after death did us part

Tagliving life

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...

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

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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...

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

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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...

A Letter to the Former Sister-in-Law

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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

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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

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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...

Rebuilding… Just about Everything

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I got to visit with on of my absolute best friends from college the other day. It was only for a couple of hours while she and her family drove through town on the way to visit family, but it was so good to see her. It’s been almost three years–long distances and busy lives do that. But our friendship was icy for many years. We talked for a long time about what most people...

My House Is Not a Shrine

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One of my neighbors told me that her mother passed away over twenty years ago. My friend was in her early twenties at the time. Her dad never cleaned out her mother’s side of the closet. Over twenty years later, he was still living with his late wife’s clothes and belongings where she’d left them. My heart goes out to him. I know a woman in her late sixties who was widowed a few months ago. I...

The Sh*t I’ve Found 1: Music

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When we clean out closets and drawers and places, the things we find often spark memories. Not all these memories are good ones. For me, many of these are reminders that he wanted me to be someone I wasn’t. Cleaning out stuff is like upsetting the bottom of the lake and muddying the waters. That’s how it feels to me. I know that after I clean out the clutter, the water will clear. When I got my...

after death did us part

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