My widow journey began on August 29, 2014. This means I’m closing in on eight years as a widow.
What a thought. On the one hand, I’m eight years past the initial hurt I felt when he died. Healing has been slow, but deliberate and steady since then. On the other hand, I’m eight years out from hearing my sweetheart’s voice, kissing his handsome face, seeing him fight to stay with us, and ultimately witnessing his last breath.
I don’t know how I feel about either of those things happening to me.
But, and this is very important to me…
It feels as though people have completely forgotten that I am a widow.
I do know how I feel about that.
I don’t know why I am surprised at this. I really shouldn’t be. So few acknowledged that I was a widow a week after Tony died. People practically ran the other direction and avoided any conversation about Tony.
When it’s fresh, when that horrible thing happened, when you’re attending a funeral, offering condolences, bringing over covered dishes and wiping away the tears from the widow’s face…it is very hard to forget about. It’s right there in your face…the loss, the pain, the disbelief, all of it.
I get it. It’s hard to talk about and no one wants to make Widow Barnes cry. As if these people saying words could single handedly do that. The hole in my heart causes the tears, not hearing my love’s name out loud.
But as time passes and the pain is less obviously on the widow’s face, people tend to at first gloss over it…then “forget.”
Eventually, it is as though it never happened.
It did happen though. Some days it is like it was yesterday and my soul cries out for him like it did that day. Some days I feel every minute that has passed since then and wondered how I made it this far. Other days, I marvel at how I kept it moving in spite of it all.
I’ll say it again. It did happen. Why does it feel as though everyone forgotten about it? You don’t forget to eat, shower or take your cell phone everywhere you go. Why is this such an easy thing for others to forget?
I understand that death is a very difficult subject. It always was for me, before. But not acknowledging the day and the loss can be just as painful as the loss is. I will tell you that it hurts me when no one seems to remember my Tony.
Perhaps saying that it was forgotten is a bit harsh. But that is how it feels. My sweetheart’s birthday is still his birthday to me. Our wedding anniversary will always be our anniversary. The day he died will always be “that” day. Eight years later, the special days in our lives are barely, if ever, acknowledged. That is what hurts the most about this. I want to talk about him because that’s what keeps him alive for me and others who love him. Having to watch someone’s eyes glaze over and literally hearing that “I don’t want to hear this AGAIN” switch flip is just as hurtful .
Don’t do that. We can see that plain as day.
So, for National Widow’s Day -please remember us: call, text or email your widow friend:
Send her some flowers
Take her shopping
Bring her a meal, have one delivered or take her out.
Go to the cemetery with her
Be quiet and listen
Say their love’s name. Then say it again. We love that.
Many of us would give anything for someone to listen to us just talk, or sit with us in the silence of remembering.
Doing these things will show her know that YOU remember too.
To my widow sisters, I have not forgotten you and what happened to all of us. I never will, no matter where and when you are in your journey. I can promise you that.
**Have you heard about Hope for Widows Foundation’s annual Restoring Hope & Peace Grant program? It was established by the organization in 2019 to help widowed women offset financial challenges as they navigate their healing journey. You can find out details, timeline and the history of this grant here: https://hopeforwidows.org/grant/ All widows based in U.S. and Canada are encouraged to apply. Applications are now open on National Widows Day, May 3, 2023. For additional questions feel free to email firstname.lastname@example.org **