Letter from the Editor
We’ve made it to March, the month of the spring solstice; the days are becoming longer and the nights a bit shorter. The earth is beginning to show signs of waking up after the winter, with those irrepressible crocuses and daffodils in bloom. There may be nothing in nature that I admire more than that little brave crocus that pops up through the snow, looking so fragile and yet absolutely defiant that the winter will not win.
We, too, after the loss of a spouse, have been through not only a physical winter, but an emotional one. We are familiar with cold and dark, and have had some days when we felt fragile. Yet, here we still are. We have survived. Perhaps against great odds, we have found that we still have the capacity to respond to sun and warmth, to recognize that there is still so much good in our world. We can continue to grow and blossom.
With this awareness of our capacity to live despite our loss comes a question of how we should channel our energy. One of the big problems we face is that we still have a lot to give, but we no longer have that readily available person who needs and welcomes our love and talents. Emotional investment needs to be reciprocated. It is very important for quality of life to contribute somehow to our community. The community could be family, friends, workplace, neighborhood, church/temple, or town. After the loss of a spouse, we need to find a niche where our talents meet the world’s needs. It may take some soul searching and experimenting to help us define our talent. Then, it may take some discernment to determine where we can fit in to be helpful. If we can find that niche, we will give something of value, and be appreciated and recognized for it.
It is very common in the grieving process to focus on all that we’ve lost. A spouse is not only a companion, but also filled many roles. Perhaps s/he managed the money, household chores, the social events, or helped with caring for family members. We scramble to try to learn how to do all those things. But the other side of the coin is that our spouse was the recipient of our love and talents. In many ways, what we give defines who we are – a great cook or gardener, a compassionate caregiver, the prankster, or Mr. Fix-It. We have lost one more thing – our role as defined by the contributions we made to the family or community. This is why, when we start to feel the energy of springtime, it’s unsettling because we are not sure where to share our talents that define us and make us feel valued.
I’m very excited about this issue. Amy Barry joins us to address parenting after the loss of a spouse. Lisa Saunders recounts the inside story of the beloved, widowed Captain von Trapp, who marries Maria of The Sound of Music fame. Patricia Chaffee explores another path to peace and joy – living small. Her book review, Stitches, touches me as a quilter, as we can put ourselves back together again. We meet some inspiring widows: Courtenay McKelvey, who found a lifeline while volunteering; Diane Fasching, who honors her husband’s life by fundraising for Parkinson’s Disease research, and Suzanne O’Brien, who remembers her one true love. Rosemary Collins, RDN, gives ideas for 3 great meals. Jane Milardo, LFMT, introduces us to online dating. I’ve explored etiquette in different houses of worship, to facilitate seeking Deity. We also explore the role of mediums in spirituality.
I hope that the articles provide a spark of creativity within you so that your spirit shares in the rejuvenating energy of the world’s springtime. If the earth can thaw, and bloom, and flower after blizzards and ice storms, surely our hearts can open to the possibilities that may lie ahead for us.
Dr. Joanne Z. Moore,