Family Of Women

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Change, Part 2: Coping With Change


Change is something many of us are alternatively looking forward to, fearing, seeking, or avoiding. But you know what? Change doesn’t care. It just goes about its business. Change is a part of living.

In this blog, a woman shares about her process through a major life change.

My husband of almost 20 years got cancer; he was diagnosed in December and during the next six months, the only time I got any sleep was when he was in the hospital. When you have to do something, you just do it, even uncomfortable things like changing his dressings. He passed away the following May, leaving a financial hole – a couple of mortgages on the house, no life insurance, and no backup plan.

His death and the financial situation created a lot of chaos. If I had dealt with it alone, I would have been totally overwhelmed.

How many people could I phone and ask for help? At least a hundred. Fortunately, different communities stepped up – including communities he was involved in. My community includes men, who’ve come through with flying colors. Women helped me go through papers, pack, load up and take things away. The community had a fundraiser to pay our mortgage when he was sick. I had my women around me, and that’s what kept me grounded.

This quote touches my heart.

“Call it a clan, call it a network, call it a tribe, call it a family. Whatever you call it, whoever you are, you need one.” – Jane Howard

I sold my house and subsequently ended up moving 4 times in a little over 2 years. I’ve always believed there’s a silver lining in every situation. Selling the house was a good thing in the long run – being able to see past the selling of the house and the changes required; bills were paid.

I still have some challenges, including trying not to stay bitter. My biggest struggle is forgiving him as I’m still dealing with the debts 3 years later.

So many things helped me to deal with this change.

I was open and let people in to help, without embarrassment and with openness and vulnerability. I had women and men help me in the most unexpected ways. One of the men came from another city to cut my lawn. I really learned that if you don’t allow someone to help you, you are taking away their chance to give and “have all the feels” around it.

Humor helped! I was able to laugh at a zucchini packed in a container that went into storage. There were multiple boxes marked miscellaneous – yes, they were labeled, “miscellaneous.”

I learned in the Family of Women that choosing my mindset is important.

I chose gratitude. The day the community helped with the garage sale I cried a lot – tears of gratitude. And laughed. I saw the back wall of the garage for the first time in years.

I learned to ask myself – what makes me happy? This experience helped me decide what I really needed to keep. My biggest mindset was “It’s just stuff.”

Looking back, all that’s happened changed my outlook on life and relationships.

If I could, I would say to other women:

Women sometimes get blown away when they get attention from a potential partner. Look closely. Don’t settle for “something is better than nothing.”

Make sure that your finances are on the table. Some men won’t share their finances. If they won’t share their financial statement with you, run.
Really look. Take the blinders off.

If you’ve got a mortgage on your house, make sure there’s life insurance to cover it. The last thing you want to do is to worry about how to pay the mortgage or pay to bury a spouse. Make sure you’ll be financially taken care of if something happens. Have your girlfriends with you, the ones that will tell you the truth.

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