Touched by loss. Empowered through community.

I'm a Fighter

Monday, February 27, 2012
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Of the many overwhelming feelings that I had right after Joe died, my first thoughts were of helplessness.  I figured I could handle raising the kids by myself and I always handled the finances.  I felt the most overwhelmed with taking care of our new big house.  We had moved into our house less than 2 years earlier and Joe always handled everything to do with our house.  I could barely change the battery on the smoke detector without help.  How could I handle all of this by myself? 

I remember when the first big snow happened about a month after Joe died.  I realized that I didn’t know how to use the snow blower.  I went outside while it was still snowing and started shoveling with my dinky little shovel.  I could barely see – not because of the snow but because of the tears streaming down my face.    After about 20 minutes, a neighbor that I barely knew came charging down the street with his snow blower.  He waved his arms for me to get out of the way – so emphatically that he almost looked pissed that I was shoveling by myself.  He cleared the driveway in no time and turned around and went right home.  I didn’t even have time to thank him. 

The next house “event” occurred a few weeks later.  My mailbox is out on the street; it was broken and kept falling off of the post.  For a quick fix, I put duct tape around the box and the post which made us look like a hillbilly family.  I couldn’t stand it any longer so I bought a new mailbox.  When I took it out of the box, I realized it wouldn’t fit on the same post.  Again, I started to feel weepy about how I was going to fix the mailbox by myself.  Then I shook my head and thought – I can do this!  I rummaged around the garage and found the electric saw.  I marched out to the post, whipped off the old mailbox and started carving at that post.  It took at little time but I got the size right.  I shoved the new mailbox on and it fit on the first try.  I felt such a sense of empowerment.  A big grin came over my face as I realized that I am not as helpless as I thought.  My mom happened to be at my house that day and she had been watching me from the front door.  Once I got that mailbox on, I looked up at my mom and she was jumping up and down with her hands in the air just like in the movie “Rocky”.  That was exactly how I felt – like a fighter!    

It slowly dawned on me then that I was feeling sorry for myself.  It wasn’t so overwhelming; with everything I have been through, I know I can handle anything now.  I can sit in funk and think “woe is me, how can I handle all of this” or I can be a fighter. 

Or I can be like my neighbor who shoveled my snow: move everyone else out of the way and just get it done.    

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