Very few things force you to confront change more than when you are suddenly, unexpectedly confronted with the death of a spouse with whom you expected to share many long, happy years together, especially in retirement, but that happened to me. No one ever plans to be widowed when one retires. I had to confront that and make many changes in my lifestyle.
I believed people perceived me very differently after my husband’s death than they did when my husband was alive, and it was not on a continuum in the direction of positive, including many of his family members.
I felt trapped in an alien world where all the rules had suddenly changed. I would have to reach into my inner most being, calling into play all of my strengths, my intelligence, even whatever wisdom I may have had, to figure out how I was going to navigate the rest of my life without ruining it. Ruin it, I could. If I was not careful, I had much to lose. Most of all, I had to change how I saw myself, less of a victim, and as a person confronted with just another challenge, not unlike challenges I have had to confront in the past. I realized this required an entirely new set of skills than the ones I was accustomed to using.[l1]
I reached deep into myself, to my most intimate being, where the core of my heart’s happiness lied: my love of God and my faith in Jesus Christ and the Holy Spirit (I come from a Catholic background); my love of music, (I play classical piano, more so when I was young), and my love of dogs, in particular, a breed of dog that I became committed to and was welcomed into its world of its breeders, something not easy to do. That beloved breed is the borzoi, also known as The Russian Wolfhound or The Russian Grayhound, in Russia.
Today, eleven years after the tragically sad, premature death of my darling husband, my Soul Mate, the man who made it possible for me to have my borzoi, a man all deserving of my love and accolades, the man whom all of my borzoi loved, I know I have changed without seeming to have changed. I truly have changed how I live and how I see the world.