About The Practical Widow

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

7 Responses to: About The Practical Widow

  1. Ilene says:

    I lost my husband of 32 plus years on 11/23/07. Paul died at home after an extented illness, the last seven years he was bed-ridden and required almost constant care. After reading your blog I feel you are either clairvoiant or have my home under survelance. You are so on-target about so many things! Thanks for puttinig into words what needs to be said … it’s great knowing I’m not the only “widow” who shares these feelings. I take things one day at a time, sometimes an hour at a time, but it get easier. I really think finding humor in all things really helps … hope springs eternal!

  2. Allison says:

    Hi there, I just came across your blog and it’s TERRIFIC! We widows need to stick together. I lost my husband to a sudden heart attack on 9/7/03. I was 33, he was 39, our baby was not yet 1. I recently started writing about it – my blog is “Widow in a Speedo” http://widowinaspeedo.com. Drop by when you get a chance and say hi!


  3. Linda says:

    Where can I find out what a “WILF” is?

  4. Bruce Linton says:

    Somewhere in the thoughts of the widows and widowers out there, may be the thought best articulated by the late Archbishop Fulton Sheen: We creatures at our best may be lovable. God alone [!!!] is love itself. Remember the love that brought you and your deceased beloved together, a love that is immortal, and pray to God for wise direction!

  5. Marikka says:

    I am a new widow and am feeling totally at loss. My husband of 32 years passed unexpecteldy of cardiac arrest and I am now trying to get myself under control…. I am choking on grief, have panic attacks and cannot cry more than a few tears before my throat closes up and I am gasping for breath. I miss…everything…. My grown son is totally numb (he still lives with me) and I try to put up a brave front when in reality i just want someone to hold me…. and make things better, knowing at the same time that nothing will ever be the same or better…. Loneliness is unbearable and at the same time i cannot stand to have anyone around me. I am totally confused, hurt, aching, sad, looking at a live without love…. how do you go on from here?

  6. Kathleen Dean says:

    How do I do I sign up to get this blog? Found your website while searching for help in closer. My husband passed away almost three years ago [Aug 2011]. Our 50th Wedding anniversary will be this month. I lost him twice, once to Alzheimer’s Disease and then to his third bout of cancer. I wear my wedding band and a Mother’s ring on my right hand – ring finger. I have a silver band with the words: Love, Dream, Believe on my left ring finger. I wear lost of rings, always have. It just did not seem reasonable to wear the wedding band anymore on my left hand. It is getting easier being alone. I have in essence learned to cope.

  7. A. says:

    I am happy to find your site. My name is A. like you, my husband was John, and he died an extremely tragic death almost 6 months ago.

    I have not found a lot of resources/support groups for our age widow. I am 47 and married just shy of 20 years. I have two beautiful teenage boys and we have gotten through the last 5 months with tremendous…dare I say…strength. We do group family counseling at our church and I see a therapist regularly. I don’t mind the “be strong” statement, for it’s something I can do and be good at. I am also good at grieving, and have allowed myself to do so each day. Christmas was very tough, but we made the best of it. I am so very blessed with very, very good friends and family who support me. I don’t know if they will fall off the radar, but they haven’t yet. I am extremely close to my sister, my husband’s sisters, and friends of 20 and 30 years who are like sisters.

    The next chapter could be long, from what I am seeing here in comments. The affections of men feel really inappropriate. I feel very high school-ish. Newly divorced men come out of the woodwork. I am so not ready for anything. I tried, early on, to help a male friend going through a divorce. Yet, I wasn’t anywhere near ready to help him, nor could he help me given his situation. It has been kind of an emotional disaster for me, too much emotional vulnerability for both of us.Luckily, just talking and nothing physical.

    Yet, I don’t see myself retired and alone. I don’t know about next year, or the year after that, but I sure as heck don’t want to It the entire next chapter of my life alone. Again, I’m grateful for your website and just having another outlet to vent. I have found journaling to be very therapeutic. I also plan to paint the house. I talk to my husband every day, and I still look to him to guide me through life’s problems and help with the kids. That’s what gets me through.

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