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Friday, February 11, 2011

Approval ratings...

I don’t know if I’ve always been so concerned with obtaining the approval of others...probably, but it’s hard to remember how I was before Andie died. But now the need for approval is magnified. All it takes is one raised eyebrow or comment to send my confidence plummeting and I’m second guessing myself. I’ve had a really weird week. I haven’t been overly emotional or sad, but I have felt very “blah”. Others can sense it too. I’ve been asked several times this week, “Is everything okay? You seem…” I usually cut them off before they can finish the sentence. I plaster on the smile and make up some excuse as to why I look like I’m about to lose it. You know…fake it til you make it!

I haven’t blogged much and haven’t touched my journal in weeks. There hasn’t been much to write about because I’m back in that place of feeling like I’ve already written about everything that I’m feeling right now, it’s all just cycling back around again. Same song, second verse.

Still feeling completely shocked that this is permanent. Still missing the comfort of Andie’s touch. Still wishing he could see how much the girls are growing and changing. Still feeling ambivalent about my future. Still wanting to change everything about my life while at the same time wanting to change nothing at all. Still amazed at how almost everything I say, do, think, and feel revolves around him or reminds me of him. Still feeling like the person I once was died with him, and I’m having to rebuild and redefine who I am. Still angry that this new life was forced upon me and not anything I had a choice in. Still feeling like I’m right where I started. Just moving in circles and continuing to come back to the same place in this journey over and over again.

Some weird feelings of a strong desire to “move on” have hit me this week. I haven’t felt that before, but this week I have this need to abruptly slam the door on this life, dust off my hands, and try to forget it even existed. Then I feel guilty for thinking that way and become very sad and morose.
I’ve even thought about whether or not I want to date someone. Gasp!! Mainly because I’m so very lonely and I miss the attention and companionship of a man. And I’ve been reading about other widows who have found love again and have “success” stories- I want to be in that club instead of this club. And mostly because the topic is starting to come up in conversation with others much more frequently.
Subtle comments and hints from others about “when” not “if” I decide to find someone else are working their way into conversation. A few weeks ago someone even asked me when I’m going to stop wearing my ring. “When I don’t feel married anymore,” was my response. I feel like others want me to start moving in that direction so then I feel pressured to do so just to make them comfortable- this is where the approval issue comes in. Sometimes I even preemptively joke about it so it's not the proverbial elephant in the room- hoping to alleviate everyone else's discomfort about the question hanging in the air..."When will she move on?"
Wanting to please the world, as if to say, “See, I’m grieving the "right" way. I’ve mourned the requisite amount of time and am moving on in a healthy manner, thank you very much." Trying to strike the perfect balance, neither wallowing in my grief, nor pushing past it too fast. When I actually picture myself with someone else I have a strong urge to vomit, so I know I’m not ready for that.

I know I can only do this at my own pace, in my own way, (as most of you will probably comment) but my confidence in everything has been shaken and I’m left just wanting everyone’s approval. I’m terrified of making a wrong decision in any aspect of my life. Whether or not to date, whether or not to build a house or move, whether or not to stay in the same career, whether or not to spend money in a frivolous manner by completely redecorating my whole house, whether or not to allow my kids to have one more cupcake after dinner. I don’t want to be the girl that everyone whispers about in hushed conversation because they don’t agree with the decisions I’m making, or worse yet think I'm absolutely crazy.

I know I shouldn’t care what others think, but I do. I can’t help it.
I just want my approval ratings to be good…


  1. Well, in widow world I give you a 10/10 on awesomeness! :) But, I know exactly where you are! The day Dan died, the old me died. The confident, I don't care what you think, girl. Now, I'm constantly doubting myself, what I think, and what I do. I get afraid that everyone is judging me for things, and that they are upset or tired of my craziness. It's not fair! We already lost our lovies. Why did we have to lose ourselves too!? Bahhh, stupid widow world! Hang in there love! I have faith that one day, we'll figure this all out! Hugs and love to you and the girls!

  2. Love this post, and I love your writing voice - I feel like you take words from my thoughts so often. I can't imagine this shock ever wearing off, but I'm thankful to read and connect to your journey.

  3. Thanks for validating me ladies...I needed it! I knew my other widsters would understand...

  4. Brooke, I found your blog through a friend of mine. While I know not of what you're going through, I can say your writing truly touches me every time I read. No one else can be you or feel like you. My grandmother still wears her wedding ring despite being a widow for more than 30 years. I asked her why one day out of curiosity. Her response "I could never love anyone as much as him." She didn't care to try, either. I wish I had better or more healing words for you, but I hope you focus on you and your girls and the time you were blessed with your husband.

  5. Brooke, I lost my husband suddenly around the same time that you lost yours and I was also pregnant with our first child at the time. I am dealing with a baby and all the things you mentioned in your post.
    I haven't read any of the other comments, but all I can say is that I know exactly how you feel. You are certainly not alone.
    Here for you,