Recently, I was watching someone at my workplace put together a bookcase. It had a set of instructions and parts. This man was using tools to put it together. It looked very logical to take each step, with each part, using a tool, to create the finished product. When he was done putting it together, he gathered up his tools and walked away to the next thing.
Being a widow or a widower didn’t come with instructions. It didn’t come with parts or tools. I realize that now. How I wanted a set of instructions! I wanted to follow steps like any other widows. If I just followed someone else’s instructions, I would be all right. I would just do as other widows did and I would be able to be a good widow.
It didn’t work that way. Tools came to me slowly, sometimes not the first time but the second or third time. One of the tools I acquired was learning how to let feelings flow but to also remember that feelings were not facts. I now realize that I had parts available to me: compassion, humor, love, belonging. Using those parts to create a whole, loving family, I realized how important these parts were in continuing the raising of my 2 children into their high school years. If I let these parts get rusty or dirty, they would not work for me or my kids.
I now know that I was the one who wrote the insructions to assembling my life as a widow. Through 8 years, I have been the most important writer of my life. My instructions weren’t the most logical way to get where I needed to go in my life. I took different turns and twists along the way. My directions continue to be written, and I continue to have twists and turns. Things are still under construction, but I’ve come a long way.