One thing every “widow” I have met agrees about, and I have met several since becoming a widow eight and half months ago, is we all hate the word “widow”.
It conjures up images of “The Black Widow” who kills her mates, old frail ladies who will now need to be taken care of, disheveled sad souls now lost forever, women in frumpy shapeless black clothing (perhaps we even carry worry beads and chant). Removed from social society, banished to the back of the room and cast out because no one knows what to say to them or how to behave. Fear surrounds them. They themselves are not afraid. They’ve survived something excruciatingly painful and they are still here. But, rather these poor sad lost souls (sarcasm) strike fear into the hearts of others. There goes the woman whose husband did not survive. If I stay away the same fate will not befall me. It’s been 6 months and she still chokes up when she talks about her loss. I don’t want to think that I too could one day choke up when talking about a great loss. It’s unnerving and it frightens me. And so we, through no fault of our own, become pariahs.
With the help of counselors and support groups we form our own sisterhood and brotherhood of widowhood. I think we ought to call this place in “The Hood” and ourselves “Hoods” and “Hoodettes”. You will see us out in groups, but you won’t recognize us. Some of us will be looking sad, others shell shocked and still others calm and in good spirits. If you do look you may notice we sometimes lock arms and will reach across the table to hold each other’s hands. We hug. We even hug the men- they need it too. And if you miss these signs you will still likely notice that we laugh while we drink coffee, and eat. And like you, we are sharing stories and where to go in Italy or buy the best tickets for Spring Training. Yet, still you may not be comfortable being with us. Fortunately we are comfortable with each other. Not just because we have lost, but, because we recognize in each other the desire and the will to adjust and keep on living full lives. Even if we have no idea what the heck that means and if we’ll ever get there.
Sadly, for you, you’ll be the one who misses out on knowing many of us. Not because we don’t like you, but because all you see are widows and widowers and not Hoods and Hoodettes. Not to worry, even if it frightens you to think about it, know that when you need us we will be there. By then we may even have a discreet smart-ass logo pin.