Will The Real McCoy Please Stand Up!
I was having lunch with a friend of mine a number of years back - who also happens to be a high-respected psychologist - when an observation was shared with me regarding my young widowhood. He said, “Laura, one of the reasons that you survived your husband’s death so well was because you had a strong reference point in which to cling to and emulate.” He meant my grandmother, who (like me) lost her spouse early in her life as a mother and wife and thrived, despite.
It was a conversation and memory, easily, dusted off when interviewing mom blogger Becky L. McCoy about her namesake blog, Becky L McCoy. Becky is a young mom and widow who lost her husband to the very same type of Cancer that I did some fifteen years ago -- Adenocarcinoma. With two little kids at her feet, however, Becky is using her blog to become a strong reference point for others coping with similar losses.
It’s an admirable, selfless, and healing response to a terrible tragedy, one I hope you never have to live through but can, certainly, learn from by reading her interview below.
What is your full name?
Becky L McCoy
Where do you live?
How many children do you have?
What is your personal mantra?
Choose to live bravely and authentically.
Share your life.
It’s hard to summarize. I lost my husband when my son was two and I was still pregnant with my daughter. In the first year (without Keith), I had a baby, moved closer to family), bought a house, ran a half marathon, and sold a house. I’ve found that the secondary losses (Keith missing the kids’ birthdays, first/last days of school, etc) have been significantly more challenging than learning how to live without my husband.
How has blogging helped you cope with being a widow and single mother?
I have seen my transparency through writing help other people learn to grieve. I have found it therapeutic to share my experience of being widowed as well as define and describe my personal grief journey.
What do you believe is the toughest part of being a widow and a single mom?
My children not having a dad and me not having a companion to celebrate and struggle through parenting with.
What is something unexpected that you learned about yourself as you moved into becoming a one-parent household?
That I have an incredible capacity for stress. I’m able to live a relatively “normal” life even though it doesn’t look anything like what I had dreamed. I discovered that I have infinitely more grace than I expected for people that don’t understand my struggles, fears, and hard days.
Share the moment that you truly realized you were on your own?
After my husband’s funeral back home, my mom and sister dropped us off at our home - several states away - then departed for vacation (a much needed rest from the crazy of the last few months). I realized that people’s lives were moving on and some were even going on and I didn’t even get to go on vacation because I was now, solely, responsible for the lives of two little people.
What do you believe society doesn’t understand about widowhood?
That it’s not like having a husband deployed or with a demanding job. There’s no hope of my partner coming home at the end of the day, week or six month period. And it’s different than being a divorced, single mom. I didn’t choose this and being a single parent is not a better alternative to my kids having their dad (even though it might be in many single parent situations).
Have you found happiness again since you lost your husband? Explain.
Yes. I haven’t remarried, although I would like to. But this time with my children is sacred. It feels like we are bonded together because of this time and some of my favorite memories will always be when it was just the three of us. I have found fulfillment in writing and sharing my story because I have a certain freedom with my time that I didn’t have when my husband was alive. I have been forced to re-discover myself (like a second adolescence) and am more confident and secure with who I am.
Do you lean on faith to help you cope? Explain.
Absolutely. My dad died when my son was born and I avoided grieving until it caught up with me a year or so later. When my husband died, I knew that I needed to face grief head on. I asked God to help me with that and he gave me the strength, grace, peace, and patience it took to pursue healing.
Do you believe there is a “reason for everything?” If so, what reason do you believe you are currently living the type of life you and your family are?
Yes and no. I feel that phrase is thrown around with significant nonchalance in our culture. I believe that pain has a purpose in pushing us to grow and make hard choices. I believe that pain can be transformational both in myself and my life. I do not always know the greater purpose for my pain, but I can see all the people that I have reached with messages of hope and grace and courage since my husband died.
What is the name of your blog? When was it launched?
Becky L McCoy. I had blogged casually since 2010 but rebranded in early 2015.
What is the primary focus of your blog?
I blog to encourage people to choose to live bravely and authentically. I want people to know that they have the ability to choose to move forward during difficult times and that they can and will heal and grow if they allow it to happen.
Beyond your blog, do you blog for other social media outlets as well?
Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Pinterest as @BeckyLMcCoy
Do you support – either formally or informally – a particular social cause?
Not beyond the work I do mentoring others through my blog.
When all is said and done, what is the one thing you hope your loved ones and those who knew you remember about you?
That I was brave enough to walk through challenging situations even when I didn’t feel strong enough. That I lived and loved fiercely and laughed often.
Strong reference points are invaluable, especially during times of trouble. The ripple effects are both large and small, generational and global. In my own lifetime, they’ve produced children centered upon becoming physicians and scientists -- out to heal mankind and the planet in which we live. That ain’t no small potatoes, folks, this week or any week, Irish or not. It a legacy to admire, support, and be proud of -- one which Becky L. McCoy is crafting for herself through each and every post. The lady's the real ‘McCoy’ in intention and words and I urge you to share both through Becky L McCoy, the blog. More hope, even a four leaf clover could not offer.