Right after my husband died a good friend of my daughter came to visit me. She had lost her husband a year earlier. As we were talking about the sudden life we found ourselves in after the loss of a husband, we both mentioned the word WIDOW. I told her I found the word itself a horrible string of letters. It had no positive attributes. There was nothing pleasant about the title.
I have been used to respectable and loved titles. Words such as MOTHER, WIFE, BRIDE, GRANDMOTHER, GREAT GRANDMOTHER, TEACHER, DOCTOR, FRIEND, NEIGHBOR, SISTER, SISTER-IN-LAW, DEACON, LEADER, GRADUATE. All of my titles have had a pleasant meaning. They have all meant that I had either accomplished something or had persons that loved and thought well of me.
Now, when I fill out forms I have to check a box called WIDOW. It is as if I was now a strange person. What would happen if I did not check it? What if I were to just say I was single? Would I lose points of some kind? Would I not win some prize? It is like when you go to buy an airline ticket. They want to know how many seniors are traveling. You don’t get a reduced price because you are old. Do they just want to know how many they may have to help lift their carry-ons into the bin?
One of my very best friends said,” Welcome to the Club of Widows”. It is the only group you will join by no choice. It is the only group of which you will hate to be a member. It is the only group where you wish you had never become a member. This membership means that you are lonesome and feel lost. It means you have moments when you just want to hide. It means that some days you would prefer to stay in bed and let the world move on without you. It means that when you are in a social group, you smile but you are not happy inside. It means that you have to be careful or you will choose to be a hermit.
I have been told that your social group will change. You will not be invited to the couples club any longer. You are the fifth wheel. I am so afraid of that. My husband was such a part of me that all of my friends were his friends also. I don’t want to lose my good couple friends. I don’t want to be treated differently. I want to be included just as I was when he was alive.
I know the moment he died my life changed. I now “sleep single in a double bed”. I now have to carry out the garbage, pump the gas, keep up the cars, and do so many things that I counted on him to do. I now go through the day and night and talk to myself because he is not here.
My life is already so different. So I am rebelling. Enough is enough. I just don’t want to be a card carrying member of the WIDOW’s CLUB. Thank you very much.