Some of you act as you’ve never buried your husband, and it shows. That’s why there’s an International Widows’ Day. To most people, this is just another day. But, to the over 13.7 million widows in the U.S, this is our day. This is our day to feel recognized and celebrated for how far we’ve come on our journey.
If you cannot understand the importance of this day, be grateful. This is a club in which you don’t want to become a member. In an instant, our lives shifted. We went from wife to widow in a heartbeat. Or lack of one. You choose.
There is death, and there is death that changes every single facet of your being. That’s what being a widow is. When you lose a parent or child, your financial situation and job don’t change, and poverty doesn’t become an issue for you. Your self-esteem isn’t altered. You’re the person people stare at because they’re afraid they’ll become you (don’t worry, you can’t catch “widow”). You become alone because you lost your partner and support in life.
Some of us widows are parenting alone, and that adds to the grief. We can’t even grieve for years because we’re too busy making sure the kids are okay. This is why it takes singlest parents (widow parents, I’m trademarking this when I have the time) so long to move through the grief and heal themselves.
Widows rock. As people, we fight tooth and nail every day to navigate a life we wish were very different. There’s a heaviness inside of us that we can’t shake. We make decisions and fight judgment because no one can possibly understand how difficult life as a widow is. Unlike divorcees, we don’t ever get over our loved one. As single parents, we are always doing the most without much help or appreciation. Mom brain plus widow brain is a big cluster eff, trust me. So day by day, we simply try and put one foot in front of the other to navigate a new life that we didn’t ask for.
It’s the hardest thing I’ve ever done.
If you know a widow, ask them about their life. Learn the invisible struggles that they face. Let them know you’re proud of them. Send them a virtual (or real) toast for all that they’ve done and continue to overcome. Don’t be afraid to say their spouse’s name because we love nothing more than to know you remember them.
Celebrate your widows today, so for once, they don’t have to celebrate themselves.
Your IM Widow,