Friday, December 10, 2010

what it is

Photo from golfest

Talking about being a widow is not something I always do....or want to do.
Sometimes I need to talk about it. Express why I am attending a social engagement alone. Assure others that I'm not a 'cast off' - that my husband left me because he was physically unable to stay....not because he found me in bed with my tennis instructor. Now and then, I have to purge the sadness by letting even grocery store clerks know that my husband died. At these times, I am quite skilled at wedging it into any conversation under any scenario.
Other times, the whole story of his loss seems a nuisance. I dance around the topic of the whole event until it is entirely necessary to mention the fact that he dropped dead for fear of having strange, unexplained holes in my stories and sounding like a lunatic.
I found myself in the latter situation tonight. I held off talking about it for as long as I could....and finally just stated, "My husband died in 2008".
I did not want to hear the "Oh! I'm SO sorry! I had no idea!" As I answered, "Yeah, well, it is what it is." And I realized just how over-used but very astute this saying is.
I felt slightly....resentful. Not for being a widow. I just didn't want to be different. I wanted to be one of the moms talking at the table about runny noses, bullies and fuel economy. I didn't want to feel marked by loss. I didn't want to be pitied. I didn't want to explain again what life is like alone. Because often, now, it just is.
I don't really know different anymore....because this is now my reality. And it is what it is.


  1. Early on in my experience of becoming a widow I followed this blog and many other widow/widower blogs for maybe about a week. Like you, I didn't want to be a part of this group so I stopped following, and ignored being a widow for a little over a year and concentrated on being a new mom. I'm you said "it is what it is".

  2. Ironic, I just had this type of conversation 5 minutes ago outside the meeting room after running into someone who hasn't seen my in 5 years. "You've lost weight, are you getting enough sleep, but you look good, How are you?"...and I just blurted it out to stop the questions. I can't have the mundane conversations anymore with the normals. I don't know how and I don't even know if I want to have even talk to 90% of this world anymore. I like talking to my kids, reading this blog, and my close friends/family. That's it. It's comforting to know I'm not alone. It's disappoint to know that I will still feel like this at times in two years. Greif sucks. This sucks.

  3. After a horrible week; where I have been made to feel different way to often, had to explain my parenting choices and have just not fit in anywhere, I have found myself saying "it is, what it is". This blog post has made me smile and feel like I fit in. Thank you.

  4. So well said, Jackie. I'm missing my company's holiday party tonight because my kids are sick, but I can't tell you how relieved I am! Everyone I work with is great, but the spouses, contractors, contractors spouses, white elephant gifts, "professional photographer on site for photos of you and your spouse" (GAG!), and remembering when I went alone, last year, because Julie was too sick, but we weren't "out" about her cancer, so nobody knew. Meh. Plus, many of them met the (now ex-) girlfriend this summer, so I really don't want to have to explain *that*, either.

    But I don't *want* to be relieved. I want to be able to go, have fun, be happy. To not be so "different," like you said.

    Is it time for Camp Widow yet???!!!

  5. I am not comfortable talking about it just yet for a number of reasons: (a) to avoid those questions that would bring back memories that would make me cry unexpectedly in a public place, (b) some people misinterpret what I shared. For example I shared with my friend that I missed those playful moments and cuddly moments with my husband and she took it that I missed sex (shucks), and (c) other men think I am lonely and are so blatantly ugly to say they want to sleep with me! It is disgusting.

    When friends ask me how I am, I would say 'alright' and would add ' trying to be'. I prefer to grieve alone and quietly.

    Sometimes people and friends do not understand that I want to grieve alone. I want them to stop asking how I am when they know I am not. I envy those widows who can afford to grieve in silence and at home, and do not need to work and pretend things are the same.

  6. I to found myself dancing around the subject just earlier today with a new acquaintance. I wasn't sure how to "work it in" or if I had to. After a year and 1/2, I just yesterday found myself realizing on a hectic, I'm single and it's really tough to do it alone!

  7. Jackie, I feel so similiar to you so amny times. How do you present yourself on this front without feeling different? I want people to understand, but not feel pity either. I do talk about it. Then there is dating, how do you tell someone who mught be interested in you? You want them to know that you are relationship materal, but ready to date without comparing them to your past partner. But that relationship will always be part of who you are!

  8. As a new widow I read that in victorian times widows wore a ring with black crepe in it for the first year. It was not for pity but so that you did not have to explain and perhaps you were offered a little extra kindness at times. I wished I had one--any jewelrs out there?