Hello. My name is A. and I’m a widow.
Here’s what I am: My true love died on November 11, 2007. I am a widow.
Here’s what I am not: a psychiatrist, a therapist, counselor, social worker or even all that good at listening to others. Here’s why: I talk too much. I can be overbearing. I don’t always consider other people’s feelings before I blurt out what’s on my mind. I tend to be categorical, I often interrupt conversations and I love to argue.
I was 45 when John died, he was 53. We had just passed our seventeenth wedding anniversary and had been sweethearts for twenty-two years. We fell in love on a date watching Halley’s Comet pass overhead deep in the heart of Texas. John’s early death was not unexpected in the grand scheme of things. We both knew I would outlive him; his health had been precarious since he was 16. It slowly and inexorably declined year after year. But neither one of us saw death coming when it did. If you knew John, you didn’t see it coming either. Perhaps because he had been given many death sentences since he was a teenager, which he deftly sidestepped time after time. This gave him an intense drive for living which the rest of us simply take for granted. Despite his weakening physical body, his forceful presence overwhelmed any frailties. You just didn’t think anything would conquer him. But it did.
Love fades, love grows, love changes and as it turns out, love does not die. But the ones you shared it with do.
This is what I did with our shattered love when I was left behind with the broken pieces.
What Makes The Practical Widow Blog?
Early in my widowhood, a friend came over to the house and said with honest anguish, “I don’t know what to do as your friend. How can I best help you?” I didn’t know what to tell her. I had no idea and truthfully I did not know what I needed, what would help me at the time. There’s no road map. But having experienced some things a young(ish) widow goes through, I thought perhaps if I could share my own story and observations, they might help other people who are experiencing the loss of their partner and/or friend.
The Incomparable RLEE called me “the hottest WILF I know”. At the funeral, no less. After we finished laughing, he followed it up with “That’s probably one of the Top Ten Things Not To Say To A New Widow.” Hence, the inspiration for this site.
What follows are my experiences on being the widow, on the inevitable outcome of being—and staying—in love. It’s not a guidebook. I only know how I feel about being a widow and how I’ve been dealing with it. You’ll need to find your own path. It’s meant to share suggestions about what might (or might not) help. We’re all lost in this particular world. The only one who does know is dead and he ain’t talking.
This what I did. This is what I am doing. This how I am coping with loss and finding a new life. These are some of the astounding and loving ways everyone around me makes that new life possible. And perhaps some ideas for what you can do when death happens around you. Which it will. These are the things that helped me—along with the things that didn’t. Look around and see if there’s a topic that resonates with where you are now.
Everything here is solely from my point of view so don’t get your tail in a bunch if it’s not in line with your philosophy. It’s for sure not going to be in line with your experience. Each of us ultimately walks this path alone. But there is a lot of love out there for you to gather strength from in order to make that walk less lonely.
—The Practical Widow