My third favorite “F” word is flowers,

my second favorite “F” word is food,

and I’ll let you guess what my first favorite “F” word is.

Speaking of f***ed, I think all of us widows can agree on the fact that our early postmortem memory bank is well, f***ed.  I have no memory of making funeral arrangements (“funeral” is now my least favorite “F” word), no idea if the kids even brushed their teeth that first year, and I truly have no clue why I woke up one morning during that first July of my widowhood wearing a bathrobe and black leather leggings in my front yard. What I do remember about those early days though, is the flowers.

***Disclaimer about funeral flowers before I talk sh*t about funeral flowers*** 

I heart flowers! I sure as hell can’t grow them myself, but a well arranged bouquet of flowers delivered my doorstep gives me about as much pride as I imagine one has when actually growing them in their own garden. I love flowers so much so, that my roommate/BFF/Life Partner/Co-parent- thingy, Lynnette and I compete monthly in something  we call, “The Flower Wars” in which we both see how many men and gay women we can convince with our charm to buy us flowers (side note: I am winning for the month of January).

I love flowers.

I loved getting flowers at my husband’s funeral because it meant that people were thinking of me. It also meant that they were acknowledging to me that there were no appropriate words to say in this situation. As the flower-givers approached my pew at the church the day of my husband’s funeral, the only form of communication they gave me was a sympathetic head tilt as they extended their floral filled fists (I am having “fun” trying to “fit” as many “F” words into this post as “feasible”), and for this I am eternally grateful.

My favorite people in the world are people who know that the best thing to say to a widow at the funeral is nothing.

Where was I? Oh yes, f**king funeral flowers. Now that I have proven to all of you that I love flowers in general, and the funeral-specific flowers that I received were greatly appreciated, I need to tell you not to buy me flowers next time my husband kills himself (which is highly likely since I have had two husbands within a twelve year span attempt suicide, hence why I am bat-sh*t crazy); and here’s why:

Three days after my husband John’s funeral, I began to notice one of my lovely bouquets was wilting.

You know what else wilts? Dead people.

You know who was a dead person that week? The love of my life, John.

Well, as you can imagine the sight of these wilting flowers sent me into hysterical sobs until the valium kicked in nineteen minutes and fifteen second later. Once I was a properly sedated widow, I took the next logical step in my grief: I threw all of the flowers away. I instantly felt guilty about this as I knew the people that bought them for me had the best of intentions, but I knew there simply was not enough valium in the world to help me, should I see another wilting flower.

Where did this flower buying tradition come from? I’ll bet it was the same people who invented shoelaces on toddler shoes. Neither are very logical. So, what is logical then? What should we be giving to widows and widowers at the funeral?

I suggest the invention of something I like to call, “The Widow Registry.” A lot of us begin our marriages with registering for household items, why not register for widowhood items as well? I can’t tell you the pleasure I would have gotten had the funeral director said to me, “And to the right of our mahogany casket collection, we have the Widow’s shopping area, here’s your scanner and a glass of champagne.” Now that’s how I’d like for my mourning process to start!

Sometimes I fantasize about how amazing it would have been to be standing in front of my husband’s urn at the funeral while a long line of people were handing me widow necessities and not saying a single.damn.word.

What would your widow registry have on it? Boxing gloves to punch your un-empathetic family members with? Sleeping pills and an endless supply of wine? A coupon for free babysitting services until the end of time? How about a gift certificate to your local spa?

Michelle’s widow registry would look something like this:

Gift cards for free pizzas to alleviate my, “The kids are going to starve to death because widow brain has made me forget how to cook,” guilt

An endless supply of twenty and hundred dollar bills (wait…scratch the pizza gift cards if I get this)

Gallons of Bacardi 151 rum and Titio’s Vodka with a side of air as a mixer

55 gallon drums of lotion-infused tissues

Assorted fleece sweat pants and hoodies for the lazy laundry-free three year mission I was about to embark on

Valium (funeral directors should be able to prescribe this)

Boxes and boxes of condoms for all the one-night-stand grief sex I was about to be having in the days and years following the funeral

Whatever is on your list, I want you to know that there is no statute of limitations on grief and therefore, there is no statute of limitations on the Widow Registry. Yes, I know this amazing service does not really exist, but the idea of it, of treating yourself, and allowing others to treat you, still can.

Widowhood sucks.

Even if you’re thirty-five years into it, widowhood sucks. It will suck a little less when you don’t have to cook for your kids and you have some warm fuzzy pants on during your bathroom floor cry sessions.

What has happened to you is a travesty. One of the few things religion and science both agree on is that humans were never meant to be alone, and yet, here you are. We were designed (or evolved) to be communal beings. We were meant to bond deeply, and so we have; and now that bond is irrevocably changed; and no matter how close of a relationship your husband had with other people, they all most likely get to crawl into bed at night with someone, while the widow, (that’s you!) is left with only the hope of finding the stray scent of her beloved on a pillow in the bed they once shared. If that doesn’t warrant a free babysitter and an hour-long massage at a high quality spa, I don’t know what does.

I challenge all of you to treat yourself this week and when you do, please tell me about it!

© Copyright 2017 Michelle Miller


Michelle Miller is a grief blogger, has essays featured on and, and is the author of, Boys, Booze, and Bathroom Floors: Forty-Six Tales about the Collision of Suicide Grief and Dating. Her memoir chronicles the aftermath of her husband’s infidelities and suicide in 2014 at the age of thirty-one, and how she used dating to run from, and simultaneously into her grief.
Prior to her husband’s death, Michelle worked full time with special needs students in a small town while balancing life with two young children and a volatile marriage. Her approach to grief is one of extreme empathy, humor, blunt honesty, and….okay, a few cocktails along the way.
Michelle is currently living with her best friend, and their five children in San Diego, California. She is working on her second book, Ghetto Grief which is a collection of short stories about the unconventional ways in which she grieved and continues to grieve her husband; set to be released in 2017.For links to follow her on social media, view her blog, purchase her book, or read her published essays, visit: