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All entries tagged with “widowhood”

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    It was his loss, too - Jun 16th, 2017
    When we think about the grieving that happens after the death of a loved one, we often think about the suffering those left behind are left to face. And certainly, that is what’s talked about most. We talk about our pain; we talk about our changed paths; we talk about what we lost and we’ll miss out on. Because when we grieve, we’re not just grieving the loss of our loved one; we’re grieving the loss of the life we had; the life we planned. [more...]

    Toasting twelve years - May 22nd, 2017
    Yesterday was (would have been?) my 12th wedding anniversary. And much like last year, I spent the day distracting myself with my PhD before taking some time to reflect and remember my happy days as a happy wife. This year was a bit different, however, as I didn’t spend the day alone. Instead, I travelled to Falkirk in the afternoon after spending the morning in my office. [more...]

    Mental Health Awareness week: Knowing my limits - May 8th, 2017
    It is Mental Health Awareness Week here in the UK, so I thought I’d share a bit about my recent efforts to keep my mental health in check. As someone who does not live with mental illness, keeping things in check is a bit easier for me. But as someone who lives a largely isolated and lonely life, I am aware that if I do not make concerted efforts to maintain my mental health, I could well end up with mental illness. [more...]

    A shattered heart, still beating - Apr 26th, 2017
    Today marks eight years since his heart stopped beating. And in that very same moment, my own heart shattered into a million pieces. Remarkably, my shattered heart still beats… though I don’t know how that is possible, as a part of me died at that same moment, too. [more...]

    Dangerous widows - Jan 25th, 2017
    When the Dangerous Women Project was launched last year, I immediately found myself wondering if I was a dangerous woman. I wondered if there was anything about my life that could be construed as “dangerous”, or if I was just your average, run-of-the-mill woman. Of course, I knew that just the act of being an outspoken woman who would dare to live an independent life, doing as I pleased, made me dangerous. In that respect, most western women are dangerous—but is that dangerous enough to be called dangerous? (I don't know.) [more...]

    Dating disclosures - Jan 2nd, 2017
    Since (a few failed attempts at) re-entering the dating world post-widowhood, I have learned that there are many struggles to dating in the modern era. From the drama of online dating to the drama of just dating at all, I have learned a lot about how to navigate the dating world as a “young widow”. But I am realising that there are still things I have yet to figure out. (And maybe I’ll never figure them out!) [more...]

    A Christmas graduation - Dec 23rd, 2016
    It’s Christmas Eve Eve (which means that tomorrow is Christmas Eve) and I am acutely aware that this Christmas is different from all of my previous “post-widowhood” Christmases. I feel, I don’t know. I feel less sad. Not happy; not cheerful and Christmassy. Just, not sad. It’s almost as if I’ve graduated from the deep sadness that comes with a widowed Christmas and I’ve moved into a slightly melancholy, not sad, but not happy, place for the holiday season. [more...]

    I wobbled - Nov 7th, 2016
    Sometimes in life, you wobble. And no matter how strong and sturdy you thought you were, you begin to sway back and forth; wobbling. That’s what happened to me these past few days: I have started to wobble. [more...]

    With love from Zadar - Sep 24th, 2016
    I love Zadar! I really do. I arrived here last Sunday for an academic conference and I will be travelling home tomorrow. But in this one week, I fell in love with Zadar. [more...]

    Third passport firsts - Aug 27th, 2016
    I received my new American passport yesterday. But despite this being my third passport, it will also mark several passport firsts in my life. But then, each of my passports have marked important “firsts” in my life! [more...]

    Fostering love - Aug 14th, 2016
    My life was forever changed six years ago, when I opened up my home—and my heart—to a young girl who needed me. The year that followed was filled with the ups and downs of foster parenting, all while still adjusting to my life as a widow. [more...]

    Only the lonely - Jul 10th, 2016
    When you live your life without a partner, it can be lonely. Even if you fill your days with friends and acquaintance, it can be lonely. Even if you enjoy a bit of solitude and are generally happy with your being, it can be lonely. Even if you are never alone, it can be lonely. It’s a loneliness that seeps into your soul; a loneliness that only the truly lonely can understand. That loneliness lives inside of me; it follows me around even when I’m happy. [more...]

    Representations of me - Jun 22nd, 2016
    I attended a PhD workshop the other week. It was one of those touchy-feely things where they wanted to talk about coping strategies for balancing life and a PhD. About half-way through the day, we were all handed a lump of grey clay and asked to make a representation of ourselves out of it. And that’s when I realised I really didn’t want to be in this workshop! But I was there, so I had to play along. [more...]

    Dream day - May 21st, 2016
    Eleven years ago, I entered a beautiful dream world: The dream of happily ever after with my amazing new husband. And whilst being a Mrs had never been a childhood dream, being Mrs Ryan was the answer to my dreams of being happy with my life’s course. And together, we build a wonderfully happy dream world. [more...]

    April flowers - Apr 26th, 2016
    Another year has passed since my beloved Paul died. And so, another year has been spent making the journey to lay flowers on his grave. I’d like to say that it gets easier with each passing year but it doesn’t. I’m just used to it now; I’m just (mostly) prepared for the waves of emotion that take over. [more...]

    Dilapidated beauty - Feb 17th, 2016
    With my birthday just around the corner, I am more aware than normal that I am getting older. I am ageing; I am becoming more and more dilapidated as time goes by. I’m not upset about it, I’m just more aware. And, I suppose, I’m a bit wistful. [more...]

    Defining happiness - Feb 16th, 2016
    As I (slowly) make my way through Tal Ben-Shahar’s book “Happier”, I am faced with questions of just what happiness is. I know that I want happiness; I hope for happiness; I pray for happiness. But what is happiness? Is it as simple as being happy for a moment in time? Is it a long-term state of happy emotion? Or is it something else altogether? [more...]

    Happy milestones [or not] - Jan 21st, 2016
    I have decided to finally read “Happier” by Tal Ben-Shahar. It’s a book I acquired nearly two years ago, but I’ve never quite got around to really reading it. Instead, I’ve just flipped through the pages from time-to-time. I think the reason I’ve never really read it is that I have always felt odd passing by the self-evaluations (called “time-ins”) and personal exercises. [more...]

    Hopeful butterflies - Jan 10th, 2016
    I want to fly. I want to soar into the sky and touch the Heavens. I want to reach all of my goals; I want to succeed! I know I have it in me, but I often allow myself to let my fears and insecurities take over, preventing me from spreading my wings; preventing me from realising success. [more...]

    A selfie Christmas - Dec 25th, 2015
    Hello and merry Christmas to you all! As I mentioned the other day, I am spending my Christmas (mostly) alone—but I am doing so with new and old traditions to keep me company! [more...]

    The holiday hush - Dec 23rd, 2015
    The holidays are here again, and that means I’m facing an extended period of holiday hush. “Hush” because, like most years, I will be spending Christmas and New Year alone again*. Only this year, I’m going to work really hard at not being too hushed. [more...]

    Saving the best for last! - Sep 28th, 2015
    I ran my last Loch Ness Marathon yesterday. (Maybe.) And I accomplished a PB whilst doing it—which was totally unexpected. Even better, I am nowhere near as sore as I was the day after my first (and slowest) Loch Ness back in 2011. [more...]

    Half BraemarAthon - Sep 13th, 2015
    My crazy month of races began today with the Braemar Half Marathon—after forgoing last weekend’s planned 10K in favour for a wee ride on the choo-choo train. I am a bit disappointed with my time, but as I went into the race with the plan to go slow and just finish, I’ll not complain too much. [more...]

    Balancing lonely and love - Aug 15th, 2015
    Some days, I think about how lonely I am, and about how I want to find someone to share my life with. I think about how I want to find someone I can love, and who will love me back; about how I want to find someone who makes my heart sing with a joy so loud that it drowns out the loneliness. Only it’s not all that easy to find that person. If it were, I wouldn’t still be alone after more than six years of widowhood. [more...]

    Certifiably sane - Jul 3rd, 2015
    For nearly two years now, I’ve been experiencing an extreme amount of stress. Some days and weeks have been harder than others, but there hasn’t really been a period of un-stressed time. And a few months ago, the stress got so bad that I was struggling to function. [more...]

    Adventuresome - Jun 29th, 2015
    I want to have adventures. Ideally, I want to have some of those adventures with someone I love. Or at least I’d like to have some of those more of those adventures with friends. But since I’ve managed to be an absolute failure in finding new love, and the vast majority of my adventure-having friends are loved-up (or have children or are very busy or all of the above), I only have two choices: Skip the adventures or go on adventures alone. [more...]

    I laughed - May 21st, 2015
    Ten years ago today, I became Mrs Ryan. I stood there at the altar in front of God, family, and friends—with my beloved Paul beside me—and I laughed. Oh, how I laughed. [more...]

    Alarming nightmares - May 6th, 2015
    For the last six years, I have experienced a wide variety of what I call “widow dreams”. Some are more upsetting than others, but they are rarely (and in fact, almost never!) panicked nightmares. And, for the most part, the dreams don’t impact my overall sleep patterns. [more...]

    Between sleep and awake - Apr 25th, 2015
    I rolled over this morning in a sleepy haze to snuggle up to Paul, sure he would be there lying next to me. But he wasn’t there—I was merely fooled by that moment in between sleep and awake; that moment when your realities merge into a peaceful memory of what once was. [more...]

    The difference in grief - Apr 19th, 2015
    Eight years ago today, my dear friend Joe passed away. And next Sunday will mark the sixth anniversary of my beloved husband, Paul’s, death. And I am very aware of how different my emotions are for each death; for each set of memories. [more...]

    Breaking points - Apr 9th, 2015
    Life is hard these days and sometimes I wonder what my limits are. Sometimes I wonder how many more disappointments and frustrations I can manage before I reach my breaking point. And, to be completely honest, I’ve felt very close to finding out in recent weeks and months. [more...]

    A widow dating rant - Mar 28th, 2015
    I think one of the hardest things about dating as a widow(er) is the guilt that comes along with it. Worse is that some of the guilt comes from other people—and is sometimes laced with a bit of shame for good measure. And it means that the already emotionally charged act of dating is complicated by the confluence of so many negative and frightening emotions. [more...]

    Looking for love - Mar 4th, 2015
    Dating is hard. Dating in your late 30s and early 40s is hard. Dating as a widow is hard. And trying to do all three at once is a massive challenge! (I imagine that had I been blessed with children, dating would be nearly impossible!) [more...]

    Just a widow burden - Mar 1st, 2015
    From time-to-time, I get emails from people reading my blog. And today was one of those days. It seems that a relatively new widow, Lucy, found Just Frances last week and has spent several days scouring old posts about widowhood—as well as posts from my old widowhood blog. [more...]

    Life laughs - Jan 19th, 2015
    Sometimes I feel like the world is laughing at me; like life is laughing at me. Sometimes I feel like my entire life has been one failed attempt at happiness after another—though with short bursts of joy before tragedy strikes! [more...]

    Birthday reunions - Nov 27th, 2014
    Today is Paul’s birthday and I am a mess. No matter how many steps I take forward, there are some moments in time that send me sliding back to the raw grief I felt in those early weeks and months. Birthdays and anniversaries are a couple of the major culprits. [more...]

    A year of PhD dreams - Nov 16th, 2014
    Yesterday marked one calendar year since I matriculated as a research student in the Institute for Informatics and Digital Innovation at Edinburgh Napier University. It’s hard to believe that more than 15 years after first thinking about a PhD, I’m finally making progress on one! [more...]

    I am; I want - Oct 26th, 2014
    Yesterday’s writing prompt was to write “I am” ten times, then fill in the rest of the sentence. Today’s was to write “I want” ten times, then again returning to fill in the rest of the sentence. I decided to combine the two prompts into one post, as they are ever-so-slightly related. [more...]

    Shooing shoes - Oct 8th, 2014
    Well, I’ve done it. I’ve finally bought myself a new pair of black heels—nearly five and a half years after my last pair was purchased. I admit that this is something that should have been done a long time ago, but I couldn’t bring myself to do it until recently. [more...]

    Pride to the power of 10 - Sep 24th, 2014
    My friend, LA, introduced me to The Bliss Scandal so I decided I’d sign up and see what it was all about. To be completely honest, I wasn’t interested in taking most of the challenges. But that’s OK because I think that’s part of finding your bliss: Knowing when to say “no”! Anyhow, today’s challenge was one I was excited about because it was one I needed. And I needed it because it gave me an opportunity to think positively about myself. (Something I’m struggling with right now.) [more...]

    Ancient blogs - Jul 31st, 2014
    In preparing for a talk I’m giving next month about online reputation management, I went back and reviewed some of my old accounts. And that’s when I re-found one of my early (though short-lived) blogs. [more...]

    Dating downtime - Jul 12th, 2014
    No one said that dating was going to be easy, but I didn’t expect it to be as difficult as it’s been. Part of that, I suppose, is because I had this naïve notion that I’d just meet someone, sparks would fly, and the rest would be a lovely little fairy-tale. After all, that’s how it happened last time. [more...]

    Nine years on - May 21st, 2014
    Nine years ago today, I stood in front of God and my family and friends to profess my love and devotion to the man I expected to spend the rest of my life with. As it turns out, we had a little less than four years before he went ahead to meet God without me. [more...]

    Inch by inch - May 18th, 2014
    I spent a wonderful day on Inchcolm Island, exploring the abbey and surrounding grounds. It was one of those happy days, despite there being a slight tug on my emotional heart strings. But I knew that would happen as the first (and last) time I was there was nearly 12 years ago with Paul. [more...]

    My anxiety story - May 13th, 2014
    It’s Mental Health Awareness Week, with a focus on anxiety, so I thought I’d share my personal story on the topic. Please know this is a hard thing for me to write because I’m opening up and sharing something that is upsetting and embarrassing to admit. But if sharing my pain can help someone else who isn’t able to share their own story, it’s worth it. [more...]

    Stopping for the (Mel)roses - Apr 27th, 2014
    On my way to England yesterday, I made a stop at Melrose Abbey in the Scottish borders. It had been about a dozen years since my last visit but as that was part of a bus tour stopping at three abbeys in a day, I hadn’t been able to fully explore the ancient building and its grounds. [more...]

    Although the storm still rages - Apr 26th, 2014
    Today marks five years since I lost my beloved husband so suddenly; so unexpectedly. You’d think that after five years it would feel like a distant memory, but there are still days when it feels like it was only yesterday. [more...]

    Talisker 10: A random memory - Apr 24th, 2014
    I bought a bottle of Talisker 10 today, and it reminded me of the last bottle I bought exactly one year ago. It was a happy memory marking a not-happy event, and I found myself laughing about it when I remembered today, so I’ll share the story. (Are you excited?!) [more...]

    Escaping the comfort zone - Apr 23rd, 2014
    Life begins where your comfort zone ends. The magic happens outside of your comfort zone. Success, happiness, excitement, love … it’s all found outside of our comfort zone. [more...]

    Dating data - Apr 14th, 2014
    As part of my decision to be a bit more proactive about my return to the dating world, I’ve enlisted the help of a couple of friends who’ve assisted with (gulp!) online dating profiles as well as a few “old fashioned” introductions. [more...]

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