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Sunday, February 2, 2014

What I've Learned, and A Gift of Love

For Widows Only
What I've Learned
by Linda Della Donna

After my husband died, I trashed my writing -- Journals -- An accumulation of spiral bound notebooks, one for each  month of each year for four years. And a YA novel manuscript I was working on.

I blamed my husband's dying on my writing.

I told myself, Self, if you hadn't spent so much time writing, you might have noticed your husband was sick.

Then I shut myself in a room in my house and scribbled in spiral bound notebooks.

Nothing made sense.

And the only person who could save me from Self was dead.

I suffered unspeakable grief.

One day I got out of bed and rearranged the furniture in every room of the house.

I moved a dresser out of one bedroom and into another bedroom.

I moved a computer and desk into an upstairs hallway.

I moved a dining room table into the living room, divided six chairs and hid one in a different room in every room of the house.

I moved the baby grand piano.

I pushed a sofa, a loveseat, a coffee table and a hassock out of the living room and into the dining room.

I moved the kitchen table out of the kitchen, stacked it and its four matching chairs in the garage.

I couldn't bear the sight of empty chairs.

I emptied bookshelves, carted books from upstairs, downstairs; books from downstairs, upstairs.

They were His books and I couldn't bear to see them.

What I couldn't carry, I dragged, pushed, carted or rolled.

For months a television set the size of a Miata rested on the floor in an upstairs hallway. It was too heavy to lift and I was too tired to drag it. Again.

One afternoon a man I hired to shampoo the carpet arrived. I gave it to him. Free.

I made a rule: What Self can't move,  Self can't own.

Every time my adult son paid a visit, he noticed the furniture in another room in the house had been moved.

One afternoon he stopped by and exclaimed,


I couldn't help myself.

Have you ever studied a mother bird building a nest?

Have you ever noticed her reaction if she suspects one twig has been disturbed?

She squawks, puts up a terrible fuss, begins dismantling her nest; works at putting it back (helter-skelter) together again.

Looking back, I realize in my bird-sized brain, Ed dying represented the twig and the nest my world. Or maybe it's the other way around. I was a feathered frazzled fractured yellow-eyed wreck. In my own defense, I was just trying to make my world right again.

It is two and one half years since Ed's death. I've come a long way, baby.

I've learned there is no right way, no wrong way to mourn. It's okay to laugh, cry, sing, and dance, again. There's no need to feel guilty.

I've learned being a widow sucks and my life as I knew it will never be the same; no one will ever understand. Though they say, I understand.

I've learned I will miss Edward Louis Sclier all the days of my life, that when someone we love dies, the love doesn't.

I've learned I am strong as Hercules, funny as Lucille Ball, that I can take my home apart and put it back together the way it was. Well, almost. I've learned I can laugh out loud and wiggle myself free when I find myself trapped in a corner behind an armoire.

I've learned the valuable lesson when you experience the death of a spouse, like it or lump it, life goes on.

I've learned love is  never having to say goodbye to the one you love, that I will love Edward Louis Sclier with all my heart and all my soul, forever. I've also learned His spirt is with  me, and it will be with me all the days of my life.

I've done a lot of strange things since His death. I've made a lot of strange mistakes.

I've learned about grief -- Can't go around it, can't go over it, can't run away from it -- You gotta go throught it.

I've learned I'm okay with that.

I'm getting on with the rest of my life, rearranged the furniture one last time.

I've learned life is hard being without the man I love, but in order to survive, I must accept it.

Recently, Della Donna published a book, A Gift of Love. It fulfills a promise. Della Donna is a freelance writer and a widow. She supports individuals going through the grief process. She works at turning upside down smiles right side up again. A Gift of Love can be found at Archway Publishing. Be sure to ask for it at your favorite local book seller store.

Writing Tip:

Never p*ss off a writer. You run the risk of becoming a character in a future work.

Writing Quote:

In every man's writings, the character of the writer must lie recorded. --Thomas Carlyle


CBrownfield said...

Ed is proud of you, Linda. And so am I. Thank you for being my friend.

Linda Della Donna said...

Hello CBrownfield,
You remember me when I first became widowed. I am indebted to you for your many words of lovingkindness and for being there for me when my world was dark darker darkest. Thank you for being my friend. I am grateful.
Be well. Stay safe. Keep cute.
See you in print,

SJ Begonja said...

I am not a widow. But I found this moving, and touching. I wont say I understand how you feel, that would be foolish. May I offer cyber hugs instead.

Linda Della Donna said...

Thank you SJ Begonja for writing. Thank you for your enouraging words of validation. Cyber hugs are welcomed. I am grateful.
Linda Della Donna
Author of
A Gift of Love said...

FWIW, LD2, Make sure your extant love for Ed does not blind you to the love others may offer. Because I've been on the other side- and after four years, I decided that playing second fiddle was a role better left to others...

Diana Sanseverino said...

You are a true talent. Absolutely beautiful! I am forwarding this to my Aunt Pat who lost her husband last June. Again, it was so nice meeting you the other night. Hope to get together again soon.

Linda Della Donna said...

Thank you for your kind words. Sincerest condolences to Aunt Pat. It is a huge compliment when my writing is shared with another widow. It was great meeting you. Thank you for stopping by BookOrBust. Thank you for your comment. Thank you for being my friend. I am grateful.

Linda Della Donna said...

Hi Roy,
Good advice. The above article was written in 2005. For an odd reason, I decided it was good to repost for my newly widowed followers and to remind myself that I am a human being. My husband always told me, "Linda, you're not fast on your feet. You always miss the obvious." I know about the "second" fiddle role you mention. It took me three years to figure that one out. Experience is my best teacher. Thank you, Roy, most sincerely, for your encouraging words. Thank you for stopping by and thank you for being my friend.