Today is National Widow’s Day. And unfortunately, I am a member of that club. A club I never wanted to join. But I am surrounded by some of the strongest men and women I know. We support each other. Lift each other up. Hold each other when we need to cry. Commiserate about being alone. Discuss the hardships of solo parenting. I’m not sure how I would have survived without my widowed tribe.
Many in my widowed community also lose their friends and family when their spouse dies. But I am also blessed to have amazing friends and family who supported me on my grief journey. Who continue to support me. Who are always willing to help. To listen. Who help keep Jared’s memory alive. Who celebrate my newfound joy. Who understand that 5.5 years is forever and yesterday all at the same time. Who continue to miss and love Jared but at the same time are willing to open their hearts to my new beginning.
This widow journey is not one I would wish on anyone. And given the option, I would give my widow card back in a heartbeat. But that is not an option. So instead I will march on. I will wear the title of widow proudly, with honor. Being a widow means I was loved until Jared took his last breath. It was my privilege to be Jared’s last love.
Today on National Widow’s Day, do every widow you know a special favor. Talk about their dead spouse. Speak their name. As a widow one of the most painful things is to the think that others have forgotten your late spouse. Remember, that our lives were forever changed in a single moment. Our life as we knew it ended when our spouse died. The future we had planned vanished, never to happen. Our present became one of basic survival. We no longer felt whole, complete. A part of us died in that moment. And our loss should not and cannot be ignored. Our loss shaped us into who we are now. Someone new, someone who has lived in darkness and fought their way back to the light.
Acknowledge our loss. Don’t ignore it, change the subject, or refuse to speak their name. These actions are hurtful, they make us feel alone. Like an outcast. Today of all days, honor a widow. Remember their life before death. Speak their spouse’s name. Honor a love so deep that even death cannot end it.
To all my widowed friends, I’m sorry we are walking this journey. That we know this pain. This struggle. But I am grateful that I do not have to do this alone. So today on National Widow’s Day, I honor my widow tribe. I honor my love story. And I will continue to look for hope and happiness.