So, something’s kind of got my goat… I’ve been seeing promos all week for Jennifer Aniston’s new movie. It is apparently about a recently widowed advice guru who’s out of his element or something and then meets her…and I’m guessing POW! There’s a happily ever after. Now, I’m not bashing Jen Aniston or the new film. My beef is with this idea that’s been floating around in films. I’ve seen several recently about widows/widowers and their journey – well a Hollywood version of the journey – and that’s what’s getting to me. In the films I’ve seen the young thirtyish recently widowed guy or gal(most often with no children) who goes through losing a spouse and then finds a new love and moves on – tearfully sometimes, but on they move.
Now, I choose these movies for the obvious reason – it’s about being widowed. I want to find some guidance, some hope maybe for my own life…widow escapism through movies. I’m sure it’s just one of the ways I process my loss. I watch movies that touch on my story a bit and it’s cathartic for me. The only problem is that I’m not even close to the characters in the movies. I’m in my forties, I have kids (who aren’t’ perfect movie kids and have issues because their dad died), I am neither rich nor stunningly beautiful – so, doomed I sit, or at least that’s how it feels by the end of the movie.
I have worked hard toward healing. I have done grief therapy, support and cried more hours then I can count. I have passed from complete numbness to relatively competent again in daily life and I take care of myself and my family – but not once has a handsome man come out of nowhere to rescue me or even say hello. It just doesn’t happen that way. I know many women who have been widowed that moved through raising their kids alone and woke up one day alone and wondered where the time went. I don’t think we ever think after our spouse died that we would still be alone years later. I do know that even early on in my grief, I even thought there would be someone else down the road…isn’t that what everyone told me? – “Dave would want you to move on, to be happy”. Isn’t that the hope? (see the previous blog) I heard that so much. Now over four years later, I sit here ALONE, not a nibble, not even a moment where I thought someone was interested. It may be me…maybe the aura I put off – most days I still feel married, but he’s just not here anymore. Maybe I have been too wrapped up in trying to make sure my kids are ok? Maybe I am just so wrapped up in making it from one day to the next? – but let me tell you the loneliness is palatable (I quote Carrie Bradshaw). Every night I crawl into bed alone and a wave of loneliness, exhaustion and despair washes over me. Now although I am not the movie star, I am not unattractive or a complete social outcast…I’m pretty normal. Who knows, maybe that’s it. I am normal. Hollywood is abnormal. I just wish there was a movie about the real struggle, the real despair and then, who knows, a not so lonely existence – or how about someone that does make it on their own happily? That would be even more cathartic and at the end I wouldn’t feel like such a loser because four years after my husband died I’m still alone. Maybe people around me wouldn’t think it’s the norm for folks to just jump into the next relationship – well, not the healthy norm…that grief is a process that takes a lifetime. Maybe if art followed life, we would begin to see the value in process, balance and good (well, somewhat ok) mental health – and our relationships and families would be the true beneficiaries. But, that isn’t really escapism anymore is it? It isn’t the happy ending wrapped up in a pretty 90 minute bow – It’s just my truth.