Widower Wednesday: Be Grateful

Widower Wednesday

I apologize for the lack of Widower Wednesday columns the last couple of weeks. Between family, work, and personal issues there hasn’t been any time for writing. And, yes, that includes the widower dating guide I’ve been working on. Thankfully, everything that’s holding me back should be off my plate after a brief trip to Colorado this weekend and these columns will resume and the book will get finished.

Even though I haven’t been writing columns the last couple weeks, I’m still finding a few moments here and there to respond to emails from GOWs, WOWs, and widowers. One of the things I’ve noticed is that after something bad happens in life, it’s often difficult for them to see how many blessings they still have.  Whether it be the death of a loved one, job loss, bankruptcy, or some other disaster it’s easy to think about what we no longer have instead of what we are still blessed with.

For example, when I was laid off from a job several years ago, I think I spent several weeks crazy with worry about how I was going to provide for my family and whether or not I could find one that was as good as the one I had. It took some time to realize that though finding job was going to take some effort, thanks years of smart budgeting by Marathon Girl we were on fairly good financial footing and there wasn’t a need to panic. I just had to put my head down and get to work finding another one. (I ended up with several job offers about a month later.)

When I lost my wife and daughter, the holiday season was just ramping up. I remember walking around a mall during the busy shopping season and seeing how happy everyone looked. More than anything I wanted to be as happy as they seemed but didn’t think it would ever happen. Then one day I overheard a co-worker at work talking to someone about the divorce he was going through. The whole process was bankrupting him and it was looking like despite his best efforts, he was only going to see his four children every other weekend. His story made me realize that I wasn’t the only one with problems. Other people had their own challenges they were dealing with. As I took the hour-long drive home that afternoon, I started counting all the things I was grateful for and the blessings that I did have. It made a big difference in my day-to-day attitude.

So if you’re struggling with the loss of a loved one or a recent relationship that ended, take a moment and think about your blessings and all that you’re grateful for. Be grateful for life and the experiences it affords us. Give thanks for friends and family who are there to buoy us up when time are difficult. Be happy for jobs (even if they suck), hobbies, good health, good books, and good food. Take comfort in all the little things in life that we often overlook as we go about our busy lives. There are many small things that can make us smile and forget about our problems for a minute or two—if we let them.

Storms and hard times always pass. Even if everything we love and worked hard to build is destroyed, we have a chance to rebuild our lives and start anew. And with our knowledge and experiences, we can build something stronger and better than we had before.