In January 2006, Alanna Parke Kvale, a freelance writer who makes her living creating newsletters, ads, brochures and other content for businesses, started writing a personal blog. And why not? After all, Januaries are always times for new beginnings.
But perhaps it was the topic of the blog that was most significant: widowhood.
Here’s a bit of what she wrote in that first post:
When it comes to writing, everyone says to write what you know; write from your own experiences. And for many years, I did just that, and tried to find the humorous side to everything in my life. Marriage, kids, everyday life, no problem.
I even found the humorous angle to one of my own passions–crochet. I wrote about being a Craft Junkie. I actually wrote several articles, exploring all the angles of Craft Junkie-ism.
I’ve written about the Internet, video games and couch potatoes, all from personal experience, mind you. Recently, I even wrote an article about car repairs and managed to find, yet again, the funny side, despite the expense.
Lately, however, it’s difficult to find any humor in my present circumstances. Because, you see, I’m a widow and Widowhood is not funny, not even a little bit. I’ve looked carefully at every angle, searching for any clue to humor in the subject, but there’s nothing there. It’s simply not funny. What I have learned is that Life is funny; sometimes even hilarious, rib-tickling, sidesplitting, knee-slapping funny. But Death is not, no way, never going to happen, simple as that.
I don’t mean to sound maudlin, it’s just that a writer simply must write about everything they experience. I’ve journaled during this entire period of my life and even that personal writing has been very painful. I tell myself that I need to write about this experience, for myself as well as for others who’ve suffered a loss, or will in the near future. No one can avoid it forever. As yet, I have not found the courage to sit down and put it into words I can publish. It hurts too damn much. I keep thinking soon, I’ll be able to do it. I have to do it. Then the sadness overpowers me and I push the work away, unable yet again to face the pain. It’s hard enough to talk about it, let alone write it down for others to read.
It’s brought with it a depression I’m finding it difficult to deal with. I have wondered if distance from the actual event, time-wise, will help. I’m in the second year, as I write this, but have found it no easier than during the first year. In the first year of widowhood, you’re in pain, but also in shock, so it’s like being anesthetized. The shock wears off in the second year, but the pain is still there, as well as the sadness.
Alanna has been blogging about widowhood ever since. Her blog is, in a way, a journal of her life. And once she got started, she wrote a book about her experiences, also titled “Widowhood Is Not Funny.” I invited her to talk about the experience, and her thoughts are below. Enjoy!
Becoming a Widow Offers You the Opportunity to Become a Trailblazer
by Alanna Parke Kvale
“Rather than following where the path may lead, go instead where there is no path and leave a trail.” Anonymous
This feels like our lives from day one of widowhood. We can’t find the path, we’re totally lost in the wilderness.
Others hold our hands for a few weeks, or if we’re lucky, for a few months. But then they wander off, following their own path and we’re left on our own, finding a brand new path and wondering where it will lead. It’s overgrown and frighteningly narrow, only room for one now.
The temptation is to turn back and try to find the others again. We don’t want to be alone, but there’s no one in sight now and we must continue on this narrow path by ourselves.
We have no map, no guidebook and it’s scary all alone. We’re not the first to do this and we won’t be the last.
It’s time to be courageous, find our own way and blaze a trail for those who follow. Let’s not leave our fellow pioneer women alone now. Let’s leave a trail, a map, a how-to guide, something that tells them they are not alone. Let’s help them find their way.
For myself, I’ve taken up that challenge and written a guidebook to try and help. Hopefully, it will make that trail a little wider and a little easier to follow.
Widowhood Is Not Funny is now available for all e-readers and to read instantly on your computer. Whether you prefer a Kindle, Nook, Sony reader or iPad format, you can quickly download your preferred version, and start enjoying this book. Find it online at Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Sony and Lulu.
Alanna invites you to visit her blog, post a comment and tell her how you are doing.