Dancing With the Demon of Loneliness
By Elaine Williams ©2008

When I lost my husband to cancer in 2004, my life as I knew it did a 360 degree turn. Nothing was the same and yet only one thing had changed. I had lost someone near to my heart, a part of my life for twenty plus years, the father of my children, a best friend and confidante. He had been an integral part of each of our lives.

I thought I was okay, but deep inside I knew I fooled myself and I really wasn't okay. The demon of loneliness entered my life slowly and then suddenly he seemed to be there on every occasion. I decided to write about this demon of loneliness so I could exorcise him from my life.

"I've danced with him many times, a most reluctant partner, my steps stumbling and my mind preoccupied. He came in persuasive and smooth, barely causing a ripple with his subtle entrance. Other times he visited boldly, making his presence well known.

For me, dancing with the demon of loneliness filled a part of my life that I didn't know existed. He found me at my most vulnerable moments. How could I deny entrance to someone who walks in announced but so softly that you're taken unaware? He was never invited, but I passively allowed him to take me dancing whenever he beckoned, until one day I turned away."

And gradually, I did turn away. I no longer allowed this demon to suck the life and joy from me. With new strength, I allowed the grief in me to become a shadow of itself. The demon's pervasive grip weakened. I no longer entertained a dance partner I had never enjoyed. I learned to live again, not as I had before, but in a new joyful way. http://www.ajourneywelltaken.com

A Single Mother Raising Boys
By Elaine Williams ©2008

One of my biggest challenges has been raising three boys as a single parent. I've been told by other parents that it's easier to deal with boys than girls. Usually this comes from a parent who has all girls. I totally, wholly disagree. Where did anyone ever get that idea? Boys have their own set of problems as opposed to girls. I've been on my own four years and I confess there were days I didn't even want to get out of bed, afraid to know what the next trauma might be involving my boys.

That's not to say they're not good kids, they're really good kids, honest, smart, opinionated, and like every other child in the world, they think they know more about life than their parent. We've dealt with all the usual traffic tickets, drinking, car accidents, relationship break ups, things that just rip a parent's heart out. What parent wants their kids to repeat their mistakes, but its not really something you can prevent. Everyone wants to live their own life in their own way.

I remember thinking many times I shouldn't have to get phone calls at 4 a.m. Their father should have been helping me deal with these problems and situations. However, that's not how life turned out. Their father had died when the boys were 11, 18 and 19, and we were all reeling from the loss in our own ways, even to some degree four years later. I always tried to show my boys how much I loved them, how much I admired them for the men they were becoming, but other times I just wanted to walk away and not think about the stress of some of their screw-ups.

I live in a rural, wooded area, and my youngest decided at fourteen that he wanted to learn how to run a chainsaw. The last thing I wanted him to do was pick up a chain saw and start his own firewood business. I know how dangerous chainsaws can be, even in experienced hands. He kept coming up with all these ideas for his own business that involved a lot of manual labor. There's nothing wrong with that, but I wanted him to be a kid a little longer. I wondered if his sudden interest in all things outside, work related, had something to do with his way of grieving his father's loss.

My middle son seemed to retreat into a shell for a long time; missing school, pulling back from a social life. By contrast, my oldest son was living away from home and I had visions of him running wild with his friends, drinking and raising hell. I wasn't comfortable with any of these scenarios and I constantly tried to let my kids know I was here for them, but I also offered guidance, giving them my often unasked-for opinion on what I thought was right for them. Sometimes, being the only one responsible felt overwhelming, but somehow, too, we all came through it.

I gave my kids the freedom to make their own choices and mistakes, but Mom was always lurking in the wings to offer support in case something didn't work out. It's just what worked for me. http://www.ajourneywelltaken.com

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A Journey Well Taken:
Life After Loss by Elaine Williams