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Today is my birthday.  It also is the eighth month-i-versary of the day my beloved took his last breath.  If you've been following our journey, you know that Doug and I wondered and talked about self-love very often after he lost his penis to cancer.  Doug wondered whether he was enough - for me, for the world - and I wondered what it would take for both of us to embrace our new reality.

We believed that self-love was essential and, both of us being writers, we wanted to find an adjective that conveyed not only the relief that self-love would bring, but also the struggle that would be required if we were going to overcome the painful, negative, fearful thoughts that ran amok in our minds. We decided that nothing short of Absolute Self-Love would get us through, and we helped each other remember that self-love was an option on those days when despair or self-loathing seemed the only appropriate response to our circumstances.


 
 
PicturePhoto Credit: Pixabay.com
Guest Blog:  Losing a spouse at any point in life can seem unbearable, but for seniors who have been with their spouse for decades, it can be unfathomable.  During this time, it is essential to do everything you can to keep yourself healthy - it really is possible, even though it might not seem like it right now. Below are three proven tips that will help. 


 
 
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In the four and a half months since my beloved Doug died, I have begun to heal, emotionally, mentally, and physically.  Unwillingly at first, I've begun to weave myself together as a new person, knowing very well that my experience as "Annie" will never be exactly as it was before.  

This selfie shows me that light is returning to my eyes, and although I would drop everything and run into Doug's arms if he suddenly appeared, I now, once again, recognize my light, the light that exists as Annie, despite everything.

Every day I allow myself plenty of room to feel and express my honest emotions, and I also repeatedly focus my attention on the best of what was, to help me move forward.  Today I want to publicly give attention to the best of Doug's medical team, the wonderful caregivers at Benefis Health System in Great Falls, Montana, USA, people who cared for Doug - and me - not only clinically but also emotionally and communally.