after death did us part

Latest stories

Friendships

F

I got to see some of my college friends last weekend. These are women I’ve known for more than 30 years. They were among the first people to comfort me after my husband died, even though I’d lost touch with some of them in varying degrees. They have been my rocks when I was finally able to talk about what I went through, why I distanced myself before. They never held it against me...

Navigating the Fog of Grief

N

Even though we didn’t have a great marriage anymore and I’d thought about escaping him many times, I was hit by a huge fog of grief when he died. The trauma of his illness, the violence of that illness in his last three days, and the feelings of not knowing who I was were the beginning of a surreal fog that is a common thing that protects grieving people when they need to make...

On Not Being Helpless

O

It was weird when I became a widow and noticed most of the marketing of services or help for widows showed smiling, little, old ladies who were widowed in their eighties, like my grandmother. I am not one of those women. I’m in my mid-forties with a few gray, glitter strands that have been accumulating since my late twenties. And I didn’t feel much like smiling for a long time. After my...

Making Decisions

M

I’d spent a great deal of my marriage hearing that I wasn’t capable of making decisions. “Make a decision… but not that one,” was something he said to me often. It was infuriating to decide what to have for dinner or which route to take to go somewhere and then be overruled. “Why did you make that?” “Why did you drive that way?” It got to the...

Keeping Secrets

K

It’s been 4.5 years since my late husband died of liver cancer. He kept his illness secret and made me do the same. I covered for him to honor his wishes not to tell his coworkers and his sisters and my own family. Even his father didn’t know the extent of what was wrong with him. Only his mother knew almost as much as I did, but I was his nurse for his last four months and knew...

When the Loss of a Spouse Feels More Like a Breakup…

W

The other day, I was talking with my best friend about how sad to hear about our friends having trouble in their marriages or divorcing. Some are trying to save their marriages. Others had divorce papers sprung on them by their cheating spouses. Others drifted apart. They have those choices. Being widowed can feel like a type of breakup–one you can’t control, didn’t expect...

Slowly Healing and Purging

S

It’s taken me a long time to be able to talk about the abuse my kids and I endured when my late husband was alive. Lots of therapy and soul searching have let me see him for what he was and allowed me to reclaim myself. There’s nothing like that feeling when we realize that we are more than capable to take care of things—whatever those things are. I have found so much strength that I didn’t...

A Letter to the Former Sister-in-Law

A

In the first few months after he died, you called me to talk. Those two or three phone calls were for you to cry about how unfair it was and for me to give you comfort for losing your brother. He was selfish enough on his deathbed that he didn’t want you to know. In his own twisted, not-right mind, he thought he was helping you by not allowing you to see him waste away into nothing. He...

International Widows’ Day

I

The UN has June 23 designated as International Widows’ Day. (You can click here to go to their website with more information and resources.) My first reaction when I heard that there was a day for widows was “meh.” But after reading the UN’s website, I realized that this day isn’t for widows like me. While I may often feel the stigma people still attach to widowhood...

Anniversaries After He’s Gone

A

Some widowed people commemorate their wedding anniversaries with fond remembrances or celebrations. Not me. Surprisingly, he didn’t want me to memorialize him at all—not on holidays, his birthday, his deathday, anything. “That just roots you in the past. Move on,” he said. I thank him for that one moment of clarity on his deathbed. Still, the societal norm of posting old...

after death did us part

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