Widow Widow Widow…

Considering it’s in my blog’s name ‘widow’ is a word I actually haven’t said aloud that often in relation to myself. ‘I am a widow.’ Nope, still does not compute even after 12 months. When I do say it I say it almost with a hidden ‘Haha’ tagged on the end of it. Not because it’s funny but because I think I still think it is a joke that this weirdy word describes my status in the world. How can that be? Well, we all know the answer to that question but it’s a word with such negative connotations from history, literature, films and society in general that it’s horrible to have it define you. It marks you out. You are not ‘normal’. In some cultures it leads to exclusion and in others it leaves your fate to the whim of your husband’s male relatives. A few hundred years ago in the UK it could leave you as penniless and ostracised from social interaction with anybody but your immediate family. While nowadays you’re left to get on with it, to fall back into place and cope with no special marker on you, no black garb to ward the world away and on top of that there are the stereotypes that people can and do place upon you, some assume you’re rich and others perhaps think you’re on the prowl for stealing a husband or two. It’s a widows perogative to keep them guessing as to you whether you are or not but really we are quite busy catching our breath after the death of our partner and mourning their loss that stealing husbands is quite low down our priority list.
I have just spent much of the weekend at the WAY – Widowed and Young charity’s AGM having a laugh and chatting with people who also sit under the shadow of this word widow, and indeed its male equivelant, widower. As I did, I saw the word become less of a negative and more of a positive before my very eyes. OK that’s a push, it’s never going to be a big, fat happy word but it lost some of its sharper edges and became easier to digest. I have said widow more times in the last 24 hours than I have in the last year. And I have said it with a proper laugh, sharing some of it’s ridiculousness, or the ridiculousness that comes with the chaos being a widow throws your way, with people going through the same rubbish as me. A room full of widows doesn’t sound like a barrel of fun for a Saturday night but I was encouraged that all those people in that room were finding a way through and redifining what it is a to be a widow/widower today. I didn’t come away feeling that WAY had solved it for me and I had found my spiritual home with these many merry fellow widows. However, I came away realising that this is not WAY’s problem. It’s mine. I am only just admitting to myself ‘I am a Widow’ so I sat on the fringes thinking ‘this is so not me’. I think as I change my mindset to admit that yes I do have something in common with those WAYers then it’s a charity that could help me and many others move forward. So there it is…I am a widow, widow, widow.

5 Replies to “Widow Widow Widow…”

  1. Greetings from Ireland. Love, love, love, your blogs! I read about you on the Mail last week and have been an avid follower since. Your strength is admirable. Your girls have a fabulous role model.

  2. Hi, my husband died last May, and I have come to hate the word WIDOW. People ask for your title Ms, Miss, Mrs or Widow and I still say Mrs, but then they ask about the husband and you have to say sorry I am a WIDOW Argh……
    Like you I have had some one assume I am rich, when in reality, I have had to change my job which is now part time and money is becoming an issue of how am I going to cope. As for husband snatching, this subject came as a surprise from the vicar. I was told to be careful about who I have in my house because people and neighbours gossip (IE if visitor is a man) also to go careful not to come between couples and risk destroying that. Is this actually what people think ?? Like you said, all these issues are furthest from your mind, in my case I am trying to cope on my own (no children, friends all gone) all you want is company, conversation and friendship. But the rules in todays society has changed and this in itself brings more grief. So where do you go from here ? I am still trying to put a whole new life together, finding new friends to replace the ones who have deserted me, but friendship takes time and is not easy when feeling so desperate…… WIDOW WIDOW Argh…… I hate it so much………

  3. For the first year I felt like I had a giant W on my forehead.

    To Diane H in the comment above, it is a difficult road to walk because others do not understand your situation, not even when they say they do, and other women often don’t want to see your pain because they do not want to acknowledge that they too will someday be in your shoes. Argh, indeed. Deep breath. Carry on.

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