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There’s a spectrum from dread to delight which I live in. The experience of being a caregiver and that of being a widow are quite different but, for both, days often begin with dread. This photo of the moon coming through the clouds is a pretty accurate representation of how it is, light to dark and not always controllable. Reaching for light, moonlight or sun.

As a caregiver, I would wake up to dreading the emergency that the day would bring us. And the grief, frustration, anger and fear that would come with dealing with it. It could be my husband not being able to eat or so constipated he was screaming in pain. It could be arguing with hospitals or labs for essential diagnostic and medical treatments or insurance coverage which didn’t cover $1500 in prescriptions a month, especially pain. Adding to the fear about covering the bills. It could be hard conversations between us, born of our hope for a cure and grief about our current life, enduring, and probable loss of our love and future together.

As a widow, I wake up dreading another day without him, pretty much every day. I claw my way to delight, looking at the sky outside, his beautiful paintings, flowers, anything that brings me back to the present, even a painful present again. The emergencies are not urgent. I think about how to build BadWidow and Affluence Code consulting, speaking and products in a way that I can live with one income, instead of two. The fear is pervasive and the grief goes on and on, grief light to despair. I can’t count on my mood or energy. Sometimes I am creative, vibrant and energetic. And other times, I can’t get any traction on the things I need to do, small, like staying on top of bills and large, like planning out my future – life, business, love.

What to do?

As a caregiver, I found ways to empower myself with self-care and take control of small things, like tracking pills, appointments, side effects. I even had a spreadsheet so I could partner with my husband’s doctors and share information which got him more attentive, accurate care. As a widow, I find ways to empower myself with self-care and to ride the waves of my emotions and energy, working hard or resting, as needed.

What are you doing to empower yourself today?