About a Girl | Thankful Thursdays 09.22.2016

About a Girl, Thankful Thursdays | In Jennie's Kitchen

“I’m sitting at Outdated in Kingston, wearing a hipster hat, eating a warm quinoa bowl, and hating myself…because, I’m sitting at Outdated in Kingston, wearing a hipster hat, eating a warm quinoa bowl. Kidding, mostly. I feel like a such a weight has been lifted since leaping to live the life I’ve wanted deep down for years.”

That’s how the Facebook update on my personal page began a few days ago. It was during a moment of clarity, the kind where you take a deep breath, and at the very moment stop doubting yourself. I seem to be having more of those moments these days, and for that I’m very thankful.

It’s not easy navigating a new road, especially without a co-pilot. There are some things, okay, many things, in life that benefit from time. Widowhood is one of them. Finding a comfort in this role isn’t something I ever expected. It took two crushing relationships to realize that being a widow is not just about loss.

Being a widow is also about love. About being loved, and everything that means.

The trust, love, and friendship we had was hard won. We tested the strength of our vows, long before they were ever exchanged. Above all, though, we had a connection. The inexplicable kind that I will forever cherish.

He was not perfect.

I am not perfect.

We weren’t always perfect together.

And recognizing that, as we often did, is what made the sum of our relationship perfect. Perfect in its imperfections is what I always say.

But let’s get back to the word widow. Merriam Webster has the obvious definition, but there’s also this, relating to publishing:

“a last word or short last line of a paragraph falling at the top of a page or column and considered undesirable.”

Why is a single word, left on its own so undesirable? Did this feeling about it evolve from the sadness and negative connotation of being a single person, with no partner to make it feel whole? Why do we couple even when it clearly isn’t the right fit? When will we recognize that sometimes it’s better to be a me, instead of a we?

About a Girl, Thankful Thursdays | In Jennie's Kitchen

It’s taken 5 years to realize that there’s strength and value in being a widow. Sure there’s loss, but there’s also love—being a widow is a reminder of just how much I was loved by someone.

In the case of widowhood, you appear to be a “me” to the rest of the world. One half of the “we” is invisible to the naked eye. And yet they live on in everything you do. From the side of the bed you still sleep on, to the thoughts you have when shelling pistachios (his favorite nut), to finding his stash of baseball caps you unknowingly stored in the basement next to your canning jars (it made no sense to me, either).

It’s taken five years, and two heartbreaks to realize this, but being a widow is better than being in an unhappy relationship. I may never find another person to love me that fiercely again, to be so devoted that they find strength in the good, and work together through the tough times. But it doesn’t mean I can’t love myself that deeply. Maybe that’s the lesson I’ve been trying to learn for almost 43 years old. I’m worth loving. It’s a good place to start this next chapter.

19 Comments

  • Sally

    Very beautiful post and photo of the three of you. Good for you all three. Are you living in your upstate New York spot this fall. My husband is from upstate and I lived there for a brief time. Enough to experience the bbrrrr..of winter and humidity of the summer. I do love the autumn up there…would love to do it again….my favorite time.

  • DebP

    Thank you. I lost my husband last year due to a sudden illness, totally unexpected and so very devastating. It’s been a tough year, to say the least, but I am moving forward. Losing the love of your life is the loss off a dream, it isn’t supposed to be this way, yet it is. Not everyone is lucky enough to have that one love that is so deep, it can never be replaced. Knowing what I know now, would I have married him again? Absolutely, in a heartbeat. My best to you, and to your girls.

  • Connie C.

    Oh Jennie– focus on yourself for sure and your girls. My mom was widowed for 22 years and then met the love of her life at age 46. We each married our respective spouses the same year. 27 years later we both are still married to our favorite guys! Love is still out there for you!

  • Jennie

    Deb, I say the same thing about Mikey. I would do it all over, even these mucky parts, if that was the only I could experience the happy times. xo-Jennie

  • Jennie

    Yes, Sally, we are living back at our house upstate. Funny, last winter was mild, and we weren’t here. This year it’s supposed to crazy cold again. Being a life-long New Yorker, even as a city girl, I’m used to the cold winters (and love them). xo-Jennie

  • Carol Harlig

    Jennie,
    In getting lost you will find yourself so throw away the roadmaps and chart your course for the unknown. Besides, all that you need to know is already inside you. Oh, and one more thing: you don’t need another person to validate yourself.

    Good luck on your voyage of discovery!
    Carol

  • Jan

    I’m proud of you. I’ve been with you for a long time and I’ve watched you evolve into a strong woman. Oh, you have always been strong, but when you lost Mike, it seemed it was so hard to go on and we all wept with you and prayed for you and encouraged you…..and now I see that you have regained your strength and are ready to live life again.

  • Jan

    I’m proud of you. I’ve been with you for a long time and I’ve watched you evolve into a strong woman. Oh, you have always been strong, but when you lost Mike, it seemed it was so hard to go on and we all wept with you and prayed for you and encouraged you…..and now I see that you have regained your strength and are ready to live life again.