A few months after Howie passed away, I was shopping with Amanda and Lily and we came across an Ipad cover that said “When Life Hands You Lemons, Make Pink Lemonade”. We looked at each other and decided to buy it. We thought it was a good motto for us – and I loved the pink part since I am obviously I’m fond of the color.
While that is a lovely motto, making pink lemonade is easier said than done. I think everyone can understand the sadness and grief that comes with losing someone you love, especially someone so young.
But what is not expected and sometimes not understood is the anger. Being angry is the thing I struggled with the most.
I don’t even think I realized how angry I was, or that I was angry at all, until recently. But now I know it was there. When I think about it, I have every right to be angry. I lost my husband, the man that I loved. And my two little girls lost their father. This was not the life I signed up for. And it’s not fair. If I could stomp my feet like a two year old and scream “it’s not fair” over and over again I would. I think I was angry with the world.
My family just didn’t understand how I felt, even though they tried, and that made me angry. My friends, although they were so good to me, still had the happy lives that I used to have and that made me angry. I was angry when I heard people complain about little ridiculous problems – didn’t they realize that there were bigger problems in the world??? I was angry at happy couples I’d pass on the street. I was angry at the TV when I saw commercials with happy families on vacations. And I was angriest of all when I saw a father with daughters.
I think that the degree of my anger came and went over the years, but it was always there in some measure. I’m not even sure what it depended on. Over the last few months I have finally been dealing with it. I had what I call a bit of a “breakdown” about eight months ago. It wasn’t really a breakdown but that is what I like to call it. Believe it or not, I think it was the best thing that happened.
I guess that the last few years had taken their toll on me and I got to my saddest, angriest point.
With help, I came to realize that I was unhealthy, mentally as well as physically, and I needed to get out of that place. I believe that recognizing it was the thing that helped me get out. Once I knew it was there, I was able to control it. Not push it away like I used to, but deal with it. I understand now that it was holding me back.
It’s easy to be mad at the world when you have a very valid reason to be. But you can’t hold on to that anger forever or you will never move forward. And that is what I am doing now. I read on another widow blog that you don’t move on, you move forward. I love that.
I’m not saying “and then I lived happily ever after”. I will always have a tiny bit of that anger with me. I think it’s impossible not to. It is a part of me. But it does not overtake my life and consume me anymore.
I think this is why I decided to write this blog – I want to show that it is normal to feel anger (and sadness). It takes some longer than others, but when you learn to recognize it and strive towards being a healthier, happier person – you can do it. I am at the happiest I have been in 5 years. This is a really good thing.
I still have that Ipad cover. But now I feel like I am truly doing it, “Making Pink Lemonade Out of Lemons”. I want my daughters to know that we can get through anything and we do have a lot to be happy about, even if we all do it at our own pace.
Stacy was a stay-at-home mom/part-time preschool teacher whose life was turned upside down in 2011 when her husband passed away suddenly of a heart attack. She is raising her two fabulous daughters, now ages 18 and 20, who are turning into wonderful young women. In 2016, she started a blog about her experience as a young widow, The Widow Wears Pink. This led her to write for other publications including Huffington Post, Today.com, Scary Mommy, Grown & Flown, Kveller, Modern Loss, Thought Catalog, and many more. In 2018 she started Living the Second Act with fellow writer Mimi Golub. Today, Stacy and her daughters are happily living their “new normal” while always keeping her husband’s spirit alive.
Stacy, you are so right. I know it can eat you up but it’s hard to put on a happy face when you are not. You have had your share and now let it go. Howie is in your heart forever and nothing can change that. You know he is watching over all of you and it would make him sad if you didn’t move forward.
Since bringing Paul home to care for him last week I am starting to feel the same and I also will try not to let the anger (in my case over mismanagement in the health care system) eat at me. Your blog came at the perfect time for me! Thank you! Love and hugs to you!
I am in the place you were back then……I am trying but it’s not easy not being “angry” at times. Why did this happen to him, to me, to us & our family? This goes through my mind over & over. Each day trying to make sense of it all. This is all still so new to me…..your blog helps me to have hope that things will change in time.