The first widow I reached out to after my husband died had lost her husband about 3 years prior. She was so honest and open on social media with where she was at during her whole journey. I remember thinking wow, what a strong woman. When I thanked her for all of her tips she replied, “I’m always here for a fellow member of this awful, terrible club we are in”. She was right. It is an awful, terrible club to be in and I wouldn’t wish this for anyone. But I am extremely grateful for those that were in it and shared with me when I reached out.
I could see that God had placed a few people in my life at different times who ended up being widows or I met them after their loss. I remember as I watched a couple of them face this event in their life and my heart broke for them and all I could do was say a prayer. Then, when it was me, I looked up to them and reached out to them for help. They all gave me wonderful information and were so loving. But the biggest thing it gave me was comfort that I was not alone on this hard and painful journey. I instantly felt connected which brought relief.
In the beginning I felt like I was stranded on an island. But unlike on Gillagan’s Island I had no group of friends. It was just me, feeling alone and not even sure where I belonged anymore. Majority of my friends and family were married with kids. I didn’t feel like I fit in that box any longer. Some people in my circle did not understand me or know how to handle me. So relationships changed or became non existent. So then I felt misunderstood as well. For a while, there I was on my island with no life raft or rescue boat in sight.
Finding others in my situation and being able to share with them is when I finally started to feel like maybe I was not on a tiny island all by myself. To share how I am feeling and to have someone just get it. No explanation necessary, just understanding. The look in their eyes reflected what I was saying because they knew what I was talking about. It can be hard when friends or family look at you differently. I am sure for them it was hard to know what to say or do. Speaking for myself, I at the time would not have known what to tell them I needed or what they could say or do. I’m sure I seemed like a different person.
I met one widow whose story is very much like mine. We instantly bonded. Our tragedies happened a month apart so we were going through the stages together. We have stayed in touch over the years and it has been a comfort. Both of our stories have a slightly different element then other widows. Our husband’s took their own lives. It’s crazy to think this woman was a complete stranger and yet within an hour of talking with her it felt I had known her for years like an old friend.
Finding people you can connect with and find support from in this journey is so very important! You don’t have to feel alone on your journey. Being with people who share your circumstances and understand what it is you are going through can help tremendously. I look at these women as a sisterhood. We support each other. Find your sisterhood. Do not be on a small island alone.