About a week after Shawn died, I was driving my children somewhere and my 8-year-old daughter Claire asked:
“Mom, did you know you are a widow?”
“Yes,” I said.
“That means your husband died” she noted helpfully.
“I know” I told her.
Of course I knew before then that I was a widow, because as she pointed out that day, it’s the word we use to refer to wives who’ve lost their husbands. And yet it really stuck out that day. I didn’t like it.
I guess I’d always assumed that “widow” is for old people, at least a hell of a lot older than me. Before this year, widow is a word that I’m sure I never would have said with a smile on my face, a word reserved for someone I would have pitied, and probably assumed was at least 70.
I guess it’s not the word so much that bothers me, although I don’t like feeling old when I can still vividly remember throwing wild parties at my house and nursing tiny babies and going to concerts with my husband where we danced all night. It’s that I don’t like that it reminds me that Shawn is gone and that he’s never, ever coming back.
It’s that it makes me feel so dreadfully alone.
It’s not like there’s anyone I know who I can share this with. I know they’re out there (I’m a member of a secret Facebook group called the “The Hot Young Widows Club”) but they certainly aren’t in my immediate circle of friends. I searched online and found a few blogs, but most were about general loss, and I didn’t feel like I had much in common with someone who’d lost a parent or even a sibling. I had lost my mom as a teenager, but the loss of my husband was different. It was just so much more raw and horrible. Not to mention incredibly more logistically complicated.
I tried keeping a diary, but why work on writing something coherent when the words are just for you? “I am so sad” written 500 times on a piece of paper didn’t seem to help much.
And so, with the help of my millennial friend, Caitlin, I started this blog. Within 24 hours of starting it, I had a dozen ideas for blog topics. They were rooted in the frustrations and worry and sadness that had been bottled up inside of me since the day I lost my husband.
January 9th, 2018 was the day I became a widow. This is my story.