I am more than just a widow.

If I had a dollar for the number of times I was referred to as a widow, or “you know, the one whose husband died,” I think I could buy myself a beach vacation to get away for a while. While I DO proudly identify with being a widow, I sometimes feel that others forget that a widow isn’t the only thing that I am. It often feels like what happened to me is what defines me to the rest of the world. I understand, but man oh man, I wish I could offer perspective to so many.

I do live a somewhat normal life. Widows don’t shop at special grocery stores, wear unique clothing, or have a separate line at airport security that we have to walk-through and hear people yell, “Excuse me, folks! There is a widow coming through!! Please make some room for the widow!!” *eye roll* On a side-note, do you think a widow grocery store would carry anything other than wine, chocolate, and Puffs w/ Lotion? That actually might be a nice idea…

I digress. We’re people with a traumatic past, really just like everyone else. We all have a griefcase that we carry around. Widows just often have a more noticeable style.

In case you were wondering, I do have a whole list of other titles that encompass who and what I am.

I am a loving daughter, sister, aunt, niece, cousin, partner, friend, and of course, an obsessed dog mom. I am also a great home-cook, musician, worker, and organizer. I take pride in these titles just as much as I do with widowhood. Sure, there really weren’t any scars that came along with obtaining these titles, but I am damn proud of them nonetheless.

Widow” is not an adjective. It doesn’t describe all that I am, or all that I have yet to be.

The title of “widow” doesn’t tell you that I am also incredibly stubborn. I hate not being able to get something done that I know I am capable of.

I am passionate. I can find beauty in the very simplest of things, and when I love something or someone… you’re going to know it.

I am funny. I have conversational wit that often surprises people who don’t know me well.

I am resilient. I have walked through the flames of emotional and physical hell (some days I’m still walking), and I came out the other side… stronger.

I am courageous. I am not afraid to continue this life knowing that anyone that I love dearly could die at any moment, even though I know firsthand how scarily often this can happen.

I am hopeful. I know in my heart that there is more to this life than feeling lost and lonely. There is more to this life than constantly drowning in grief. There is more… it’s out there… and I am finding it, slowly but surely.

Most of all, I am still here. I am still breathing. I am still alive. I have a purpose, and even though some days I’m really not sure what that is, I know I’m still around for a reason. I didn’t die even though my husband did, and that means that I have two lives to live, and twice the amount of love left to give. And I refuse to give up.

I am more than just a widow.