This and That

Musings on Being a Writer and My Life

On Being a Widow

  • November 12, 2012 6:59 am

I am a widow now that my husband passed away. I don’t like the word widow. It conjures up images of old ladies in rolled black stockings shrouded in “widow’s weeds”—black clothes hanging off their backs. Women who no longer exist, who are mere shadows of who they used to be. Women, who unlike the rest of us, know that their best days have ended.

I don’t feel that way.

Yes, I grieve. For how much Dan loved me. For my husband’s company. For his humor. For his very presence. For the joy he took in our daughter. For how much he loved his dog. I even grieve for how much he could annoy me.

It is very hard to get used to living in my house—not our house, driving my car—not our car, talking about my daughter—not our daughter. The very language of being alone takes getting used to.

I know that I present a brave face to the world. For the most part, my emotions seem under control. At times, I am sure that I seem almost clinical. I tell people that he died because there was no other option; that his health had deteriorated to such a degree that it was the only thing that could happen. His last few months were so drawn out that Dan’s life had become a living death. There was little to hope for—certainly not recovery.

When I look in the mirror, I see an intense sadness in my eyes. My days are spent listlessly doing things I have to do—taking care of all the errands that accompany a death. And there are many: the lawyer, Social Security, the bank, the retirement system, credit card companies, the DMV. Everyone needs something from me and I have no energy to do any of it.

Sometimes I would like to lie in bed, or sit in a chair and sleep until it feels better—whenever that will be.

I have to reinvent myself. Find ways to fill in the lonely evenings. Find friends to have dinner with—because the prospect of eating my evening meal alone is too painful. Come to terms with the fact that certain of my couples’ friends will no longer see me as “fitting in.”

My family and friends tell me that I am “strong.” I can show this so-called “brave” face to the world—while inside I’m an emotional mess.

Sometimes I’d like  to completely fall apart. Am I foolish to soldier on? I don’t know.

All I do know is that I feel like an enormous scoop of my soul is missing. Someone asked me recently how I was doing. I told her that it felt like I had lost my arm. She nodded and said, “Oh.” What else could she say? What else could I say?

I hope that, in time, the rawness of this pain will be dulled and I can enjoy the new life that has been thrust upon me.

11 Comments

  1. April says:

    My mom has experienced the same thing. Over time it gets easier, but it is not the same. You are correct. You have to reinvent yourself to a degree, to find a new reality. You have to take just one step at a time, one day at a time. God will give you the strength. Your job here on Earth is not done. You still have a mission to complete. Stay close to God who will guide you. I am here for you, too, my friend! Hugs!!

  2. Very insightful posting and something all women need to read. At any time, we could find ourselves facing the same challenge, of finding new direction in a life after a great loss.

    My mother, at 88, is drifting after losing her husband of 66 years. I worry that she spends too much time sleeping, but perhaps that is part of the healing process.

    Keep on “keeping on,” and I look forward to seeing your blog post on this topic a year down the road to see how life changes and evolves.

  3. Lucy says:

    I know that I can not understand your pain but I can agonize with you. I saw my Dad feel the same way for 23 years since losing my MOM. However, he did not stop living! He focused on the wonderful family who loved him and that gave him his new breath of life. You have wonderful Brenda and Amy to do that for you as well as your Solivita family. You must know by now, Kathy , that I am always there for you
    Lucy

  4. cathy christ says:

    Kathy I know just how you feel my beloved Steve left me 5 years ago but his presence is here in the house all the time and he is with me wathching over me as he always didand protecting me yes the pain of lossing someone is great but it does lessen a little but they are never forgotten but us or any one who new them keep upthe good work with your writting and i hope you know i am there if you ever want to just talk Love Cathy Christ

  5. Marilyn says:

    I was so glad to read your blog Kathy, I have always felt writing is therapeutic and I hope it helped to write down and share some of your feelings.

    Thinking of you and hope to see you at the next SolWriter’s meeting.

    Marilyn

  6. Eleanor T. Coan says:

    I know that there are no words to help heal your pain but please note that you are in my prayers and that when the time comes you will be able to handle life in an easier manner. Until that time comes remember that there are very many people in your life that will be at your side when needed. You were very blessed to have Dan and he will always be in your heart to help you.

  7. Dear Kathy,
    Bravely putting your feelings out there is one step closer to your recovery from your loss. If you are able to get involved in any physical activities that may also help.
    And channel all your emotions into your writing.

    You are very talented in many departments. The Solivita Community appreciates all that you have contributed to the Sol Writers, Book Circle, and The Travel Club etc. We need you and look forward to your continued leadership.
    Sending love and comfort,
    Bobbi Mastrangelo

  8. Gloria Carlow says:

    Your blog is exquisite. I have read it several times and now it is easier for me to visualize what you are going through. I can only hope that some of your pain will fade soon. You are very fortunate to have had all those years with Dan.

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