I was a “we” for almost exactly half of my life. I met my now deceased husband when I was 20 and he passed away just a few months after my 39 birthday. All of my actual adult life I was a “we”. You know what I’m taking about…”we are buying a new couch”, “we have plans- so sorry” or “we don’t like that restaurant.”
Being a “we” brings a level of comfort many of us don’t really think about. When you’re part of a “we” it is known immediately who will accompany you to a party, gathering or event. If we have to go alone everyone knows straightaway that our “we” must be out of town or at another activity with the kids. There is a level of comfort there. That was me…swimming blissfully unaware in the “we pool of happiness” then…BAM. It was only me. And it SUCKED.
I can only describe walking into certain places and events those first few months like I was walzing in wearing my underwear or even less. It’s as though someone had stripped all of who I was away and there was only this shell of me, my ever present satchel of grief and the “you poor thing” looks that people were giving me. I was now a “me” who looked like crap, couldn’t eat (who could eat while the “we” people starred at you??) and felt brutally exposed in whatever environment I was in. All the confidence I had spent nearly 40 years cultivating was slashed. It was unlike any kind of humiliation I’d ever experienced. I constantly felt raw and exposed.
(I don’t write this to make anyone feel bad about how they looked at me or treated me during that time. It’s human nature. I get it. I’ve done it to others. It’s part of belonging to the crappy young widow club.)
I realize now, 10+ months down the road, that I had to go through the “we” humiliation to become a quality “me”. Somedays I had to stand in a room (or wedding reception or beach) full of “we” to see that I was strong enough to be just “me.” It’s still not always easy or fun. There are days I ache for that feeling of “we.” Days I would give most anything to get that “we” feeling back. Defining this new “me” has not been simple and I’ve certainly lost my footing a time or two.
What I now understand is that the more time I put into being a praying “me”, to owning “me” to growing “me”, the more prepared I am if the time ever comes that I get be a “we” again. For now I embrace the promise of Jeremiah 29:11 and keep walking (sometimes trudging) forward in faith.
2 thoughts on “From We to Me ”
Heather, your feelings regarding going from “we” to “me” are remarkably exactly the way I felt following my divorce from my high school/college sweetheart. That was way back in 1981. The divorce was initially not my idea, and I carried that shame with me for a while. My teaching job in WV was my lifesaver. When working with students, there is no time to feel sorry for oneself, as you know. A single female teacher at my school kept me busy going to aerobics classes at the Huntington YMCA during the week and to church and lunch afterwards on Sunday. Thank God for her. She is now in NC and I’m here, but we keep in touch. 😊
Rely on your family and friends, and just maybe the best is yet to be!❤️
You nailed it, Girl! It is a difficult place to be in and it takes time to sort everything out. Some things just don’t ever get sorted out… things just are what they are and you accept them and move on. It’s a lonely place and though friends and family try to help (sometimes too much…because no one really knows what to do), it all comes down to YOU having to change..to accept…and to pick up the pieces and put them together a different way…..your way and in your time.. This first year is definitely the hardest for all of those reasons I don’t have to tell you..,,because now you know what each and every one of them are.
As you navigate this next year, some things will be surprisingly easier and some will be just as challenging as they have been this past year…just now you will be a little bit better equipped to handle those things.
I think you are doing great under the circumstances and I like that you are channeling some of your feelings in this way. I do think it could help other women that find themselves in this place to realize they are no so alone. Even after 20 years, reading your words takes me back to my own experiences as a young widow and you are spot on…I can relate to every single thing you say, think, and feel! It’s raw and it’s real! 😘