A Polyamorous Widow’s Journey Of Grief And Healing With Elizzabeth Cannon

WRT 34 | Polyamorous Widow

  It’s easier for us to wrap our brains around anything if it’s put within the context of the mainstream. As far as widowhood goes, we almost by default put it in the context of conventional monogamous relationships. We don’t hear a lot about how the experience of loss works for someone who is in a polyamorous relationship. That is the perspective we’re going to hear from Elizzabeth Cannon, a polyamorous widow who makes the rounds on TikTok, talking about all things in the intersection between polyamory and widowhood. Liz shares her grief and healing journey after losing her husband, Josh, to liver disease. She shares how she was able to carry on with life and choose joy despite the pain of losing her soulmate. Tune in to hear her amazing story! Thank you for viewing this post. I am not a licensed therapist or professional life coach. I am sharing my experience of loving the same man for 32 years, a mother to two adult children, a retired military officer, a breast cancer survivor, and my connections with others. Anyone experiencing suicidal thoughts should reach out to a suicide hotline or local emergency number in their country: https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/basics — Watch the episode here   Listen to the podcast here   A Polyamorous Widow’s Journey Of Grief And Healing With Elizzabeth Cannon We are about to have a conversation with Lizz Cannon who is a polyamorous widow. This should be very interesting and insightful. Let’s get into the conversation.     Let’s welcome Lizz Cannon to the hood. Hello, Lizz. The question comes up on how I met Lizz. You know I’m always looking for people who want to share their journey. I saw Lizz on TikTok and she was sharing her journey. I thought it would be a great opportunity for her to bring her story to the Widowhood, so here we go. If you want me to take the reins, I can give a little bit of a background. Go right ahead. I was married for twenty years to a fabulous soulmate and wonderful partner. He was a chef. His name was Josh Velasquez. Early on in our marriage, I guessed that his drinking might lead to some problems. He was, like many people in the restaurant industry, a heavy drinker. I never saw him drunk. He was so good at drinking that he would start early on his shift and keep drinking all day long. I kept saying, “You probably want to slow your roll.” He kept saying, “You don’t know my family. My grandmother used to drink a whole bottle of Ramade.” I thought, “Maybe a small bottle.” He continued. I thought he would become ill when we were in our 50s or 60s. Instead, when he was 38, he became very ill. I almost lost him three times in a row within about a month and a half. The verdict was liver disease and cirrhosis. His numbers were so bad that the doctor was trying to get him to have a transplant immediately. However, I noticed that since he had begun being sick and stopped drinking, his liver numbers had dropped precipitously. I said to him, “I am willing to go on this journey of seeing if you can heal yourself.” He tried and he did a very good job initially. He was doing everything he was supposed to and did get a lot better. Unfortunately, he wasn’t all better because you can’t get all better quickly from liver disease. One of his liver specialists made the mistake of saying, “Do you know why we call you around here?” He said, “What?” He said, “Wolverine.” I knew that was not going to be good. Sure enough, Josh started to do things he shouldn’t have been doing again. That wasn’t drinking so much as eating poorly, eating fatty things late at night, and smoking cigarettes again. When you’ve got advanced liver disease, you have to take care of that thing like it’s a little baby. He knew that, but as time went on, it got harder. He got sicker again. He got depressed. It became a vicious cycle of not taking care of himself. I ended up being a caregiver for the last two years of his life as ammonia started to affect his cognitive skills. I have so much respect for people who are caregivers to long-term ill spouses. I cannot imagine going on longer than I did because two years almost broke me. I learned so much about compassion from that. I’m amazed that people can be caregivers for long-terms because two years was so hard for me. One of the things that I’ve wanted to do in sharing my journey of being a widow is also to say to people who are caregivers that they need to take care of themselves, too. It’s becoming an epidemic in this country of people who are struggling to take care of their spouse or other loved one and they don’t have that much support. We don’t have a village anymore. We are a viciously individualistic country, and that leaves a lot of people stuck where there’s no one to help. There is no safety net in this government. There is nobody coming to help take care of your spouse. It’s hard. I have so much compassion for the caregivers, too. I learned a lot about compassion through being a caregiver, watching him struggle, and watching him try so hard to do the right thing and not have the capacity to do it. That’s the other thing. There’s this community of TikTok widows. We talk a lot about each individual person’s journey. One of those facets is, for me, recognizing capacity. Where you come from is going to inform what capacity you have. For example, if you’re a widow who knew that your spouse was going to pass away, that’s going to create a different capacity on how to heal when you are trying to heal. …

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