How to be a Bad A$$ Widow (hell yes that’s all capitalized, we’ve earned it) 

Tricia R. Kauffman


Let me start off by saying I thought I was a bad ass/independent woman prior to all of this. I learned quickly I was not.

I learned/lived on my own until I was 30, I owned my own house, I had a good job, great friends, a couple bad relationships, but I knew what I was doing. Cory and I got married at 31. My Independent ass struggled with having to consult with someone on household decisions. Cory was amazing. In all ways. When he died, I went into task mode. I went as far as going to a princess luncheon with our newly turned three-year-old on the day of his visitation. Yep, crazy… I realize that now. 


I was coping, mind you probably not in the most healthy way, I was task oriented and getting shit done (and eating a ton of ice cream after our daughter went to sleep). About six months after Cory died I got a message on Facebook from a high school friend that just said, “You are a bad ass!”  I thought in that very brief moment… you know what, I am a bad ass! Then a split-second later I thought well, she doesn’t see me crying in the car after I drop our Margaret off at daycare, she doesn’t see me crying in the shower, she doesn’t see me frozen in the grocery store because I forgot what I came for.

I went back to that message several times so I could feel that bad ass feeling for a minute and gear up for another day, another hard memory or just simply a Tuesday. “You are a bad ass! You are a bad ass! You are a bad ass!” This quote became my mantra in my most difficult moments. You and I both know, there are SO many non-bad ass moments as a widow, so at times, I would just fake it. Other times, I owned it, “Yes, I am a bad ass.” 

I thought I had shit figured out pre-widowhood. I did not. That’s okay. We need to start believing we are a bad ass before it’s actually true anyways. 

My story is bad, they all are. My husband, 38 at the time, found out he had cancer and died 12 days later. He got officially diagnosed with stage four pancreatic cancer the day before he turned 39. He lived 11 days as a 39 year old. We had been married 5 years 8 months, and one day when he died. We had some typical struggles in our marriage, and one, what we considered at the time, a large battle during our marriage which was infertility. After what we thought was our big struggle was cresting, we had our miracle IVF baby. She’s perfect, hell she sure should be, she is the best of both of us, created in a lab, and couldn’t look more like her handsome daddy. She had just turned three when he died. I was “supposed” to be pregnant from our last ditch fertility treatment in Greece. It did not work. I’m thankful it didn’t. I would have been 9 months pregnant at his funeral. 


Your story is awful too, they all are. I’m sorry. Those are the only words that work. I’m sorry you lost your partner. I’m sorry your world will never be the same. I’m sorry that with any future occasion that should be joyful there will always be a twinge of sadness. I’m sorry that all you have are pictures. I’m sorry that you believe you may never feel blissful joy like you had before your loss. I’m sorry for all of it. It’s not fair and it absolutely sucks. All of it. 


In this weekly blog, I am going to attempt to give you my perspective on how to be a bad ass widow in those moments where you don’t feel strong enough to be a human, let alone a bad ass.