Walking Through Widowhood
One step at a time
You might have noticed that this post is in a new section called ‘The Widow’s Walk’. I’ve placed all of the posts I’ve written about my husband Ed’s passing—the posts before and as it was happening, and the posts afterward as I’ve entered widowhood. I’ve done it this way because I’m not sure all of my readers want to read about my loss. Or maybe it’s too big a trigger for those who are suffering their own loss. If you’re a subscriber, you can turn off any sections you don’t want included in your emails. You have that choice and I’m fine with it.
I admit that, for me, there’s a certain amount of queasiness about writing such personal stuff, but I can’t seem to avoid it. The death of my husband is an overwhelming part of my life now. It affects everything. It won’t be the only thing I write about but it’s an important part, not just for me, as I’ve discovered from comments and letters I’ve received, but for many of us going through the death of a loved one and having to endure the many stages of grief. Not just the death of a spouse, but a partner, a parent, a sibling, a child, an aunt, an uncle, a friend… Grieving is a unique kind of pain.
There are times when we’ll need the comfort of other friends experiencing the same things. We often need to talk through our racing thoughts, our confusion, our fears, our guilt, our triumphs.
And sometimes not. We need that option, too.
We don’t want to burden anyone else with those thoughts we can’t even describe to ourselves. We don’t always know how we’re feeling, we just know we’ll burst if we don’t let it out. So out it comes, and sometimes it’s in the craziest ways.
Sometimes it comes out in a fury aimed at someone who doesn’t deserve the lashing and has no clue what prompted it. Something as simple as saying “He’s always with you”, when it’s not true, not true at all, but it’s heartfelt and not anywhere near as malicious as our grieving brains have processed it. I have to learn how to deal with these things.
Sometimes it’s an uninvited flow of tears while standing in the grocery line, prompting the comfort of complete strangers who can’t know how awkward and embarrassing it is to be on the receiving end of their pity.
Sometimes it’s stopping dead in my tracks when I’m filling out a form and it asks if I’m married or single. Which am I? I feel married. Yet legally and in every other way I’m…single. So here’s how I’ve handled it: I choose ‘Married’. It’s past tense, isn’t it? I was married.
And on to the next dilemma. There will be many and I may want to talk about them. I’m learning new things every day. How to cope. How others cope. What it all means. I’ll likely be tearing it all apart right here. If you want to talk, this is the place. If you just want to listen, I’ll try to make it as comfortable as I can.
I know one thing for sure: I’m really glad you’re here.
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Walking the walk as well. Thank you for this opportunity.
So very sorry for your loss, Ramona. Welcome to the club none of us wanted to be in. I have written extensively about my own grief and loss journey in the 8 1/2 years since my husband died, and that is the one area where I have learned I don’t mind sharing in an incredibly personal way. I hope you don’t mind some advice from a fellow widow (who still talks to her grief counselor): if it helps you process, keep writing about your pain, and don’t judge yourself for what you feel, think, say, do or write in any area of your life right now. You are going through something devastating that few can comprehend unless they have been there.
Also, I leaned this from my very wise grief counselor and perhaps it helps. Your marriage did not end with Ed’s death. You are still married. You will always be married. You get to check that box “married” for as long as you wish, or forever!