What kind of widow are you? &
What kind would you like to be?
Widow is a word that feels tattooed to my flesh against my will. Try as I might to scrub it away, conceal it, or pretend I don’t see it there, but at the end of the day, it is there. Always there. This label was one forced upon me against my will. I didn’t choose to bear these markings. I have fought against this title every second since it became attached to my broken heart. I never imagined I would have to wear this label at the age of 36, and I must admit that the imagery I have always associated with the term “widow” is anything but rosy. Just the mention of the dreaded “w” word, and I see images of lonely, old ladies wearing black, heads down, tears falling, hearses, cemeteries, caskets, yuck.
I used to picture elderly widows hardened by the pain of their loss who are cranky, bitter, irritable, and discontent. Seeing elderly women bearing this title is something I would expect to see, but little old me, sweet little me who spent everyday so in awe of God’s gift of her husband, and marriage and cherished every moment? I’m not supposed to be a widow. I waited a long time for God to send the right special man into my life and I was supposed to share much more than 8 years of marriage with him,… right? We were entrusted with two precious sons to raise, together. Children need to grow up with good fathers,…. right?
Every fiber of my being rails against this widowed life each day. I don’t think it will ever be something I “get used to.” In fact, I suspect it will always feel like a personal tragedy that forever changed the course of my life. I try to remind myself that I don’t have to be defined by the term “widow.” I am Dorothy,…. but then who is she now anyway? I’m still sorting out my identity. I can’t be who I was as a single woman. Becoming a wife, mother, and widow drastically changed that version of myself. I can’t be the couple identity I so cherished that people loved to be around, or the Chris’ wife identity that I adored and felt so secure in.
It has been said that what defines us in life is not so much what happens to us, but how we choose to respond to it. I cannot change the fact that I became a widow. I had no control over that.I was given no choice in the matter. I don’t know what the future holds, but in the 24 hours set before me, I am trying to remind myself that I can make it my aim to choose the kind of widow I am today.
This is the definition of widow that accurately describes me the vast majority of the time.
Today, hard as it is, I would much rather choose, other things. Like……
Walking forward, one step at a time,
Interested in life again,
Dedicated to being a great Mom despite my sorrow,
Observing the things I still have to be thankful for, and
Willing to do my best today to play the cards I’ve been dealt with at least some measure of dignity.
Many days, it feels like I must “fake it til I make it.” I paste on a smile though this is the unhappiest I have ever felt in my entire life. I choose to speak optimism and faith when I don’t feel it. I act brave for my kids when inside I am terrified. It is my hope, that one day, down this long and winding road of turmoil, that I won’t need to “fake it” anymore and a real sense of happiness will return to my life. Maybe then I will be the kind of widow pictured below that I constantly fall short of in my personal life and personal faith.
So what kind of widow are you today?
What kind of widow do you want to choose to be?