Pat Hyams“They” say the top two stressors in life are losing and spouse and moving from one location to another. Both happened to me in the past 18 months. My husband, Ron, passed away in February of 2022. In May, 2023, I moved to a two-bedroom condominium.

Paring down my possessions in preparation for moving meant countless trips down Memory Lane and equally countless trips to the Good Will Store. I moved into my new condo in May and began making it my own. Living in my new home, I have felt the full impact of adjusting to widowhood and living alone. I can feel myself changing and am finally able to look beyond my circumstances and wonder what the world has in store for my next chapter. I am no longer a wife; no longer a caregiver; still a mom and still a grandma. I have always been afraid of living alone and the powerful feelings of loneliness can be intense. However, I have learned to lean into these feelings rather than running from them. I discovered that living alone isn’t so bad after all and can actually be really nice. Another discovery: sometimes feelings are like bullies. They look big and bad and menacing, but when you stand and face them, they just kind of evaporate. After all, they are just feelings. Keep breathing and you’ll get another one in no time.

I have learned to concentrate on doing the “next right thing.” Just follow my agenda for the day. I can be feeling sad, joyful, loving, angry. Just do the next right thing. Sometimes that means resting, sitting down and crying, or bursting into song. I now have time to indulge in things that bring me joy: playing the piano, reading, cooking. One day in October I drove to Ft. Sheridan before dawn to watch the sunrise. It was amazing. Slowly, I am finding my footing in this new terrain of my life. I am humbly grateful to begin the process rediscovering the world through new eyes. 

Patricia Hyams
December, 2023