Hello. My name is A. and I’m a widow.

Here’s what I am: My true love died on November 11, 2007. I am a widow.

Here’s what I am not: a psychiatrist, a therapist, counselor, social worker or even all that good at listening to others.

Here’s why: I talk too much. I can be overbearing. I don’t always consider other people’s feelings before I blurt out what’s on my mind. I tend to be categorical, I often interrupt conversations and I love to argue.

But, here’s the thing: I know what it is to be widowed. I’ve made the mistakes and have stumbled around looking for what I needed when the one thing I needed most wasn’t possible. And I also have a pretty good idea of how to find love and comfort in the most unlikely places and in the most awkward of comments. My greatest hope is that this site provides a little bit of comfort to those deep in grief and gives some guideposts to those who want to help.

I was 45 when John died, he was 53. We had just passed our seventeenth wedding anniversary and had been sweethearts for twenty-two years. We fell in love on a date watching Halley’s Comet pass overhead deep in the heart of Texas. John’s early death was not unexpected in the grand scheme of things. We both knew I would outlive him; his health had been precarious since he was 16. It slowly and inexorably declined year after year. But neither one of us saw death coming when it did. If you knew John, you didn’t see it coming either. Perhaps because he had been given many death sentences since he was a teenager, which he deftly sidestepped time after time. This gave him an intense drive for living which the rest of us simply take for granted. Despite his weakening physical body, his forceful presence overwhelmed any frailties. You just didn’t think anything would conquer him. But it did.

Love fades, love grows, love changes and as it turns out, love does not die. But the ones you shared it with do.

This is what I did with our shattered love when I was left behind with the broken pieces.

Born in 1961. Married in 1990. Widowed in 2007. Blogging in 2009.

7 comments On About The Practical Widow

  • I lost my husband of 32 plus years on 11/23/07. Paul died at home after an extented illness, the last seven years he was bed-ridden and required almost constant care. After reading your blog I feel you are either clairvoiant or have my home under survelance. You are so on-target about so many things! Thanks for puttinig into words what needs to be said … it’s great knowing I’m not the only “widow” who shares these feelings. I take things one day at a time, sometimes an hour at a time, but it get easier. I really think finding humor in all things really helps … hope springs eternal!

  • Hi there, I just came across your blog and it’s TERRIFIC! We widows need to stick together. I lost my husband to a sudden heart attack on 9/7/03. I was 33, he was 39, our baby was not yet 1. I recently started writing about it – my blog is “Widow in a Speedo” http://widowinaspeedo.com. Drop by when you get a chance and say hi!

    Allison

  • Where can I find out what a “WILF” is?

  • Somewhere in the thoughts of the widows and widowers out there, may be the thought best articulated by the late Archbishop Fulton Sheen: We creatures at our best may be lovable. God alone [!!!] is love itself. Remember the love that brought you and your deceased beloved together, a love that is immortal, and pray to God for wise direction!

  • I am a new widow and am feeling totally at loss. My husband of 32 years passed unexpecteldy of cardiac arrest and I am now trying to get myself under control…. I am choking on grief, have panic attacks and cannot cry more than a few tears before my throat closes up and I am gasping for breath. I miss…everything…. My grown son is totally numb (he still lives with me) and I try to put up a brave front when in reality i just want someone to hold me…. and make things better, knowing at the same time that nothing will ever be the same or better…. Loneliness is unbearable and at the same time i cannot stand to have anyone around me. I am totally confused, hurt, aching, sad, looking at a live without love…. how do you go on from here?

  • Kathleen Dean

    How do I do I sign up to get this blog? Found your website while searching for help in closer. My husband passed away almost three years ago [Aug 2011]. Our 50th Wedding anniversary will be this month. I lost him twice, once to Alzheimer’s Disease and then to his third bout of cancer. I wear my wedding band and a Mother’s ring on my right hand – ring finger. I have a silver band with the words: Love, Dream, Believe on my left ring finger. I wear lost of rings, always have. It just did not seem reasonable to wear the wedding band anymore on my left hand. It is getting easier being alone. I have in essence learned to cope.

  • I am happy to find your site. My name is A. like you, my husband was John, and he died an extremely tragic death almost 6 months ago.

    I have not found a lot of resources/support groups for our age widow. I am 47 and married just shy of 20 years. I have two beautiful teenage boys and we have gotten through the last 5 months with tremendous…dare I say…strength. We do group family counseling at our church and I see a therapist regularly. I don’t mind the “be strong” statement, for it’s something I can do and be good at. I am also good at grieving, and have allowed myself to do so each day. Christmas was very tough, but we made the best of it. I am so very blessed with very, very good friends and family who support me. I don’t know if they will fall off the radar, but they haven’t yet. I am extremely close to my sister, my husband’s sisters, and friends of 20 and 30 years who are like sisters.

    The next chapter could be long, from what I am seeing here in comments. The affections of men feel really inappropriate. I feel very high school-ish. Newly divorced men come out of the woodwork. I am so not ready for anything. I tried, early on, to help a male friend going through a divorce. Yet, I wasn’t anywhere near ready to help him, nor could he help me given his situation. It has been kind of an emotional disaster for me, too much emotional vulnerability for both of us.Luckily, just talking and nothing physical.

    Yet, I don’t see myself retired and alone. I don’t know about next year, or the year after that, but I sure as heck don’t want to It the entire next chapter of my life alone. Again, I’m grateful for your website and just having another outlet to vent. I have found journaling to be very therapeutic. I also plan to paint the house. I talk to my husband every day, and I still look to him to guide me through life’s problems and help with the kids. That’s what gets me through.

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One more thing…

How else do I know what hurts and what helps? Because not only were they done to me… I learned through this process that I am certain to have done the very same "Don't" things to others at some point along the way. If you're one of them, I am genuinely sorry. I'm trying to learn.