It’s the kind of book you pick up and think: I can’t even imagine.
I can’t fathom what life must have been life for Catherine Tidd — then a Colorado mom in her early 30s with three kids under six — when suddenly, tragically and unexpectedly her husband died from an accident en route to work.
How do you go on? How do you even put your feet on the floor to get out of bed the next day? These are the kinds of questions Tidd — the blogger behind widowchick.blogspot.ca — answers in her new book Confessions of a Mediocre Widow, which is a mix of self-help, widow support and a guide on finding happiness again after tragedy. Here, Tidd tells us how she did it.
Q: How did this book come to be?
A: This book was something I was looking for when I lost my husband. Most books out there were in self-help and very clinical, or written by an older widow. I had a hard time finding the book from the perspective of a young mother and all the parenting issues that come with the kids losing their dad.
When I started the blog, I promised myself that in each post I’d try to find either something funny that happened or end it in a positive way. So I would take these little events in my life and sit down and go: okay, what was funny about this or what did I learn from this? It was a huge help to me, which is again in the spirit of the book.
Q: You talk about finding joy and happiness again. How did you do that?
A: I don’t want this to come across Pollyanna, like that every day is just such a joy. There are days where I wallow and have to let the grief in and cry. But in the beginning part of it, I was writing the book because it felt like it was needed. I created the site because it was needed to support other widows — and I tell people there’s a lot of healing in helping others. I get so much joy seeing people on the site who’ve been on there for a few years. Maybe two years ago they were having a difficult time, but today things are great. That’s helpful for me — to see progress like that.
Q: But how do you get to that point and move past those dark, early days after a tragedy?
A: At the beginning, it’s day-to-day, maybe even moment-to-moment. The moment that my husband died, if I’d thought, “How am I going to get the kids to college on my own”…if I had to figure out all of this stuff by myself — if I had let all of that in at once, my head would have exploded. It’s too much to think about all at once, and sometimes you just have to take off little bites of life and do what you can.
Also, I’ve read this before and it’s such a wonderful way to look at things: that those who have passed before us, they still feel joy through us. So I want to get the most out of life that I can because Brad would appreciate that.
Q: How did you help your kids find happiness again?
A: We don’t talk about him constantly because I don’t want to burden them with that — they were five, three and one-years-old when it happened. There were some things I would keep to myself — or I’d say, “Gosh, I’m really cranky today because I miss Dad,” to let them know it’s okay to feel anger or sadness. But that’s why I choose to live the way that I do, because I want them to see that life will go on and we will be okay, and that it’s okay to be happy again.
To pre-order a copy of Catherine’s book (available January 7, 2014) click here.
Have you ever lost someone very close? Tell us what helped you find happiness again in the comment section below.