I’m going to let you in on a secret.
I’ve decided that it’s time to end the blog.
Don’t worry – I’m not stopping right now! At this point, I don’t know exactly how I’m going to stop writing this blog. But for the past few months, I’ve been wrestling with whether it makes sense anymore for me to write about widowhood. The early, intense months of widowhood are now in the past for me, and even the big changes that occurred over the past 4 1/2 years – living with my dad, raising kids as a single mom, dating, falling in love, the pandemic, getting married and having Chris adopt the kids, moving to Colombia – even those big changes are mostly over for me. (Yes, I’m still living in Colombia, but life here has luckily gotten a lot more normal than it was in the first few months.)
In any case, it’s likely that I’m going to end this blog at some point in 2023. Before I decided to tell all of you in this post, I told my kids.
“What?!” Claire said, her eyes wide. Austin had the same look on his face. “Really?” he asked, as though he didn’t believe me.
I explained a bit more to them, but they remained shocked. They haven’t read much of the blog and they care little about what I write, but they know this:
The blog has been a lifeline for me.
I can’t count how many times they came to my room and sat on my bed as I wrote, especially in that first year of widowhood. I don’t remember how often I was upset and told them I “needed a little time to write” and then emerged from my room an hour later with a degree of calm. I don’t know how many times I realized one of them was watching me as I wrote, thinking who-knows-what but somehow understanding that my writing was what I needed to do at that moment.
They know the blog is important to me. But more than that, they know that writing has let me express my emotions – big, adult emotions that they can’t fully grasp, even now – and that somehow they seem to understand that by writing, I can be a (somewhat) more patient, more content, and yes, happier mom.
They now know that a number of other people read this blog – some who are young widows and some who are not. They know that people know about their lives. When Claire found out I have a few thousand followers on Facebook, she freaked out and said, “You’re famous mom! You should tell them all to follow me on TikTok!” (Um, no.) I realize my blog doesn’t have a million readers, but still, it’s much more than I ever anticipated.
I likely would have kept writing the blog in those early days even if the only person who read it was my Aunt Terry. I needed to write and I needed to process what had happened (and was happening) to me. I needed to remember Shawn. I needed to remember us.
But slowly, over a number of months, I realized that by writing about my misery, not only did I feel better, but other people who read my blog sometimes felt better. Young widows felt seen, I think, and for some reason whatever it was I was writing about struck a nerve in a number of people. I was happy people were reading what I was writing because it meant that I was somehow making meaning out of the terrible experience I was going through.
It felt good to be heard.
I loved when my writing was read thousands of times, especially when I felt really alone. I loved the comments I got and the private emails even more. I loved hearing that I wasn’t alone, that other people were cheering for me and that many people – some who I didn’t even know – believed in me. It gave me permission to believe that things could get better for me.
And so, on Thanksgiving, I want to say thank you. Thank you to those of you who have read my blog for years and thank you to those of you who have just started. Thank you for everyone who encouraged me to keep writing. Much more than any therapist or exercise program or self-help book, it was writing that helped me to heal.
And for that, I am so grateful.