In honor of National Grief Awareness day, I will share that widowhood pet peeve number 1,376,897 is when someone refers to my late spouse as my “ex.” He’s not my ex, y’all. We didn’t break up.
Sometimes the gamut of emotions can absolutely make you feel like you have experienced the breakup of all breakups, but this is not the case and people need to understand this.
This line of thinking can seep out into other areas, as well. People might wonder why you still have your wedding pictures up, or on your social media, as it is usually considered taboo to still display photos of exes.
This is not the same thing at all.
It’s not like we widows can have a few extra glasses of wine and decide to “drunk dial” our late spouses in an attempt to get them back.
It’s not like we can ask a mutual friend to casually mention our name in hopes of them asking how we are.
It’s not like anyone ever, has to wonder if we will get back together with them.
Because we can’t.
So please, non-widowed friends, another grace you can extend to us is not referring to our late spouses as “exes.”
And for our widowed friends who were in some way separated or estranged from your spouse at the time of their death, your grief matters too!
The complexities of romantic relationships in no way alter the love that you shared.
It’s nobody’s business what was going on in your personal lives at the time of their death.
Widowhood is something that is going to affect at least half of us at some time or another, so these are lessons that will benefit nearly everyone we know.
A little mindfulness and a whole lot of understanding will go a long way toward supporting a widowed friend.
And understanding that their late spouse is just that and not an ex, is a good way to be mindful and supportive.
On behalf of the widowed community, we thank you.