When Someone You Love Dies, There is No Such Thing As Moving On | Kelley Lynn | Ted Talk

When someone you love dies, there is no such thing as moving on. Kelley Lynn does an amazing job sharing the truths and the ridiculous viewpoints that come from people’s mouths who have never been widowed.

This almost exact message, I have shared with the A Widows World and Hope for Widows Foundation communities. Widows and Widowers when faced with this number one stressful and life altering loss, do not need the additional secondary losses and judgments that come after. If you are widowed and have not experienced the secondary losses, you are one of the few.

Thank you Kelley Lynn, for sharing that grief is not something any of us will ever move on from. It is outrageous how others project onto the grieving – what they themselves do not know, do not understand, can not comprehend for their reality. How lucky are they to have an opinion without an understanding? The forums I follow as a widow advocate – offer much in the way of support – but it also elicits anger from many of us going through widowhood and learning of what our fellow widow and widower friends are facing themselves. Each of us are in our own stage of grief, timeframe, progression, however the connection is so understood and like none other out there. Widow communities are growing, popping up and being created each day, and the voice of the widowed heart is being heard not only by those who have a public platform, like Sheryl Sandburg  sharing openly of her loss, but also by many within our communities that are getting their message out there. It is amazing and will offer much in the way of growing support, that has previously not been as visible or available!

Some of the things stated to me right away after my husband died, felt egregious, my defenses were down and I kept getting hammered. The hate that people placed on me gave me a backbone very quickly and made me decide they could continue on with their narrow minded focus – but I would show them that grief has no end, but happiness can be present and found again. That is exactly what I have done, am doing and will continue to do and share. When one person questions why, you say, why not? Did you know “Widow Blinders” are a thing? When widowed, the blinders are removed, popped up and life is seen through the waves of sadness, but also the realization of how really small our time is here on earth. Instead of wasting it, live. Take chances, speak your truth and manifest the life of your design. By doing so, you are honoring yourself and your spouse – creating a legacy that others get to watch. Sitting on the sidelines of life waiting – never did a thing for anyone.

I think we have all seen what Patton Oswalt just went through with the firing squad of people who simply are ignorant. I hope they never have to get it, that they never go through such tragedy. I hope they learn from the masses of widowed however, close to 14 million in the United States alone. I hope we teach them how to live. Many widowed often ask, when is it ok to date, when should I start putting my heart out there again? Many long for touch, connection, conversation. I have always said, when you feel ready to try. You may find out you are not ready at all, you may know that, but if you just need to get out and explore connection – you go ahead and do that, do you!

Be a friend to a widow, continue to be a friend. Invite them and include them, speak the name of their spouse who has passed. Widowhood is not contagious. It is not a plague. I am sorry for those who don’t know what to do, but don’t shut widows out because you are not equipped. Get equipped – try to understand or learn from them or others like us. Don’t ever say, “Get over it, or get on with your life”. Be a positive and uplifting force in their life, just show up, pop in and include them.

I challenge all of you widowed to start sharing your hearts, start sharing these types of videos, articles and platforms, start speaking your truths and educating the ignorant. Ignorance really is bliss. We can be the change to help others who have come before and who will come after us.

 

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National Widow’s Day aka National Keeper’s of the Flame Day

Tomorrow is National Widow’s Day! This is insignificant to many, but so significant to millions upon millions who have been, are and continue to be affected. This is significant to each of you here.

You likely know, but for those I have some insights:

  • Did you know that every year, there are about 800,000 widowed?
  • Did you know that in the United States alone there are 14 million Widows and growing, 250 million some worldwide.
  • Did you know the average age of a widow is 59. Shocking isn’t it? Not shocking to many of you!

I was 26 and many I know also so very young, though no matter the age and time, it is always horrible, horrific. I even know many who have been widowed twice!

You are on this page, so many of you know there is very little support for widows and the children affected. Even within the United States, I could not believe there was no protection, help, support when going through this. I wasn’t listed as the beneficiary on the life insurance because we hadn’t known or thought to change it, so young (so I did not receive it – this should automatically go to the spouse!) My name was not on my car title that my husband bought me as a surprise Christmas gift (so I had to pay to change it)! I was taken to court because ownership of my husbands truck was being questioned (unreal right, as we paid for it monthly), that still offered not protection from this even becoming a part of the judicial system! I was told he had health insurance and then found out he did not (though he could have been covered under mine) and so many things that were a nightmare on top of my nightmare. How I held it together at that time, I do not know. I was skin and bone, stressed and lost. Can you relate? Likely you can to some of this.

Many woman face these same things and much much worse, YES worse. I have heard their journey’s, their stories, their hurts and their complete and utter misfortunes…that each has and continues to RISE above.

So, when you know someone widowed, be kind and caring to them because not only are they suffering extreme loss, they can also be up against so many other secondary losses. Families lashing out, societal and friends judgements, support systems going away because grief is not something others have the capacity to handle or process, greed, etc.

One woman I am friends with is fighting for custody of her children with her extended family, I know many others where this has happened as well. She is a great mom, a professional woman, a visibly great woman, a kind woman and this just astounds me that it can even take place…but that is the system and due process unfortunately. Where is the support and protection? Our government needs to step in and show up for the protection and superseding and overruling legislation that should cover a spouse in this instance.

Did you know that in some countries, widows are in effect “thrown away” or chastised because of this misfortune? Sickening. Woman automatically accused of so called killing their spouse, even having nothing to do with their death. Woman being told that they need to be cleansed and so men treat them as prostitutes! It sickens me! It makes me want to take a stand.

So, as we approach this day that may be insignificant to some, consider every day and the struggle that so many are affected by.

Widowhood is a journey, it is not a sentence however and it should not be treated by society as one.

It is a journey of strength, sorrow, gratitude, persistence and a pathway to reach and share our hearts with others who come before and after us. It is a sisterhood, a community of woman rising above challenges and showing others we are not going to take the constraints and bull others place upon us. We get to be exactly who we are, our sentence is keeping the flame alive…sharing our strength and our removal of rose colored glasses and seeing the world in a much clearer way than ever before. Our pain is our beauty and the brokenness that goes with us is beautiful! I carry mine every single day and I am proud of it. I hope you carry yours proudly and show people that there are NO LIMITS! There is not limit to grief and there is not limit to how far you will go!

Support the widows in your life today and everyday with kindness, encouragement and compassion. Tomorrow, tell someone you know that you see them and their struggles and you are proud of all they are doing and coming through…because there are days they have not wanted to come through, but they keep going!

So here is to all of my widow friends! I see you, I hear you and I feel your hearts and your journey! You are all beautiful and so take this day and every day and you own it, all of the sadness but also all of the glory ahead knowing you are on your way!!

I actually coined a new title for widows (since none of us can stand this term) See us for us and as “Keepers of the Flame”.

Here is to all of you amazing ladies and men finding your new and carrying alongside of you a legacy that is meant to burn bright!

“I am a Widow, they say. I like to call us “Keepers of the Flame”, instead. Our light flickers, almost feels like its going to blow out, but it keeps burning. It starts burning stronger and stronger as we navigate through the unknown. We become the keepers of not only our flame, but our loved one, in heavens flame. We keep their flame going through sharing who they are, what they have taught us and their flame keeps us knowing they would want us to keep going. We are the keepers of the flame for the woman and men who came before us and the woman and men who come after us. Our flames together, grow stronger, burn brighter. Together we find a new burning and brightness that we all deserve, are all worthy of. Be a light seeker and start burning your flame so bright others will want what you have, knowledge and wisdom are power.” Tanya Smith, Blogger at A Widows World and President of Addelise Inc.

I hope you all love the image I created for this day. Please share it and make sure to #awidowsworldkeepersoftheflame

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