Flying Solo

I’m borrowing this term from Denise Hildreth Jones. Flying solo refers to those who are never-married, divorced, widowed. I lost a spouse to death.

June comes hot and crushingly hard and its first 26 days bring anticipation of the 27th and 28th when it all happened, two years ago. Two years. Lick finger, make a checkmark in the air. I’ve made it two years.

After 730 days and nights of flying solo, I feel I know a thing or two. I have experienced the gamut of emotions, from “I don’t have to live with this pain, I know how to end it” to “Hmm, I sort of like being able to eat a quickly thrown-together salad on the couch in front of ‘Grey’s Anatomy’ without having to fool with anyone else.”

Nonetheless, I’ve had the time to assess these first two years of my life, and I’ll share some observations for those of you who will be going through this shortly. Yes, you will go through this. You will lose a spouse—one year, five years, ten years from now. Death happens; one is stripped away. Your only option to avoid being left behind is to die first. Period. Other than that, you don’t have a choice.

Some things I have learned about flying solo:

First thing, I can do it. I can fly solo. I can do just about anything. I just about damn well have. I may have to get my 30-pound ax out and chop my way through hell, but I’ll get there. [Note to self: Toot your own horn, dear, and while you’re at it, buy a bottle of Kendall Jackson and toast yourself. Yeah, do it!]

Solo means alone, without a companion or a partner. The day after my husband died, when someone told me I’d have to build a new life, I wanted to slap them. It was not my choice to live solitary within four walls constantly closing in, but I have adapted. And I have made my way. [Note to self: Straighten that backbone, girl; you’ve grown accustomed to this!]

In reality, I am of no value to anyone, except to myself. In other words, nobody gives a damn how I feel or how hard it gets. They all have their own lives and their own stuff. That is the bitterest pill to swallow, but that’s the very nature of flying solo, and you gotta get this in order to go on. The one who valued me as a person is no longer present; nor are certain key others, like my mama and my dad. When I loosen up and don’t look out for myself, I’m often left standing in the cold. I forget this sometimes and find myself slapped in the face with that proverbial snowball. [Note to self: Learn to manage this better during the third year. And remember—you are enough. No matter how they make you feel. And while you are convincing yourself of that, go buy yourself some flowers. You are worth it.]

It helps to have a friend who understands. I have one. [Note to self: Let this friend know that you value her. And show her with your actions. Be there for her above all others.]

It helps to observe which people throw snowballs and which people bake chocolate chip cookies and to make wise decisions regarding such. [Note to self: Life is short, eat chocolate!]

“Never give in. Never give in. Never, never, never, never—in nothing, great or small, large or petty—never give in, except to convictions of honor and good sense.” Winston Churchill. [Note to self: Always respect and live by quotes of men named Winston. They know integrity and honor, and they think of the well-being of others rather than just themselves.]

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3 Comments on “Flying Solo”

  1. Linda Hoye says:

    A powerful post, but I am sorry you had the wisdom and experience to write it. Hugs, Linda

  2. Beautifully said, Kathy. As someone who flies solo for different reasons, I admire and am inspired by your strength and insight. You are truly an amazing person. Even before you began your solo era, your focus and perseverance were traits that impressed; now they are part of your character that moves you through these years with grace, sincerity and self realization. Thank you for this post. No matter our personal situations, we all can learn from it. Let’s raise a glass of Kendall Jackson to the insight of men named Charlie and Winston sometime soon.

  3. Christopher says:

    True, Kathy. And well said. I hope you’re doing well. I’m with Chance on the Kendall Jackson party (yes, I’ve elevated it to a party).


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