping us to be our best selves.

If you find yourself in a new and healthy relationship, you will learn that it is a two-way street, just like your marriage was. That is, you will have opportunities to help each other grow, to support each other, and to encourage each other. This kind of relationship can make your later years wonderful and enjoyable, rather than destructive and painful.

So if you find yourself drawn like a moth to the flame of new relationships, please learn to pause (I know this is not easy during the early deep grieving phase) and think about what you want in a new relationship and what feels right. You could save yourself from much more pain down the road.

© Copyright 2020 Fred Colby

All rights reserved

_________________________________________________________________________________

Fred Colby is the author of Widower to Widower, which is available on Amazon.com. You can find Fred’s column appearing here on WSN-MO every other Tuesday. Widower to Widower is available through your local bookstore, my website, and Amazon.

Categories
Family Greif Moving Forward

Her Clothing, Her Things

Nyle Kardatzke

WSN: Widow-Man with Dr. Nyle Kardatzke

If you have recently lost your wife, you may be asking yourself, “What should I do with my wife’s clothing, jewelry, books, and other possessions?”

I believe our wives are now clothed in splendor as Solomon could not have imagined, but we still have their earthly clothing here, and we must deal with it sooner or later. You now have a task that nothing has prepared you to handle: what to do with your wife’s many belongings, including her clothing.

There are no rules for dealing with her clothing, books, jewelry, cosmetics, and other possessions. You must consult your feelings and your habits as you begin this work. Don’t be in a hurry. If you are a very tidy person and you need closure soon, you may decide to act faster than a man who has storage space and is comfortable with many reminders of his wife.

When my wife died, I thought it would be weird if I still had her clothes in the house a year later, as though I kept them out of some morbid fixation. I was wrong about that, and I still have some of her clothes now, nearly ten years later, but I seldom see them or think about them. I did give away many armloads of clothing in the first few months. In the frigid winter of 2011, I gave most of her coats to African refugees.

Before you discard all of your wife’s belongings, you may want to think about giving some to your children and grandchildren, or your wife’s siblings or close friends.

A friend recommended that I not donate any of my wife’s intimate apparel but discard them instead. The advice seemed wise, and I acted accordingly. I also discarded other personal things like her cosmetics.

I take digital pictures of the things I decide to give away or discard, except for intimate items. In this way, if I must, I can still see the discarded or donated objects without having them in the house. I rarely look at those photos on my computer, but they are doing no harm among my files.

Is there a procedure you want to follow for storing, donating, or discarding some of your wife’s belongings? Which things will be easiest to discard or give away? Where do you want to begin?

Know yourself. Does it help to keep some things so you can sense your wife’s presence? Or do you need a clean break? Consider storing some items away from the house if you are crowded or just need separation from her belongings.

Consider your children and friends. What do they need to see in your home to assure them of your love for your wife? I have kept pictures of my wife on display throughout the house. Some were formal portraits of us with our children when they were younger; some are snapshots taped to cabinets in the kitchen or the refrigerator. I have gradually put away a few pictures of her, but many will remain in view.

Even at a distance of ten years, I still have two of my wife’s coats in a front closet, and some of her clothes are in another closet. These things of hers don’t make me sad. They are just reminders of her and the good years we had together.

From time to time, I find things that I think are especially appropriate for one of our children or grandchildren to have. I explain the significance of each object when I give it, sometimes writing about its history.

I sometimes give things related to my own life and my wife’s, since I don’t expect to be here forever.

You may want to think of things that would be especially good for you to give to your children now. Some things probably should go to your children or your wife’s family only after you die. There may be things you want to be able to see for as long as you live. But if sentimental objects prevent you from fully living your new life as a widow-man, think about putting them out of sight or discarding them. Your days now are for your new life, not for the preservation of the past.

_______________________________________

Look for Dr. Kardatzke’s insights to appear in his column named after his book, WIDOW-MAN, every other Wednesday. You can write Dr. Kardatzke at thewidowman@gmail.com

Categories
Children Family Giving Support Grief/Dispair

A Widower’s Letter

herb-16-1

Widower Ed Hersh (Texas) shares a powerful letter he wrote following the passing of his beautiful bride, Shellie.  Ed’s letter speaks volumes about the plight of the 2.7 million widowers in America.  He has authorized me to share it with you below.

“Hi Bernie,

“It was very nice of you to call me yesterday afternoon. You sounded perplexed when I told you that I am still on a roller coaster.  I thought that writing might be easier for me to attempt to share what I am going through and how my life has been permanently impacted.

“Loosing Dad and Shellie a month apart of each other has been more than most people can handle, myself included.  You know that Dad and I were very close.  Shellie and I were married just months short of 25 years—an accomplishment by all standards of today.

“In May, Jonathan graduated college, an event that Shellie had been looking forward to for the last three years.  It was one of two goals she set to live for when she was diagnosed in April, 2008.  Watching Jonathan march in procession and receive his diploma was both joyful and tearful.  The dinner Shellie and I planned in Dallas went on as planned, but not without tears.  No way could I have had a party at the house to honor Jonathan having just lost Shellie.

“Life as a single parent is not easy as I’m sure you have heard from Belinda.  Being a single parent of children who have lost their mother is even more difficult.  We will go through life celebrating more graduations, engagements, weddings, births and bar mitzvahs—all joyous but without their mother who died at a young age.

“After being together for 25 years, I am now without my partner and lost.  Marriage is the joining of two halves to make a whole and I am now half again.  Who am I and what do I want?  I don’t know. 

“I am alone, don’t want to burden my sons and am lonely, yet not ready for large social gatherings.  I go to shul weekly for Kaddish for Dad and Shellie, yet I leave with an empty and unfilled inner self.  I have seen counselors and rabbis.  Yet I am unable to truly communicate and receive the words of solace that I seek.  Had I only lost one I would have had the other to truly comfort me.  Now, there is no one.  I am told that it takes time and I’m sure that that is true.  My world has turned inside out and I am searching–for what I don’t know, but am told that I will know when I find it.  Friends and acquaintances can not understand, not that I expect them to, but they have abandoned me for many reasons: not knowing what to say or my regressing inward or not wanting a single person in the mix or whatever, I don’t know. 

“Anyhow, I did appreciate your call and thanks for listening.

“Ed” 

THANK YOU Ed for sharing your words with those who turn to the Widower’s Support Network for understanding and comfort.

Categories
Dating/Relationships Family

Maid, Cook, Concubine, or Wife?

Fred-18

WSN-MO: Widower to Widower with Fred Colby

In my last blog, we spoke about how alone and desperate, we often feel after our wife has passed. And we discussed how this could lead to horrible decisions that can pretty much ruin your life going forward. So, what happens when we meet a possible “new best friend”? How do we know that our new friend is the “right one”?

In our messed-up psycho-emotional state, it is easy to make a bad decision and have our feelings dictated by wrong motives. It is easy to think that we want to marry this wonderful new woman we just met. (I know this from personal experience.)

And for some of us, the drive for intimacy can be overpowering. The euphoria of a new relationship can wipe out all reason and lead us down a path without regard for the consequences.

So what can we do to avoid these traps when we meet someone who excites us and helps us forget our pain for a while? One thing you might want to do is think a little bit about what you are looking for in a relationship. For example, are you looking for a:

1. Maid: maybe you are one of those guys who leave his clothes all over the place, who never washes the dishes, who wears the same clothes again and again without washing them, and who never mows the lawn, much less pull the weeds. If this is the case, and you were used to your wife doing most of these things, you might just be looking for a maid. I can tell you that hiring a maid to come in once a month is a lot cheaper than remarrying.

2. Cook: Or maybe you have never had to fend for yourself in terms of shopping, cooking, and baking, and you quickly tire of eating out (especially now in pandemic times) or eating frozen meals. There are plenty of widowers who cannot fry an egg, much less cook vegetables, or even a crockpot meal. When a gal comes into our lives who unselfishly prepares tasty homecooked meals for us, we might think we have discovered “the one.” While I am one of those easily impressed by a good meal, I have found that this alone may not be an indicator of how well a marriage will work out. But I must admit that in a good relationship, each of you should bring something to the table and not just money or a home!

3. Concubine: As some of you know, after we lose our wives, we can often have deep cravings for intimacy with a woman just to feel close to someone again, to feel loved again, and to quiet the weird and intensely sexual, physical symptoms we may experience. Such feelings can drive us to distraction as our moral compass struggles with the demands of our body and psycho-emotional state of mind. Way too often, while in this state, we can mistake intimacy with love, leading to poorly informed decisions of the highest magnitude, including getting married. So, if you find yourself in this position, please commit to both yourself and your new friend to slow things down and take your time before making rash decisions. Make sure that what you want is a long-term, lasting relationship built upon love and mutual respect.

4. Wife: If you feel there is more to your new relationship than is outlined above, you have come to the crux of your decision-making. And when I say wife, I also mean long-term commitments that may or may not include living together. As a widower in today’s world, there are many reasons why you may not want to take the marriage route (e.g., social security benefits, family, legal restrictions in wills/trusts). If you feel that your relationship has matured past the euphoric stage to genuine love and respect for each other, then maybe you are ready for this big step. If you have close family or friends, this step needs to be taken with careful planning so you can hopefully retain those other relationships which are so crucial to your mental health and happiness going forward.

In all cases at minimum, please consider:

• Waiting at least one year after your wife’s passing before making such an important decision (if the new relationship is real, it can withstand a few months of waiting), and

• Meet with a grief therapist to talk everything over to ensure your decisions are made based upon a solid foundation that can see you through to a successful conclusion.

Best wishes to all my fellow widowers as we all navigate this strange and challenging period of widower-hood.

© Copyright 2020 Fred Colby

All rights reserved

______________________________________

Fred Colby is the author of Widower to Widower, which is available on Amazon.com. You can find Fred’s column appearing here on WSN-MO every other Tuesday. Widower to Widower is available through your local bookstore, my website, and Amazon.

© Copyright 2020 Fred ColbyAll rights reserved______________________________________Fred Colby is the author of Widower to Widower, which is available on Amazon.com. You can find Fred’s column appearing here on WSN-MO every other Tuesday. Widower to Widower is available through your local bookstore, my website, and Amazon.

22

Categories
Family Giving Support

Thanks, Dad. You taught me well.

Jim Winner

My father’s birthday was a couple of days ago. He would have been 91. He died in an auto accident nearly ten years ago. He’s been on my mind a lot this week.

As a young boy, I remember the bookshelf in his office. It was filled with books from Norman Vincent Peale, Og Mandino, Dale Carnegie, and Earl Nightingale. For you youngsters, these were all great motivational writers from the 1950s and ’60s who stressed the importance of positive attitudes in all areas of life. My dad was in sales and marketing in one form or fashion his entire life. He had the most positive attitude of anyone I have ever known.

I couldn’t have been more than 12 or 13 when he insisted I read books by the above-referenced authors. I tried to understand terms like enthusiasm, persistence, dedication. That’s not exactly the subject matter young boys are interested in. I remember sitting in the living room with him, trying to talk to me about the importance of always having a positive attitude.  I remember him speaking about how things would happen in life that we can control, and things will happen that we cannot control. “No matter how bad it gets,” he used to say, “never give up your dream.” Many years later, I once watched him in a courtroom where a judge ruled, in a big way, against his company. He looked at me, shrugged his shoulders, and said, “it’s only money; we can make more.” In the best of times, he was humble. In the worst of times, he was positive. He had faith in God and in his own ability to succeed, and he did.

I got to looking at some of the books from those long-ago days. As I was looking through names and titles, I found myself going back in time 50+ years to our conversations on the living room couch. I’m once again reminded that some things never change.

Earl Nightingale’s works were my favorite. I’ve enjoyed being reacquainted with his books this week. I found a few quotes that apply to us all.

One of my favorites is, “We all walk in the dark. Each of us must learn to turn on his own light”. That resonates with me. While the darkness of grief may not have been what he was referring to, it certainly applies.

I know from reading many of your posts that some dear brothers are in dark places these days.  I hope and pray that you find your light. Light can come in many different things and forms, but it’s out there. Don’t stop looking for it.

My other Nightingale favorite is “Learn to enjoy every minute of your life. Be happy now! Don’t wait for something outside of yourself to make you happy in the future. Think how precious time is. Enjoy and savor every minute.” That friend says it all. Words written over 50 years ago are more important today than ever.

People often tell me they’re proud of how positive I am and how well I am doing in this life journey. I appreciate their sentiments and now really appreciate those long-ago conversations on the living room couch with my father.

Thanks, dad! I guess I was listening.

_________________________________________________

Jim Winner’s thoughts can be viewed here every other Thursday.