If you’ve been a reader for a long time, first of all, thank you. Maybe you’ve read since the beginning, or maybe since I published that article in Vox about dating that sent a number of young widows to this blog. Or maybe you just lost your spouse and just started reading and if that’s you, I’m sending you a virtual hug. Hang in there. I promise it gets easier.
Over the past three-and-a-half years (and over 500 posts!) I’ve learned a lot. I’ve grown up, as a mother and a teacher and a widow and a human, and I’ve gone from writing a blog that’s singularly about me and my loss to one that (I hope) reaches other young widows and has meaning for those who read it regardless of life experience.
I started this blog six weeks after Shawn died for a number of reasons. At the time, I was desperate for some sort of emotional pain relief and I had spent weeks looking for something online that spoke to me. Nothing did. I also was inundated by dozens of wonderful people who wanted to know how I was doing, but answering them all was pretty overwhelming. In addition, I just needed one spot to put everything down I was feeling. I mentioned this all to my friend Caitlin, who helped me put together the framework for this website. I started writing, and DC Widow was born.
I look back over some of my old posts and cringe a bit – at the writing, sometimes, and other times at my worldview. My early writing is rough. I often did it in the pre-dawn hours when I couldn’t sleep or while sitting in a parking lot trying to avoid sympathetic eyes, or while hiding in the corner of the library of the high school where I teach. I wrote about whatever was on my mind, and I had a lot on my mind. I thought little of other people in those early days. I had only two young widow friends for most of the first year of widowhood.
But time passed and life changed. My life didn’t simply go in a straight direction towards happiness or enlightenment – not at all! In fact, I had a terrible slide back into grief in the spring of 2019. (Feel free to peruse the March 2019 archives for some pretty raw and gut-wrenching proof.) But I started to open my eyes more to the world. I got letters and messages from many of my readers and I learned more about grief and loss and pain. I embraced my role as a single mom and I understood more about my dad each day I lived with him. As corny as it may sound, I grew.
And I wanted this blog to grow, too.
I started a “Ask a Widow” page which led to a number of questions that I tried to answer for readers. I began talking more about dating, and what it meant to try again after loss. I started to meet more widows and incorporate ideas from their lives.
And of course, I fell in love.
This last event, more than any other, has made me question what my role is in the widow blog world. What’s my authority as a widow if I’ve found someone new? Can I really know what it means to be a widow if I am, once again, a wife?
I don’t have any good answers to these questions. I can only offer my thoughts, based on my story, the one that I’ve written about multiple times a week for three-and-a-half years. But I want to keep writing, and I want to keep talking about life and love and loss and grief and – yes – widowhood. I have no idea why I feel so compelled to keep writing, but I do. I love this little blog and I love that people read it, and so I’m going to keep writing it.
That said, I want to keep expanding what I write about. If you have an idea or a question or just a thought, please contact me. (You can do that via social media or through my contact link, which is finally fixed.) Also, I love feedback! Do you have a different perspective? Let me know. I want to hear from you and I want to keep DC Widow relevant for other young widows.
If you’re a new widow, my current reality may feel too happy for you. That’s okay, and I get it. You may prefer my archives from the early days. (By “early days” I mean the first 18 months after Shawn died.) And yet, there are still current blogs, including blog post #500, when I’m pretty raw with my feelings of fear and loss. For those of you who want to keep reading about my life, I’ll have some of that in here too. And when I can write more about widows in general, I plan to do that. Stay tuned for blog posts about getting remarried as a widow, grieving Shawn on his deathiversary as I wear the ring Chris gave me at our wedding, and how the kids understand our new family. I mean, I don’t even know what I’m going to write for all of these events, since they haven’t happened yet, but just know….they’re on the list!
Finally, there’s a new look for DC Widow, thanks to painstaking work by Chris who (lucky for me) is much better at navigating WordPress than I am. I particularly like the new resource page, the easier-to-see imbedded links and the “you may also like” pins under each post. It’s a new look, but all the archives remain. I haven’t deleted a single post, even the ones that make me cringe. It’s my history, and I don’t want to delete it.
Someday, I’ll stop writing this blog. Some series of events or length of time will make me step back and say, “I’m done with DC Widow.”
For now, I think there’s more story to tell.