After my husband died, I trashed my writing — Journals — An accumulation of spiral bound notebooks, one for each month of each year for four years. And a YA novel manuscript I was working on.

I blamed my husband’s dying on my writing.

I told myself, Self, if you hadn?t spent so much time writing, you might have noticed your husband was sick.

Then I shut myself in a room in my house and scribbled in spiral bound notebooks.

Nothing made sense.

And the only person who could save me from Self was dead.

I suffered unspeakable grief.

One day I got out of bed and rearranged the furniture in every room of the house.

I moved a dresser out of one bedroom and into another bedroom.

I moved a computer and desk into an upstairs hallway.

I moved a dining room table into the living room, divided six chairs and hid one in a different room in every room of the house.

I moved the baby grand piano.

I pushed a sofa, a loveseat, a coffee table and a hassock out of the living room and into the dining room.

I moved the kitchen table out of the kitchen, stacked it and its four matching chairs in the garage.

I couldn?t bear the sight of empty chairs.

I emptied bookshelves, carted books from upstairs, downstairs; books from downstairs, upstairs.

They were His books and I couldn?t bear to see them.

What I couldn?t carry, I dragged, pushed, carted or rolled.

For months a television set the size of a Miata rested on the floor in an upstairs hallway. It was too heavy to lift and I was too tired to drag it. Again.

One afternoon a man I hired to shampoo the carpet arrived. I gave it to him. Free.

I made a rule: What Self can?t move, Self can’t own.

Every time my adult son paid a visit, he noticed the furniture in another room in the house had been moved.

One afternoon he stopped by and exclaimed,


I couldn?t help myself.

Have you ever studied a mother bird building a nest?

Have you ever noticed her reaction if she suspects one twig has been disturbed?

She squawks, puts up a terrible fuss, begins dismantling her nest; works at putting it back (helter-skelter) together again.

Looking back, I realize in my bird-sized brain, Ed?s dying represented the twig and the nest my world. Or maybe it?s the other way around. I was a feathered frazzled fractured yellow-eyed wreck. In my own defense, I was just trying to make my world right again.

It is two and one half years since Ed?s death. I?ve come a long way, baby.

I?ve learned there is no right way, no wrong way to mourn. It’s okay to laugh, cry, sing, and dance, again. There’s no need to feel guilty.

I?ve learned being a widow sucks and my life as I knew it will never be the same; no one will ever understand. Though they say, I understand.

I?ve learned I will miss Edward Louis Sclier all the days of my life, that when someone we love dies, the love doesn?t.

I?ve learned I am strong as Hercules, funny as Lucille Ball, that I can take my home apart and put it back together the way it was. Well, almost. I’ve learned I can laugh out loud and wiggle myself free when I find myself trapped in a corner behind an armoire.

I?ve learned the valuable lesson when you experience the death of a spouse, like it or lump it ,life goes on.

I?ve learned love is never having to say goodbye to the one you love, that I will love Edward Louis Sclier with all my heart and all my soul, forever. I?ve also learned His spirit is with me, and it will be with me all the days of my life.

I?ve done a lot of strange things since His death. I?ve made a lot of strange mistakes.

I?ve learned about grief — Can?t go around it, can?t go over it, can?t run away from it — You gotta go through it.

I’ve learned I’m okay with that.

I?m getting on with the rest of my life, rearranged the furniture one last time.

I’ve learned life is hard being without the man I love, but in order to survive, I must accept it.

Linda Della Donna is a freelance writer and a widow. She supports new widows through the grief process. And she wants every widow to know we?re not alone. You can learn more about Della Donna by visiting her web site – — or reading her blog — If you like this article, feel free to contact Della Donna at Perhaps you have a writing assignment. Della Donna is waiting to hear from you.

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Linda Della-Donna

Linda Della-Donna is founder and director of Griefcase is a nonprofit organization. Linda Della Donna supports widows going through the grief process. Della Donna makes her home 50 miles north from where the World Trade Center used to be. Email Linda Della Donna at

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