Touched by loss. Empowered through community.

Can I Introduce You to ....You?

Date: 
Monday, June 22, 2015
Posted By: 
Diana Gumushian

Trying to write this week’s blog has left me struggling to articulate the variety of concerns swirling in my head and heart. This feeling of scattered uneasiness feels much like the early days of widowhood, when just getting out of bed and surviving the day was an accomplishment. It’s made me realize how far I’ve come, and how long it’s been. And yet many of the basic issues still remain.

My son graduated 8th grade on May 26th. The overwhelming pride and true happiness I experienced is something I cannot put into words. Seeing him succeed, and be recognized by his teachers and peers for several awards of achievement, made me feel that somehow, despite everything he’s been through, he’s going to be okay. It also gave me some sense of relief (or weird validation) that I’m doing an adequate job of not screwing him up with this solo mom gig that was thrust onto me. It filled my heart with joy to see him laughing, smiling, and celebrating with his friends as they start their next chapter moving on to high school and things known and unknown.

I look in the mirror and don’t recognize myself anymore. A lot of who I am now is rooted in navigating life as a solo parent. I spend my days playing taxi service, being mentor, tutor, counselor, friend and mom, determined that my kids will have the same experiences as all their friends. I want them to be well adjusted, happy, “normal” kids. I don’t want them feeling like something is lacking because they only have me. I am a force to be reckoned with in my “I will do it all” mantra. And yet, I don’t know who I am anymore. Somewhere along the way of making sure that they are ok, I have lost myself. Not that I ever really found it after being widowed. It’s kind of a work in progress. Fake it til you make it. It sometimes feels “fraudulent.” I am comfortable in my Diana the mom role. I kind of have that one nailed down. It’s the Diana the person I struggle with.

The great majority of decisions I’ve made in the last seven years don’t have anything to do with ME. They have to do with the kids, or my parents, or satisfying and being mindful of everyone else. Somehow, what was important or relevant for me got pushed aside. Seeing my son graduate reminded me that he has the whole world ahead of him, and (hopefully) a lifetime of experiences yet to come. I used to think that way about and for myself. The sobering reality of being a widow robbed me of my once naïve notion that there was always more time to do all the things I dreamed of and planned to do. We all know too well that that isn’t the case.

Recently I’ve had some very difficult decisions to make. For the first time in a long time, I’m considering myself first and foremost in those choices. It feels foreign to me to put my own needs in front of everyone else’s. But who else will do that if I don’t? So despite it being an uncomfortable, unnerving feeling, I will try to keep Diana the person in mind going forward. If that means making choices that other might not like or agree with, then that’s what has to be done. It seems like a never ending cycle of figuring out who I am without him, trying to reinvent myself, then modifying it again. Would I face this had he not left me 7 years ago? Perhaps. And maybe I’d have other difficulties to face if he WAS here. But spending time thinking about the what-if isn’t the best use of my focus or energy. So I am making a decision to look at that stranger in the mirror and figure out who she is and what is best for her. It’s a scary thing to do, but I’m sure she’s going to be just fine. She always is, eventually.

Comments

Diana-- Good to meet you! I am a much newer widow, but your beautifully written post resonates with me nonetheless. Everyone tells me there is no schedule to adhere to when it comes to the grieving process and that you are beginning to take care of you now is, well, a really wonderful thing. We do the best we can, especially where our children are concerned. I salute you and wish you every drop of self-discovery and joyous moments that come your way.

Great thoughts, Diana! You articulated exactly what I'm feeling these days. Our kids grow up so fast and I sometimes think I hold on a little too long. But I am a work in progress, just like we all are! Nice job putting all this down on the blog in an easy-to-read manner!

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