Meet Alicia O’Cull. I met Alicia in an airport on the way to Camp Widow. The back story is that we knew each other from (you guessed it) Twitter and through a serious of direct messages, realized that she was going to be on the same flight as my friend and I!
Today is Alicia’s first anniversary as a widow. A landmark in the grief world. A devastating one, that is. Read her letter to herself below and I do believe you’ll have insight into a year in the life of a widow. Besides that, leave her some love for today.
You are one helluva woman. The next year of your life is gonna suck but
it’s gonna be great too. I know you think you are a totally different
person but you are not. You are still you. You have changed and your
soul is deeper but you are still you. I know you think you are a failure
because you can’t seem to pull it all together to return to work. But
eventually you will. You need this time to heal and care for the kids. I
know you think that the better parent died but you are an awesome mom.
The kids are OK because of you. You will endure PTO meetings, parent
conferences, preschool graduation, first day of Kindergarten and grief
therapy sessions with them. And you both will be stronger because you
faced these obstacles instead of avoiding them.
You are going to be shocked by the things you are able to do. You will
plan a funeral, burial and kick ass headstone to honor the man you love.
You will go to the spot of your first date, your last date, your
favorite restaurants, his hometown and you will enjoy your time there in
remembrance of the love you shared. You will take the kids to his work
and let them tour the factory and see what he did and meet his friends.
And you are going to travel. With the help of your family, you will go
places. You will visit Siesta Key FL at the one month mark and discover
a poem that described him to a tee. In the spring, you will take the
kids to Disney World as you promised. It will be heartbreaking to go
without him but you know he wants you to go.
In the summer, you will take
the kids to his hometown in Michigan to visit his parents and
grandmother. You will make new memories for the kids so they will know
where there dad came from. You will go to the beach where he took you on
your fist trip there and bring back rocks for your memorial garden. And
the most important trip you will take will be in August when you go to
Camp Widow in San Diego, CA.
Not only will travel across the country by
yourself, you will meet some amazing women and men that will change your
journey through widowhood and awaken your spirit to your new life.
In hindsight, your life looks pretty good. But there will be days when
you think you can’t take another step. And there will be days that you
just can’t do it anymore. But you ask for help and push through the pain. Your family and close friends will be invaluable as they help you with your struggles. On one lonely night, you will Google the word widow and find the most amazing
women that will support you on this journey and encourage you to keep
moving forward. I will warn you that everything in the house is going
to break – the washer, dryer, dishwasher, a light fixture will catch
fire and the barn is going to collapse. But you are resourceful and you
will find a way to fix all this too.
You are one helluva woman. You will face the important days in your life
head on. The kids birthdays will be fun. Your anniversary is gonna suck
but you will survive because you made a plan to honor your marriage
instead of hide from it. You know that since you shared the same
birthday that it is going to be double hard. But you will spend a day in
tears and the next dancing the night away. And as you face the one year
mark, you will spend it in remembrance and thanksgiving to all those
that have helped you survive this last year.
You are one helluva woman. You are rocking it in widowhood. And I wish
you could see how you are gonna survive this. But just know this, you
will. You will keep moving forward and make a great life for you and the
Now on to Year 2!
I lost my husband to metastic melanoma at 36 years old.
My life and dreams were rocked to the core but now I have re-emerged into living again.
I have an unceasing positive attitude and always wear a giant smile.
I’m a true southern woman with an unquenchable zest for life.
**note from Brenda – sorry for the formatting issues**