Shortly before my husband died, he proclaimed, “We need to take the boys outside more.”
Now we were not the type of family to stay inside all day, but he meant we needed to hike and explore the nature around us more often. After he died nature became a place to mourn and a place to heal. We found the beach to be a great escape and the water a restorer of strength.
I made a video for a class recently, and I chose to film the park behind our house. We should take walks there more often. Sometimes we become so busy with the tasks of our daily material lives we forget to notice the wonderful nature that simply exists around us.
My husband should turn 46 today. In his memory my boys and I will explore a bamboo forest this morning. Last year we rode bikes at the beach. I have also spent the night camping in a tent with my boys, and I had never done that before his death.
Death can stifle us. Grief can stop us in our tracks without warning. With each hike we take, with each new exploration, we are moving forward.
On March 10, 2016, I posted the following on my Facebook page.
I know people wonder about this and are hesitant to ask, so I am providing an answer. When your husband dies, they do not strip you of your crown and title at the funeral home. You can be Mrs. and continue to wear your ring as long as you wish.
So, why did I post this? My husband died in June 2014 just a week before my 42nd birthday. This was a shocking event that completely rocked the foundation on my world. So many people surrounded me and my family with love, support, prayers and meals. We survived with that support.
However, when someone dies, many people believe they have a right to explore your private life and impose beliefs on you. I met with a group of widows, and people started to discuss when it was time to take your ring off. Then mail began arriving to Ms. Evans. I did not want to take my ring off. I was still Mrs. Evans. Don’t I get to make these choices?
Let me say that no one intentionally set out to hurt my feelings. People actually avoid you and the topic of death and grieving so as not to upset you.
After reading the responses to my post, and reading the stories of other widows I have come to the realization that we do not grieve well in the U.S. When someone dies everyone wants life to quickly go back to “normal.” Those who are grieving are told to find their “new normal.” Nothing feels “normal” though.
Time does not heal all wounds, but sometimes it is nice to be given a little time. Time to mourn, to cry, to be angry, to simply step back and wonder where you will go next without having someone push you in a direction.
It is a journey. The journey is long and difficult. Everyone is on a journey. Our paths are just different.