WIDOWHOOD: THE CLUB NOBODY WANTS TO JOIN

There is not a woman alive who would willingly join the club called “widowhood.” It is forced upon us.  We are not widows by choosing, but we do have the power of choice.  We can set some guidelines and tenets for this club.

  • We are women who loved hard and lost even harder.
  • We are every color, size, race, religion, and shape but we suffer the same loss.
  • Some of us have lost our appetites and some of us have binged.
  • All of us stopped sleeping for a while. Eventually, we began to sleep through the night again, without reaching out for him and sobbing.
  • Each morning we wake up as if we are inserted into the movie Groundhog Day and remember the nightmare is real, but we still manage to move forward.
  • We have learned to ignore platitudes and respond with kindness, even though we do it through gritted teeth.
  • We have learned to surround ourselves with the safety of nurturing friends who listen to our tales of woe.
  • We have lost friends in our journey of grief, but learned to forgive.
  • We sob in the shower, in the car, in the bedroom. Sometimes we even cry in the street and don’t give a crap!
  • We are overwhelmed with the sadness that we will never feel the security of a man’s tender embrace, but we are learning to survive on our own.
  • We know we can rely on other widows who “get” our heartache to help us through the tough times. We are bonded by a commonality of pain.
  • We have perfected the art of “no,” which helps us take care of our immediate needs.
  • We have learned to prioritize our lives and do the things we really want to do as opposed to all the things we “should” do.
  • We have learned to be honest with ourselves and others, no easy walk in the park!
  • We have learned that widowhood is messy, ugly, and hard to navigate. We are cautious to traverse slowly and carefully through the mire of grief.
  • We have learned to keep an open mind and be more flexible in our decisions.
  • We have learned to laugh without guilt, which is no easy feat!
  • We eat popcorn and chocolate for dinner which is not a good thing.
  • We have learned to uncork our wine, which is a very good thing.
  • We have shelved our frilly nightgowns for the old cotton ones.
  • We know that we cannot make any big decisions for a while and we respect that unwritten widow’s rule, “in moderation.”
  • We try to practice self-compassion and stop being so damned perfect! We know we have the license to take all the time we need to grieve.
  • Our brush with mortality has shown us that we must take time to live to the max and enjoy a lot more ice cream!
  • We have learned to hang our own pictures with a little help from a buddy to eyeball the angle.
  • We are adept at programing our DVR’s but then weren’t we the ones that did it before?
  • We have started to entertain again and cooking is a welcome activity and release.
  • We have learned how to do the finances even though most of us detest it.
  • We have learned to venture out of our comfort zones and be a bit more daring.
  • We don’t know how to fix a flat, but then he didn’t either, so we keep our AAA membership up to date!
  • We have unwantedly discovered the meaning of life. Death is a hell of a life lesson.
  • We have learned to live in the present without looking down the road to the scary future.
  • We know that at night, when we turn off the light and remember he is gone forever, it makes us teary-eyed, but also grateful for all the loving time we shared together.
  • We have learned to define ourselves as survivors, not as victims.

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