I became a widow at age 43. Not super young, but not super old either. (As a proud member of Generation X, I am okay with being somewhere in the middle.)
Regardless of my age, it hasn’t been easy. I only got twelve years with him so I mourned the years that we didn’t get. I mourned the experiences we didn’t get. It felt like I didn’t get to know him long enough, and that just didn’t seem fair. I also hurt for our ten year old daughter, that he would never see grow. She was robbed of time with him as well.
Over the last three+ years of my widowhood, I have seen countless other widows and widowers of all ages join the various online widow support groups that I am also a part of. Widows that are sometimes younger than me, sometimes older.
One time, not so long ago, I saw a post from a younger widow lamenting how awful it was to be a younger widow. Many of the comments expressed that it’s awful to be an older one too. Obviously, that’s right too. Because it’s difficult no matter the age.
As someone in the middle, but on the young-ish end of things, I could absolutely relate more to this younger widow, however. It’s easy to feel envious of widows who got many years with their spouse; who were perhaps better off financially; who were able to raise their families and maybe even see grandchildren grow and flourish. My heart was breaking for the young widows with little children or babies who never even got a chance to meet their fathers. (Not to mention the ones who never even got the chance to have children with their late spouse.)
I was discussing this with an aunt of mine who was able to relate with the older widows. (She is a sassy, no-nonsense Texan so she minces no words.) She said to me, “when you’re younger, you still have your looks and it’s easier for you to get out there and meet someone new. And it’s also easier for you to learn how do things around the house, and you have more energy to get out there and do it!”
She may be right, although I am not sure what this “energy” thing she speaks of is all about, but I was able to more closely empathize with the older widows, when she put it like that. (Although I know plenty of absolutely gorgeous older women, who can walk circles around me, energy wise, and who may or may not care about meeting someone new.)
This led me to the only possible conclusion : It SUCKS to be widowed at any age.
Young, old, or in the middle like me, there is never a good time to be widowed.
Every age bracket has its drawbacks.
Losing your partner, no matter how old you are, hurts.
We are all in this club together, and recognizing that it is rough on both older and younger widows goes miles toward helping us become better supporters of one another.