Ep #56: Widows Like Us: An Interview with Dawne Long

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Ep #56: Widows Like Us: An Interview with Dawne Long

I am so excited to bring you an interview today with one of my former clients, Dawne Long. Dawne has learned a lot on her journey since losing her husband, and I encourage you to see what you can apply to your own life from her story. It’s easy for your brain to go to a place of comparing and despairing, especially when you hear how far Dawne has come, and so I urge you to use her story today as a way to lift yourself up or inspire you on your own journey.

Dawne experienced anticipatory grieving because her husband’s passing was not a surprise to her family, but I think it’s important for everyone to know that it doesn’t matter if your partner’s death was sudden or not. Loss is loss, and the process Dawne went through is evidence that the pain is exactly the same.

Listen in on our conversation as I ask Dawne on how she was coping with her earlier days of grief and how that had evolved once we started working together. I think you’ll be able to relate to Dawne’s resistance to her painful emotions, and how processing them was vital to let them flow and ease up. Dawne had many “aha” moments along the way, and I hope you’ll find hope in her story for your own journey.

If you’re struggling with this, or any subject I’ve shared on the podcast, and we haven’t shared a phone call to see whether coaching is a good fit for you, please request a consultation and we’ll see if I can help.

What You’ll Learn from this Episode:

  • Dawne’s experience of losing her husband and how she was coping with the earlier days of grief.
  • Why we have to allow our emotions to pass.
  • How things have changed for Dawne since we started coaching together.
  • What Dawne was struggling with when she came to me.
  • Why it’s important to show up as our own best cheerleader.
  • Dawne’s realization when it came to finally letting go of her husband’s things.
  • The advice Dawne would give to any widow who might be where she was when we first started coaching together.

 

Listen to the Full Episode:

 

Featured on the Show:

  • Text the word “PLAN” to 1-858-WIDOWS1 or visit coachingwithkrista.com/plan to get a free copy of my Love Your Life Again Game Plan, and learn my 3-step process so you can stop feeling stuck and start creating your next great chapter.
  • Interested in small-group coaching? Request a Consultation here!
  • Join my free Facebook group, The Widowed Mom Podcast Community.

Full Episode Transcript:

Welcome to The Widowed Mom Podcast, episode 56, Widows Like Us: An Interview with Dawne Long.

Welcome the The Widowed Mom Podcast, the only podcast that offers a proven process to help you work through your grief, to grow, evolve, and create a future you can truly look forward to. Here’s your host, Master Certified life coach, grief expert, widow, and mom, Krista St-Germain.

Hey there, welcome to another episode of the podcast. I’m excited to bring this interview to you from one of my former clients, Dawne Long. And I think you’re going to love listening to Dawne’s story.

What I encourage you to do is to listen and see what you can apply from what Dawne has learned through her journey in losing her husband and all the coaching that she received, and the way that she sees the world and the way that she sees herself differently now as a result. I encourage you to think about how you can apply that to your life.

I also want to caution you because I know this happens to all of us. If you notice your brain comparing where she is to where you are, in a way that is un-useful to you, you don’t have to listen to the comparisons that your brain is offering. We never do.

And so many times when we hear someone’s story, our brain sets about comparing and unfortunately, despairing. So I wanted to use Dawne’s story in a way that serves you, in a way that lifts you up, in a way that inspires you. I want you to find something useful here. And if your brain offers you anything else that isn’t useful, just let that float right on by, okay? I hope you enjoy this interview with Dawne and we’ll jump right on in.

Krista: Welcome Dawne to the podcast. I’m really glad to have you.

Dawne: Thank you.

Krista: Thank you for agreeing to do it. I really wanted to have you on because I think a lot of people will relate to your story. And not only your story of how you lost your husband, but really your story about what’s happened since then. What you were feeling and experiencing when you came to me and before we started coaching, and how things have changed for you since then, what life is now like compared to what it was like when you were in, I would say the earlier days of grief.

But really, when you came to me, it had been about a year and a half since Wayne died, right? I would love for you to walk listeners through what happened before you got to me.

Dawne: Okay. Well, I met Wayne when I was 17 and he stood outside of the church. My kids hate this story. He stood outside the church steps and said, “Want to get lucky?” And it’s like we were after that and from then on, we were always together. And we had a very happy and a very – it wasn’t a perfect life, but we had a really good life and a good marriage.

And we had three children. Now they are – my son is 35, I have a 30-year-old, and a 29-year-old daughter. And at the time when he died, we had two little granddaughters. And now we have two additional grandsons that he hasn’t seen.

But about five or six years ago, we noticed some signs. He had trouble with his speech and then he wasn’t remembering things. And it took a while to get diagnosed. But he had frontal temporal dementia. And it progressed pretty rapidly. And while he always knew us, he lost the ability to speak well and to do all the common things. Button your jacket, put on your shoes, cut your food, brush your teeth. All of those things were all gone.

So I was his caretaker and he had such a good spirit, even as it kept progressing and as he couldn’t do things. He always tried. And if he couldn’t do one thing then he did another. And never complained. And I did just admire him so much.

And he really kind of kept leaving us in stages. He kept – and we were so blessed to have a group of friends that were with us every step of the way, family, my brothers, my sisters, my brother-in-laws, our church family. We had so much help and support. And finally, on 2017 on Christmas Day, he could no longer walk.

His legs were really strong, but his brain was no longer telling them that they could use them. So I couldn’t take care of him. So we went to the emergency room and by New Year’s Eve he was gone. And so while this was a process, I knew it was going to be coming, it wasn’t a surprise, I was surprised at how much it hurt.

I mean, the pain level was just so intense. So much more than what I expected. And I had had a lot of pain through this whole journey, but this was different. And when I read on your Facebook and the other widows and some of them, the horrible and hard things they’ve had, situations they’ve had to deal with after the death of their husband, my heart just breaks for them.

And I really, I didn’t have any of those. I had support, I had my girlfriends, I had – but despite all of that support and love and people were there for me every single time I needed them, I have no complaints at all, it didn’t take away that pain. And I began to think of myself like, wow, I am just really a wuss that I don’t seem to be able to be handling this.

And it was so bad for me that after a couple months in, I decided I couldn’t take it anymore, and I had told you about this song that I heard where it had said, I don’t live here anymore, I’m closing the door, and I kind of did that. I put him in a closet in my mind.

Like I’m just not going to feel this anymore. The thing of it was though, he just didn’t stay there. And to keep him in there, my mind did all these kind of other weird and crazy things to not think about him. There was some eating issues and some exercise issues and I just – when I saw your advertisement on Facebook and you said can you imagine a life that you don’t just endure but a life that is even better and a life you enjoy and a life that you love, I was like, that had never occurred to me.

I thought I was just going to have to endure this and in time, enduring it would get better and it would get easier and I just must not be doing this well. And then that’s when I called you and we started the sessions.

Krista: Yeah, so good. I think it’s interesting your perspective as somebody who went through some anticipatory grieving where this was not a surprise to you, you saw it coming, you had a chance to kind of grieve a little bit – well, not a little bit. A lot along the way, but yet still, the finality of the loss and your experience afterward is just such evidence that it doesn’t matter if you see it coming. It doesn’t matter if you know it’s happening. Loss is loss and it hurts.

Dawne: Yeah, it does. And I wish I would have kind of known beforehand that it does. That sounds dumb, but that it does really hurt. And maybe I wouldn’t have been as hard on myself. Well, and also, I thought feelings of pain, I thought that those feelings were going to destroy me.

And I thought if I gave into them, I would just – I pictured myself like this pile of dust that then just blew away. I didn’t realize that I had to feel those feelings, that feelings are just feelings. They’re just the vibrations. They have no power over me. But I gave them a lot of power.

Krista: Yeah. We create so much suffering, right? Instead of just allowing the emotions to pass because we don’t have the skills. And then we resist them and then the intensity of the experience actually gets worse instead of easier. So true.

So it’s always interesting to me to kind of look back because I have such a unique perspective as the coach. I can kind of look back on what I saw when someone comes to me and I can really witness that transformation.

So I am always fascinated to hear what it was like for you. So can you explain kind of where were you when you reached out? What is it that you were struggling with? And let’s just start there, and then I would love to know about what it was like for you and how things changed.

Dawne: I saw a Facebook ad for you and the thing that just clicked with me was that you don’t have to live the life that you’re living, that you can have an even better life, and that was not even like a concept for me at that time. It was like, I just have to endure this one and endure it better to know that there could be an even better life or a future was what resonated with me.

Because I couldn’t see a future. All our plans were changed and I couldn’t picture what the future would be. I was the big person of saying I don’t know, I don’t know. And I’ve stopped saying that. I just say I’m still working on it. I don’t say I don’t know anymore. And a lot of the circumstances haven’t changed, but how I view them has changed.

Krista: Tell me about that.

Dawne: Well, I mean, I still really don’t know what I’m doing about a future job or should I live in this house now, what should I do, will I ever meet someone. All of those things haven’t changed, but how I view it, you had made a good point that we did have all of these plans in place and all of them got changed, but that’s like how it is for everyone.

I mean, you can always make a plan and it won’t turn out whether you’re a widow or not. It won’t turn out how you expected it to because that’s just life. And just realizing that I had some power over the choices that I would have was a big thing and that I could choose how I wanted the rest of my life to be. That was just a real a-ha moment.

Krista: So it sounds like you kind of – not only did you believe that you couldn’t picture a future, but you believed that that was a real problem for you that you didn’t know exactly what the future was going to look like. So now it’s not as though you know exactly what the future is going to look like in your mind, but it doesn’t seem like it’s a problem for you anymore. You’re kind of letting it unfold.

Dawne: Yeah, right. It isn’t a problem now. I mean, I’ll just face it as each occurrence happens and when there’s a choice to be made, I’ll make the choice. But it’s not a problem. I mean, there was a time before I saw you, I didn’t feel like I was me. Not only a future, but I didn’t even feel like I was me.

Like I would see my name and was like, how can there be a Dawne Long if there isn’t a Wayne Long? Because it was his name. And so many of our plans were his plans and even my kids said like, “Well, what’s your favorite restaurant?” And it was like, “Oh, I don’t have one, we just would always go to his.” And it was okay with me because food was not a big deal. But there was just so much of me that I couldn’t find.

Krista: Yeah. It’s almost like we have to redefine it. You spend 35 years as an adult with one relationship…

Dawne: I was 17 when we started dating. So I mean, it is my whole life of…

Krista: So of course, we have to redefine and figure out in the absence of that person who we are and what we want and what was Dawne and Wayne, what was just Dawne, and the difference.

I was looking at before anyone comes and coaches with me, they always fill out a questionnaire. And one of the things you had written on yours was you said, “My children, my family, my friends are so sad watching me struggle. I cannot change my situation so I must change myself and my outlook.” What in your mind was the struggle for you? When you were defining that struggle, what was that?

Dawne: I think a lot of it was due to deciding not to feel it anymore and that caused consequences, it caused some eating issues. It caused some exercise issues.

Krista: Where you were kind of taking that a little bit to excess? Trying to keep…

Dawne: To excess, right.

Krista: Trying to avoid your feelings.

Dawne: Instead of feeling it, I would go and run. And I was not a runner at all. I mean, not even – my whole family, they’re all athletes and everything. I just sat on the bleachers and cheered. So this is this brand-new thing. But when I’d leave the house in the morning to go run at the park by our house, when I stepped off those porch steps, I just so enjoyed being able to leave the house.

Because for so long, I couldn’t leave it because I couldn’t leave him. We were together 24 hours. So I tried to appreciate that freedom. And then I don’t know if you know like, from the show Friends and how Phoebe was the runner. So I’m not like a marathon runner or anything, I’m just a joy runner.

I would put his iPod in and be listening to his music and I would feel at that time, just so much joy. Just being able to do that. So whenever I was sad or upset, that’s what I would do. When really, I should have felt those feelings and worked them through. Instead, I did that.

And then eating by myself for the first time, who wants to cook for themselves? And then I just really reduced that and stopped. And people who loved me were concerned about it and my doctor was concerned about it. And a lot of that hasn’t changed, but like you had told me to say at this time, this is what I am choosing to eat.

So it’s not that I have to do this or anything. It’s just this is the choice I am making. It’s not for always. But for right now, this is what I’m choosing to eat. And there was a – one of the sessions we talked about and it was just the process of learning that feelings are just a vibration. Feelings can’t hurt you.

And I don’t think I believed that totally before. It seemed like they would not only hurt you but they would crush you and destroy you. And so you had told me just to open up and feel those feelings, so there was a time I could feel it in the back of my head coming, and instead of choosing to do something else, I just sat quietly. And the tapping was a great thing too. If you can do a commercial for that, the tapping helped.

Krista: Yeah, we did quite a bit of tapping in your sessions, didn’t we?

Dawne: Yes, the tapping helped me a lot, to able to recognize those feelings. And I sat at my desk one day and opened up to it and I sobbed. I mean, I just sobbed and sobbed until I could hardly breathe anymore, and then I realized I should have closed the window first. It was afterwards.

Krista: Now the neighbors are all in on your sobbing.

Dawne: That’s right, yeah. But that was the worst one. Afterwards, it was way, way more because I thought I was going to have to make this intervention like, go sit on the grave site and pool all this out. But it wasn’t. It was just when it came naturally, that first time, I just felt it. And when it does come, I just feel it.

And now there isn’t the sobbing or the things, but I just feel it and acknowledge it and remember that he is worth feeling pain over. I mean, the life that we had is worth missing it. The life that we had and he himself is worth feeling pain over. And it doesn’t kill me.

Krista: Isn’t that so interesting how it changes our experience of the pain when we kind of choose it?

Dawne: Right.

Krista: Right? I think it’s so interesting. I can just see it in your face, how your whole face just changed when you were telling me that story. There was so much light-heartedness, even though you’re talking about allowing pain to be there.

Dawne: That was like one of those real big moments because I think that was the trigger that started a lot of the other issues. Choosing to – I felt like I had done really well taking care of him and working and taking care of the family. And then he left and I felt like I was doing such a bad job at the widow part.

And so just being able to take some responsibility for that and this is mine and this is how it is and I get to choose how I do this and how I handle these feelings.

Krista: Yeah. And you get to choose what you’re making the way you’re handling it mean. I think this is important for everyone that we can always look at how we’re handling things and we can be our own worst critic or we can be our own best advocate. And that decision is available to us regardless of what other people think about how we’re handling it. And it’s always to our advantage to just be our own cheerleader about it.

Dawne: And now when I think about the future instead of thinking, “Oh, you don’t know, this is going to happen and what will this do,” now I just imagine good things. Because it’s like, you’re writing your own story, so you might as well write a good one.

I don’t know what’s going to be happening, but I can imagine good things happening and I can feel when I do that, I can feel my whole thoughts and feelings changing inside me. It isn’t despair or it isn’t the loneliness or it isn’t the – I mean, it’s not really up to excitement yet, but it is hopeful and looking forward to. So I just imagine really great things.

Krista: I love it. One of the things as you were talking that I remembered was I remembered when you one time described the process of learning to allow emotions to pass, you used the word vessel.

And I remember just being struck by that because I thought it was an accurate concept, an accurate representation of what it’s like to allow feelings to be there without needing to try to get away from them was that we can just kind of be a vessel for them to run through us. I don’t know if you remember that or if it stuck out for you like it did for me, but it was the way that I hadn’t heard someone say it before.

Dawne: Not as much, but the idea of it is yes, that we don’t have to hold onto them. They can come in and flow back out. And the example that you gave about white car. That was a real profound one, how when you’re out driving and you get a white car or someone you know gets one, all of a sudden, you see white cars everywhere.

And it was that gatekeeper in your brain who is always trying to prove the things that you were thinking. So if I am thinking there is no future life for me, he finds all the examples. If I think I am not doing this well, look, I messed up again, he will come up with 12 examples of how I have failed.

But if I choose to think I think I did really well at that, I think I’m getting better, then you will find other examples of it and that is just one of the big powerful things that I think in my mind, to be careful of the thoughts that I put there so I will reinforce them with better thoughts.

And sometimes I consciously make the wrong choice just because I’m a brat or I haven’t eaten that day. But you know, I figure I am choosing just to be awful right now. I will get it back together again.

Krista: So what you just said I think is so impactful, and sometimes what I hear when I have conversations with people about that is they start worrying that they’re going to be fake about it, that they start associating choosing thoughts with choosing positive, happy, amazing thoughts that feel fake and phony to them. Did you ever have any of that and what’s your take?

Dawne: I didn’t have a lot with that because one of the exercises we did, I think it was called the brain dump.

Krista: Thought downloads, yes.

Dawne: We just wrote for 15 minutes all the thoughts that were in your head, and then you went back and underlined all the ones that were true, you know, 95% of them were not true, you know, to everyone. They may have felt true to me, but if the whole world had to look at them, they would not say those were true. So, when I was thinking of ideas, I didn’t try to think of them as fake or not real, but whether they were true or not…

Krista: There’s so much power to your point. This is something I teach all my clients to do; to separate what exists outside of us that everyone in the entire world would agree upon versus what we’re making it mean with our human brain. Because our life experience is so determined by the sentences in our mind, the stories that we tell ourselves, our interpretation of that which exists outside of us.

And so, it seems like, for you, the ability to do that, to separate what existed outside of you versus the story you are telling yourself about it was a really powerful new thing for you…

Dawne: It really was. I am really way past due for doing that exercise again. That was another moment of being aware of all the thoughts in my head. Maybe I think too much…

Krista: Don’t we all?

Dawne: I’m just a thinker. But it was choosing to, you know, I can either choose to think good things, or I can choose to let my imagination go crazy and think of every possible wrong thing that can happen as all these wrong things, bad things did happen. You know, I’m aware that they can. But they don’t have to…

Krista: And where do you want to focus your energy and attention, yeah…

Dawne: And just feeling the difference in it is, like, do I want to tote all of this baggage around with me forever? Or do I want to be a more hopeful alive person?

Krista: Yeah, let’s talk about, when you talk about toting things around, I know you were speaking more about emotions and experiences. But I also remember, you know, you had quite a lot of thoughts about Wayne’s things. And I noticed quite the progression there where you seem to be thinking that he wouldn’t exist with you if you were getting rid of his things. Can you talk to listeners about your journey there?

Dawne: That is a big thing. And I’m still in process with it. I have packed up – just because I needed more drawer space and things, and kept a bunch of his things and I had five big garbage bags full. And those weren’t the precious, like clothes. Those were just the everyday blue t-shirts, those kinds of things, packed in the hallway. And they had been there for about four, five months. And that’s as far as they could go.

I could not picture taking and putting them in the car and dropping them off. In my head, when we were talking about it, it was like then that was taking him and dropping him off there. And I’d already lost him. Why would I want to give up any other parts of him? And would I have any of him left if I gave those things away, and the hurting that he didn’t need them anymore.

So, then we chose to think, instead of what those represented was how many people they would be helping, you know, what he would desire with those, and really I did a really big tapping exercise with that one. And at the end of the exercise, I was just kind of thinking, and this awareness which I just think was God came to me and just said, “Wayne is not in those bags of clothes,” you know.

Your memories of him are not tied up into those plastic garbage bags. As long as you continue to live your life the same way that you lived it together, then he will always be with you. And that was like just this big freeing of, no, he is not in those bags. And I was able to take them and drop them off. And I cried when I did it.

And then recently, like, I still have the closet, and also with the pandemic and stuff, you can’t drop clothes off anywhere. But I had – I was thinking about it and talking out loud with a friend, you know, why I couldn’t take his things out of the closet yet. So, I knew there had to be a reason why I couldn’t.

And then I had the idea, I can take a picture of his closet with all the things in it, and I will have that for always because now it’s been almost 40 years, when I would open that closet door, that’s how it would look. And to not have that, I couldn’t picture it in my mind.

But if I had that little picture, if I wanted to look at that again, then that just frees me up then to take the actual things out because he isn’t in the things. He’s in the memory. The things are just things, you know. And they don’t even smell like him anymore, you know, when you go in the closet and smell and take a whiff. And he had a certain polo smell, and they don’t smell like him anymore.

Krista: When you were talking about things, you said something about, “As long as I live my life the way that we lived,” what does that mean for you? Because I have a feeling the listeners are going to wonder what that means.

Dawne: Okay, well we, at the beginning of this journey, when we knew he was sick and we knew he was going to be gone, we made a conscious choice that we wanted to live in a way that we taught our children. Because they were going to come up with these kinds of occurrences in their life, maybe even when we were gone. Sometime, they’re going to go through something like this.

The way we chose to do it, we wanted to be able to teach our children. And if you have to go through something really so awful, we wanted something good to come out of it and we wanted God to get the glory. We wanted good things. We wanted love. We wanted – so I just felt then, if I continued living my life in such a way that it brought, you know, glory to God, where I was a good example to my children, you know, teaching them this is how we react when things happen, that if I continued with that plan we had made…

And I remember the day we decided it. You know, I remember that conversation we had together, if I continued on that plan, he would always be there with me still doing it with me.

Krista: Got it. So, that didn’t mean you can’t ever be in another relationship or – it just means, for you, to continue living with the same values, in alignment with the same values. Yeah.

Dawne: And being examples for our children was just a real big part of this, you know, of the story.

Krista: I love it. When you look back, what would you tell someone who is in the position you were in when you came to me. What is something that you know now, some wisdom or some just kind of knowing that you have now that you didn’t have then that they could benefit from?

Dawne: I would encourage them to feel the feelings, you know, and just acknowledging to them that it does hurt. I mean, it does. There were days when it was like a physical pain. I felt like my arm had been ripped off, you know. And just acknowledging to someone else that it does, it does truly, truly hurt. But hurt and feelings, you know, they are not more powerful than you are.

Krista: Yeah, and so many of us, we don’t know how much it’s going to hurt, and then we judge ourselves for how we handle the hurt or we don’t have the skills to process the pain and we aren’t prepared for it.

Dawne: That really was a big – and I’d had other hurt, probably because I have had such a really good life. I mean, I am very grateful for it – that when I had this, it did, it really knocked me off balance and. I would also be letting them know that they have more power than they think that they have.

Krista: Tell me about that.

Dawne: Oh, the power of, like we spoke once – one of our first sessions was, I had not ordered checks. I mean, I was past due on ordering checks because, to order the new checks, then I’d used up all the balance. And I didn’t use them very often, you know, and I couldn’t picture ordering them and taking his name off the check because it was Wayne and Dawne and we were a team.

There was like a block, a wall in my mind where I couldn’t even see beyond doing that. So, I just didn’t. So, I did not order checks. I didn’t have any. And when we talked and you said, “You have the power to decide if you want his name on there.” I mean, they’ve been accepting these checks for a year with his name on it. Who cares what is on it? They just want the money on it.”

And I thought about that and I said, “Okay, I am not ready right now to take his name off the checks.” So, I ordered just a small package of them because I truly do not use very many at all. And his name is on the check and it makes me happy. And that was my choice. And I had the power to decide it. I didn’t even know that was in my range of what I could do. I could order it and I could keep his name on them if I want.

Krista: Yes, I love that. We think we’re playing within, or we have to play within some sort of rules sometimes that are really just self-constructed. And the, when we realize, “Wait a minute, I made up this rule that if my husband dies, I can’t have check with his name on it. So maybe I could just rewrite that rule and I can totally do whatever I want because I can.”

Dawne: That was just a – because I’m a rule-follower, you know. I follow rules. And no, I don’t have to do that. That was a real liberating moment. And I’ve used that in other cases and so, just acknowledging to someone that they do have more power than they think.

Krista: 100%. I remember talking about kind of – we always talk about grief as a journey and so many times, it’s troublesome when we think that grief is some sort of journey whereby there is a destination and it comes to an end. Did you struggle with any of that? And if so, did your thinking shift in any way? Did you see it as…?

Dawne: Very much so. I thought it was like an endurance that you had to endure. And I was so surprised when the second year arrived and I felt worse because I started seeing, you know, the second summer. You know, because you hear the thing, “Time heals.” No, it doesn’t.

And I really thought, if I checked off or I did the first birthday, did the first anniversary, did the first Christmas, did the first death anniversary, okay, now it will be better this year and the next year it will be even better and the next year. But the second year was worse. I was acting weirder and, yeah, so I don’t know, is it a journey? I think it was the realization that I am different and this is just who I am now.

Krista: Yeah, kind of take that and put it into the fabric of who you are in your life experience. I think it’s much more peaceful for us when we do that, when we don’t try to get somewhere that we aren’t, when we just kind of realize, this is just now part of who I am and my life experience, and that doesn’t have to be bad or a problem that I need to solve.

Dawne: Right, and takes away some of the pressure to think you’re not measuring up to the mark that you’re supposed to be it, “By this time, I should be able to do this…” No, it is now just who I am and I will always, always be a different person for going through this. Some of the things, I can be a better person for going through it too.

Krista: What are you excited about in your future or looking forward to?

Dawne: I am looking forward to having new experiences, you know, like things that I haven’t done. I am looking forward to sharing my life with someone. And now, I think it is not because I have to, but just because it would be more fun.

Krista: That’s everything.

Dawne: Yes, and at first, it’s kind of like I’ve lost something I need to replace it; you know. Maybe it will stop this bleeding if I put this bandage on it, or something. And it doesn’t. And it won’t. And I have it written. And from when we were speaking – I’m looking at it now and I still have it written on my bulletin board above my desk, you know, the things that I had written about me. I won’t always be alone. But if I am, I will be okay. I will be just fine.

Krista: I love it. that’s really everything. I hope people resonate with that; just because we feel lonely, doesn’t mean there’s something wrong. Just because we, you know, whatever we need to feel the way we want to feel, it is inside of us. We don’t need someone else to come and fill a hole. When we figure out that we have got our own backs emotionally and we can meet our own emotional needs, then it’s exactly what you said.

You can go into another relationship because it’s fun, because you want to, because it seems like an opportunity for you to love someone instead of because you think you have to in order to feel whole or not lonely.

Dawne: And that I’m – this was a big one. It’s on there – that I am worthy of being loved.

Krista: Yes.

Dawne: There’s a whole long, long story behind that, and to get to that point. But I myself…

Krista: Yeah, being able to say that and truly mean it, embrace it. I love it… to say that you’re worthy of love and really mean it, there’s a journey to get there. And  a lot of people will relate with that because it’s amazing how often – I don’t know, I guess it’s the self-development junky in me that it’s never been hard for me to just see everyone’s worth and to see everyone as worthy, no matter what they’re going through or choices that they’ve made, that we’re all just 100% worthy and worthy of love.

And so, it’s always interesting to me to see that common thread of how often other people struggle to really genuinely believe that for themselves, that their worth is there. It’s inherent.

Dawne: And I was also surprised at, like, kind of the loss of self-esteem after he dies, which doesn’t technically make sense. I mean, I should be rather proud of myself for taking care of him and getting him all the way to the end and handling these things. But after he left, I really had a lot of issues with confidence and my own self-esteem and feeling worthy and feeling enough. That was a big thing of – I’ve changed one of my passwords that I use at work, you know, enough…

Krista: I love it. Good reminder for your brain…

Dawne: Yeah.

Krista: Keep typing it in, keep getting your brain looking for evidence that it’s true. I actually do think that’s really common, Dawne, that it’s hard to imagine, when you look back on 35 years of marriage and you notice that for most of that, you did feel confident. And so, then you would think it’s surprising, why don’t you feel confident now? But I think so often, we just don’t realize how much of our self-belief is really leveraging the belief that our partner has in us, or that it’s coming from our thoughts about us in the partnership and the partnership itself.

And so, then, when that changes, it can really just expose what was probably already there but what was being just kind of masked. And so, I think it’s actually a lot more normal. Well, listen, I am so happy that you came on the podcast and shared your story. It was, for me, such a pleasure to watch the shift, to watch it just kind of unfold for you, to go from not feeling so confident about the future to, you know, not having all the answers, but just relaxing into letting it happen and, you know – there was a big lightening.

Dawne: There was – I was waiting for the outcomes and thinking that would change my feelings. And then you said, “No, you have that backwards. You need to change your feelings and how you’re thinking, and then that will produce the outcomes.”

Krista: Yes, sometimes when people read back to me what I say, I get kind of excited because I’m like, “That’s o true.” Yeah, that’s so true.

Dawne: I’m a good student.

Krista: Anything else that you want to share with people?

Dawne: Just that I do miss talking to you and it was such a pivotal change in how I view life and the skills that I learned, you know, that I will use for the rest of my life and hopefully teach other people. It is. And while this is not a life I would ever, ever choose, and being on a podcast for being a widow never would be my choice. But it is the life that I have, and so I can choose to make it good. And for some reason, God still has me here. And there is a purpose and there is a plan and it is a good one.

Krista: I love it. I love it. Alright, well thank you so much. Let’s keep in touch yeah?

Dawne: I would love that.

Krista: Okay, thanks, Dawne, take care. Bye-bye.

Alright, how much did you love that? I hope that was useful to you. I’ve been getting quite a lot of feedback that you enjoy hearing from other widows and enjoy learning from other people’s experiences. So, I hope that you really learned something from Dawne that you can apply to your life. And as always, if you want to do this work yourself, I am here.

I am accepting applications currently for the next round of Mom Goes On. Not quite sure if, by the time this airs, if I’ll have any space left in the July group. But you can always apply for the next month’s group. And you just go to coachingwithkrista.com and click on the request a consultation button. And that’s where you apply.

If it seems like a good fit, you and I will hop on the phone and we’ll talk about what’s going on with you. No judgments, only love, and we’ll see if coaching makes sense. And if it’s what you need, we’ll talk through all the details of the group.

Alright, I hope you have an amazing week. I love you. You’ve got this. And I’ll see you next week. Take care, bye-bye.

Ready to start building a future you can actually look forward to? Get a free copy of Krista’s Love Your Life Again Game Plan and learn her three-step process so you can stop feeling stuck and start creating your next great chapter. No matter what you’ve been through, your past does not have to define what’s possible in your future.

Text the word PLAN to 1-858-widows-1, or visit coachingwithkrista.com/plan and get Krista’s Love Your Life Again Game Plan delivered straight to your inbox. A future you love is still possible and you are worth it. Text the word PLAN to 1-858-widows-1, or visit coachingwithkrista.com/plan and get your free game plan today.

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