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My husband was ill from the time my youngest daughter was in Kindergarten.  He passed when she was a sophomore in high school.  Her high school years were very routine,  The abundance of paperwork came home on the first day of class every year.  Since Kindergarten, I had been the one filing out those papers.  So after my husband's death, that routine continued.  I always took her to school while in high school and we had another parent to bring her home.  So after his death that continued.  I usually handled the college process with both girls, so me doing it alone didn't have an impact on me. Graduation was difficult thinking about it, but the actual event was so crazy due to rain, my husbands' presence didn't seem to matter.  I had always been involved with the kids, he was the home care taker, so him passing away definitely had an impact on our household, and in that area I struggled and continue to struggle now.  (but that's another blog).  It wasn't until the preparation for the move on campus that i really felt like a single parent and not a widow.  My daughter's roommates had both parents present.  One father was so kind that he helped with the moving of furniture and hanging photos.  As I sat back and observed, I wondered whether they were thinking "Where's her DAD"?  The saying goodbye was definitely a single parent moment and not a widow moment.  Of course I cried, one reason was that my baby girl was finally leaving me.  She had been my anchor since her dad passed away.  Now I was responsible for keeping my ship in order and constant without that anchor.  I just think about the other moments where his presence was missed, but my role was one of a single parent: my oldest daughter's college graduation, my oldest daughter introduction of her boyfriend after returning from college.  My older daughter had her dad around for almost all of her milestones.  But my younger daughter didn't have a dad to introduce her first crush to, no dad for the first dance at her sweet sixteen, no dad at her countless dance performances, no dad for her prom, no dad for high school graduation, and finally no dad for a college good-bye.  For those instances I felt like a single parent, not a widow.  Have many of you had this feeling of not knowing your role or having your role shift constantly.  I just know that I have a different level of respect for single parents, especially those who have multiple children.  I don't know how they did it, and continue to do it.  I think they may have the same level of resilience as widows.  And no I am not comparing them to widows, but they definitely have similar characteristics.  When do you feel like a widow, when do you feel like a single parent, or are the two roles the same?

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Comment by bobmac on March 6, 2016 at 8:01pm

easy,  you feel like a parent when you're taking care of your kids - supporting them, encouraging them, watching them mature into young adults.  You feel like a widow when you crave for the love, affection, romance, caring, touch, presence, support and encouragement of your spouse/partner who is no longer with you.  As a single parent you feel good about giving,  as a widow you feel bad for not receiving.

Comment by Melanie1974 on September 23, 2015 at 5:20am
Thank you for this post.
My husband traveled a lot the last six months. Then without any warning was never coming home from a heart attack three weeks ago.
My 18 year old and I are going to the college here today.
We just moved to Arizona from Florida three months ago.
I have a 15 year old son to.
I have been independent so the are many things I can do.
But your comment about your anchor really hit home.
Right now I'm floating.
We skyped every night. I miss his support and back up.
We are new to the area. So silly things like emergency numbers and family questions are coming up.

I want to scream, we weren't dumped! He was taken. If that makes any sense.
Comment by Patience on September 6, 2015 at 8:55pm
My girls are grown, one engaged one living at home with me. I definition feel more like a widow than a single parent. I guess because there are still tons of pictures of my late husband around our home... Just feels like he is still a part of things and it's been a little over 3 years. I do wonder how I'll get through my D's wedding day without him...
Comment by Timelord on September 6, 2015 at 6:14pm
Deneen, what a great question... I did high school...one more year left...with my daughter alone. Son's already at college, and I dread the "Empty house.". I think...honestly...most people will assume that we're single parents. So I'd say for me at least, the reality of what has to be done...ends up being that widow and single parent is the same...though I'd add that we're really " only" parents....
Comment by MissingRKK on September 4, 2015 at 5:24am

This is a great topic, Deneen. I have to think about it so I can respond but I definitely get what you are saying.

Comment by Greer on September 3, 2015 at 5:41am
I really like how your experiences (undeniably challenging!) haven't detracted from your respect and empathy for how others handle their challenges.

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