Earlier today, a member of the widowed young message board I belong to posted a link to an article written by a woman who was lamenting being a "golf widow." She started out her article by saying her husband had not died in a freak golf accident, but maybe it would be better if he had because then people would bring her casseroles, give her looks of pity and set her up with hot young guys to help her through her "transition" period.
This did not exactly go over well with the widowed community. But I understand the author's point of view as I thought it was that simple too-and then James died and I realized it is only that simple if you are the main character in a TV movie or cheesy romance novel where everyone lives happily ever after in the end.
Normally, I would not have read the article. It's kind of long and truth be told, these days I just don't have that much of an attention span (another "side effect" of grief). And I normally don't respond to online articles either, mainly because I hate that every website wants you to register first so they can send you spam even though they assure you that will never happen.
Today however, I am incredibly exhausted from several nights of negative, aggressive dreams, and the recent ordeal with Sammy's tumors and the photography class homework assignment have brought back to the forefront my fear that I am going to grow old alone-something I have always been afraid of that James assured me was not going to happen because he was not going anywhere. In other words, I am not having a Suzy Sunshine kind of day.
There are other responses that are much better written and certainly a lot more eloquent than mine, but I never claimed to be a good writer or eloquent. I had to drastically edit my response as it exceeded the maximum word limit by 93 words. Here is my response, pre-edit:
"Last year I was widowed at the age of 34. My experience over the last 16 months has been that widowhood does not actually play out like the Lifetime Movie of the Week.
No one brought me casseroles. They sent flowers and plants, which was great since I threw up everything I ate for the first 3 weeks anyway. The pitying looks serve as a reminder that I am no longer half of James and Heather. I am now the "poor girl whose husband died." I have learned who my friends really are and believe me, there have been some surprises. I have lost long time friends because they now see me as a reminder of their own mortality. I have learned which friends are okay with me talking about James; however, I have learned that most people would prefer I just act like he didn't exist since that eases their discomfort.
I am not going to wake up one day magically cured-I don't have the flu. I am moving forward with my life the best I can. I am getting out and meeting new people, but they aren't hot young guys my friends set me up with. They don't know hot young guys; they know happily married ones. I am meeting fellow widowed guys and divorced guys up to their eyeballs in baby mama drama.
Prior to James' death, I was a "WoW widow" and a "Pittsbugh Steelers widow." Being a "WoW widow" allowed me to work on my own time-consuming hobbies. I thought I didn't care about the Steelers until the day I realized that in a few seasons, I probably won't even recognize the team I was surprised to learn that I could actually carry on an intelligent conversation about a year ago. What I wouldn't give to have those days back.
I sincerely hope that you never have to experience this. And if you do, maybe you'll be lucky and it will play out like it does on TV, but I wouldn't count on it."
Word on the street is that due to all the responses she has received from young widows, she has asked her editor to remove the article.