Ask Mary: I Don’t Know My Role Anymore

Ask Mary: I Don't Know My Role AnymoreI was married for over thirty years and enjoyed my role as “wife”.  I just don’t know who I am anymore.  Is this normal for widows?
 As important as the role of “wife” is, you matter as a person and are defined by being more than a “wife”.
I know that redefining ourselves is harder than it sounds. I was a “wife” for twenty-seven years and I couldn’t just turn that role off. I was also a “mother”, “sister”, “friend” plus other roles but these roles had not changed like the role of “wife” did when Donnie died.
 You need to look beyond your role as “wife” to find who you are. Sometimes, after trauma, our roles get disrupted and we have a tough time with role confusion. You may feel that you have lost a core part of yourself and you may need to dig deep into who you are at a more core level.
 It’s funny that I had so many roles in life but once I lost the role of “wife” I was unbalanced. That one role seemed to define me and yet I truly valued being a mother, sister, friend etc.  I had to work at appreciating what I still had in my life – appreciate my other roles and even work at expanding them.  
 In my heart I will always be a “wife” to Donnie and those memories will always be part of my life. But I like to think that all of my roles in life make up the whole and that I am no longer defined by just one role.
Sometimes, we just need the time to quiet down in order to become the person we are meant to be. Don’t let anyone tell you that daydreaming is a waste of time. Dream of what you want your future to be and work to be the person who can make those dreams come true.
 As widows our lives changed and we cannot control the situation but we can control how we react to it.  It is up to us to become stronger and not let it forever drag us down. I still have my moments of sadness and I miss having Donnie in my life but I made a decision years ago that I would not be defined by just one role.  
 So the best advice I can give you is to be gentle with yourself as you heal. As time passes you will naturally create the roles that you are most comfortable with.
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