Sunday, June 6, 2010


Do NOT talk about them.
Do not bring them up in conversation!
Pretend they don’t exist.

Proper widows talk about proper topics. These two topics are socially don’t-ask-just-assume-the-best topics. Only the bold among my friends will broach the subjects.


Sex with a man I like is delicious, scrumptious, enticing, drug like, fun, exhilarating --- oh but wait. I, widow (female) am not too discuss that need, that need, at the age of 45, is alive and glowing in me because it’s not about making babies anymore. It’s about the sheer fun of doing it! I am not to converse about my need to be held, to be openly desired, to feel a man’s naked body up against mine. I am not to talk about how just imagining his intense breathing just ……yummy!
I am not to discuss my sexual need. It’s vulgar.

I widow, a mother to three poor grieving children who have lost their father so tragically is too angelic to consider her loins.

And then there is cash, moola, dinero, buck, dough.. M-O-N-E-Y.
Last week a good friend said “So how are you surviving anyway?” I laughed cause really I didn’t know.

The words “wing” and “a prayer” flitted across my mind.
Running out of it puts the issue of money in my face daily. And with it comes the shame.
The idea that somehow we mismanaged, lived to high, didn’t work hard enough, were foolish, not responsible…all of it presses down on me until it’s absorbed into my skin becoming part of my being.
I believe the whispers that say incompetent, fool and spender and then I look down at my three year old jeans, the ones I jam my ass into every summer.
Because if you are a hard-working, red blooded American you always have money. And because somewhere along the line of being that hard working red blooded American we learned how to manage money through….
And Rick Edelman, Suze Ormond and David Bach.
Not from my parents.
My husband not from his.
Today I am sucking that shit out of me.
We had six months of savings in an account like all professionals suggest. He had a retirement plan. Society says stay home with babies. What they don’t say is , it’s not worth paying you for your time.
His life insurance company unjustifiably canceled his account. (Yes lawyers are now involved…on contingency) His parents chose not to support their grandchildren with one single cent although they are very able.
Been working my business (private K-12 school admissions and financial aid expert) and its growing and searching for a job at the same time. There has been little space for me to “allow the grief to come” like some counseled. There were spots when I shoved it back down, deep and hard because I was on the phone with a client, taking to an admissions director or just had to figure out how to feed four on a not-even-well-balanced meal. There were doctor’s appointments that were put off. If it didn’t take so long to go to dental hygiene school (or cost so much) I’d go so I could clean my kid’s teeth. The teeth that haven’t seen those nice masked people with silver tools since 2008, months before Art’s cancer returned.
We budgeted. We stayed within that budget. Our credit card debt is below $3000. And yet the guilt borrows in, nesting in my essence. We must have missed something. If we did it all “right” I wouldn’t be trying to stretch a $10 into $100.
And I’m sick and tired of keeping this quiet. I’m struggling. I'm mad and I'm saying something.
I come out of the closet because
But shhhhhhh
Don't talk about it, I am grieving widow. It's undignified.
I vacillate between sweat-inducing fear and believing that “If I leap, the net will appear.” I have leapt, I have visioned and prayed and meditated and prayed again. Good has come my way…so many amazing gifts, Only umm, God? This time You seem to be cutting it a little close!
The fear of having no money grips me, shakes me and says “you need to do something NOW!” but fails to include details. I continue to take action, trusting that the ground is not coming up at me as fast as it appears.
And it all feels familiar, the fear, the anxiety, the not being able to see how I am gonna get through the next month or the next 5 seconds.
As I suck the guilt and shame from me, I find power, clarity, fire and a don’t’-mess-with-a-widow strength that is hard to contain.
I don’t know how this will work out. But damn it, my husband died last year. If I can survive his death. I can survive anything!
I am widow, hear me ROAR!


  1. i know this fear so intimately that we could be twins.

    waiting on the VA to process his death pension when they were so swift to process him out to Vietnam, Beirut, Afghanistan, and what seemed like a hundred other places is so hard to understand.

    struggling to create my own business of sewing and embroidering and crossing my fingers for someone to have a baby so i can make a quilt, or a little girl who wants embroidered flowers on her jeans for school scares the hell out of me. how do i make it from one day to the next? hand to mouth.

    and i want him back. i want his advice. i want his eyes on me smiling his devilish smile. i want to be in bed with him snuggling, a tangle of arms and legs, and have again the laughter and the joy of being with him.

    yeah, we could almost be twins.

    i wish you peace.

  2. I hear you.

    When you lose your spouse, you lose everything - your love, support, listener, friends, free time, fun, shoulder to cry on, sex partner, everything.

    You lose the income but not the bills. You can do with less, but you can't do without. You learn to smile in public and cry privately. You learn to say you're doing fine as your world crumbles around you. You learn to fix things the best you can because you can't afford to hire someone to do it correctly.

    Nobody understands that being widowed changes every aspect of your life. It takes away everything and the only thing is gives you in return is more stress, more heartache, and hurting children.

    Longtime married friends advise you to have faith, keep your chin up, and move on. But they don't know that their advice means nothing because they've never walked in our shoes. They haven't walked down this rotten grief journey, this tear covered path. It just makes me angry.

  3. What a great post, Kim! My husband died last year, and also of cancer... Funny, but our 'life plans' didn't include that happening... For me, there was NO savings, NO life insurance, NO pension, NO Social Security, NO nothin'... I relied on the kindness/handouts of family to get me by the first 6 months... until I could 'figure out' how to live on just my income... My 'saving grace?' NO kids to support (all 5 are grown adults, living on their own), just a dog, just me... and I didn't need to eat those first few months (couldn't really)... Now, I scrape by... and it's okay... BUT, "Sex?"... God, I miss that!! More so though, I miss the closeness/intimacy of it... being held close, skin-to-skin, feeling another's breath against my face... having fingers entwined with mine... being gently caressed... I wanna be held, SO BADLY... but, it's ONLY been a year... so, "Shhhhh"... I'll just keep that to myself... And like you, "If I can survive his death. I can survive ANYTHING!" (even loneliness and being broke)

  4. Yes you are not alone. Your latest post could be a summary of my life. I am thankful that you will talk about both: Sex and Money because I continue to do so even though I see the reactions, the confusion on others faces as I defy what they want me to be or are comfortable with me being. But I also feel clear that we must forge our way no matter how bold or unconventional. I think maybe deep down inside others understand more than we think, it's just too new for them to process, they are also struggling with how they should react to it all.

  5. There was no savings, no life insurance, nothing to fall back on here either. We are scraping by on the social security survivor benefits for now. I'm going to college online so when my ss benefit stops in less than 2 years I'll be ready to hit the job market with real skills that may actually get me a job that pays more than minimum wage. My dad helps me when he can with a little money here and there. If it weren't for him we would have lost our home last year right before hubby died. People like to ask how you are managing but they don't really want to hear the truth that you barely get the bills paid each month. That you lost your car because you couldn't afford the payments. That you had to turn off your house phone to cut back on the bills. They don't want to know all that because it drives home that someday they too may be in your shoes and it scares the hell out of them.

  6. Thank you for boldly breaking the silence!

  7. Thank you for the bravery it took to say ALL I want to say and think about all the time. I absolutely HATE to think my comfort today came because of another's suffering, but I consider myself blessed to have read your post this morning as it gave me strength and courage in knowing someone else knows EXACTLY how I feel. I pray one day soon life gets easier for you -- for all of US. God Bless you.

  8. You said all the things I've been thinking and wanting to say for a year and a half now. We had nearly 41 years of marriage.....the cancer and drugs made him impotent but I miss the hugs and kisses, the "spooning" in bed and the feeling of his arms around me. I'm a senior citizen but the need for physical contact doesn't diminish with age. I'm so jealous of couples I see holding hands.....I could scream. Thank you for saying what I'm afraid to share with friends.