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I hate that word.  That one word makes me feel so powerless.  I hate the way people look at me, or the way they talk to me.  You know the head tilt, the sigh, and the "how are you doing?"  However they wouldn't have cared 10 seconds before.  I know it shouldn't bother me as much as it does, but it does.  I want to be normal.  I want people to treat me normal.  Treating me like I'm broken just makes me feel even more broken than I already am.

Widows are portrayed at old women, dressed all in black, with a house full of cats.  That house down the street where all the kids are afraid to walk past. When I was growing up, there was a woman that lived down the street from my grandma.  They referred to her as the Widow Carson.  Her house was that house.  We would cross the street instead of walking past it.  My grandma was a widow, but no one referred to her as the Widow Campbell.  This woman was the only woman in town that was referred to as a widow.

Widows aren't young.   They don't have small children.  Young people aren't supposed to die. 

I'm finding out that this wasn't just my take on it, a lot of people seem to have the same image in their head.  The cable guy was here today and asked something about my husband.  I don't remember the conversation, but I remember the expression on his face when I told him he passed away.  First words out of his mouth were, but you're so young.  I had to bite my tongue from saying, well thanks captain obvious (ugh.  the teenager is rubbing off on me.)

He immediately apologized and that word came out.  He never thought about a widow being someone so young.  He knew that life isn't fair and young people do die, but he never stopped to think that some of these young people leave behind a wife, the widow.

The woman at the grocery story was the same way.  I had a melt down while grocery shopping last week, and got out of there as fast as I could.  Well of course the cashier is going to ask questions when someone comes through their line with tears streaming down their face.  Same startled expression, and I could see the wheels turning and could read her mind.  She was kind enough not to say it out loud.  Instead she talked about reading about Patrick in the newspaper when he passed away and said she remembered him from our many walks around the store.  (We live in a very hilly town and Patrick wasn't able to go for walks around town because he couldn't walk up hills, so we would walk around the stores).

I don't want being a widow to define who I am.  It is what I am, not who I am.  I will never be that person I was 7 months ago. 

Going into the transplant, we knew the risks.  We knew this was a possible outcome, but never in a million years did I ever imagine I would be a widow at the age of 32.

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Comment by jean on September 28, 2012 at 11:19am

I used to hate the word too... sometime along the way I embraced it. It isn't all that I am, but I am a widow and always will be. I can joke about it now..  "your widow friend is nuts today"  Or.. the widow nieghbor next door. Careful, don't be pissin off the widow.  :D  It's all in how you look at it. Hope you can find peace with it too.

Comment by Jerry on September 28, 2012 at 10:07am

   I know the feeling of people somehow treating me different since my wife passed awy. I t may be only in my head,but somehow they seem to act differently. As far as being know as a widow or widower,a lady i have met,a widow told me she was recently reffered to by one of her neighbors to another as the widow lady next door. She said she kind of found it amusing, her husband has been dead 4 years,and the people that said that did not know her before her husband passed away,she moved to her new home afterwards. I will never consider myself single,even though in reality i am, but feel like more of a half.

Comment by AEDforever (Ali) on September 26, 2012 at 3:52pm

Yes Sam, yes. It's not WHO we are, its What we are.  I have one Gem of a friend that treats me exactly the same as before Paul died..and THAT is so priceless.  Wether I'm sad, or mad or doing okay that day. She just treats me like "Ali" ..same as always. What a gift.

Comment by lovie on September 25, 2012 at 10:30pm

Although I will always be a widow, I do not want that to be my identity. I much prefer to indentify as a strong, independent woman. I am not quite there yet, but it is my goal and I see it developing and I look forward to wearing the banner. I, too, remember the widow and her house on my street as I was growing up...depressing, sad and creepy. That will NOT be me!!

 

Comment by tanya on September 25, 2012 at 6:38pm

yeah i am not a big fan of the word myself but i would rather be a widow than divorced woman anyday..means i didnt give up nor did he. so I will wear the badge of Widow and when someone ask How are you doing? I say I hurt like hell today but maybe tomorrow will be a better day. might as well be honest.

Comment by bad ass widow on September 25, 2012 at 3:48pm

Sam, yes the word widow sucks at any age, but in a weird way I have come to own it.  To me it means that I have loved deeply, been loved deeply in return and I have lost deeply.  Although the pain and the looks and the comments will be around, eventually they fade away.  Hang in there.

(((Hugs)))

Comment by Morgana (Janet) on September 25, 2012 at 6:18am

Hugs Sam.  It isn't easy at any age, this  thing called "widow".  We did not ask for it but it is what life has dealt us.  The normal we knew doesn't exist any more.  We have to find the new normal, what ever that is because I sure don't know what it is but I am working on it. 

I hate the word "widow" as well but I hate "single" even more.  So for me "I am a widow" because it means I had a life with my soul mate, friend, partner, husband, lover and...  I don't think being a widow defines who you are but it definitely defines how you or I and everyone else looks at life, just saying.

Peace and hope on this journey for you and all of us.

Comment by Janet on September 25, 2012 at 2:25am

I get it.  That tilt of the head and the change in their voice, next thing coming is "How are you doing?"  That always stops me in my tracks and sends me into a downward spiral.  I will never again ask someone who has lost a spouse how they are doing.  I am not a widow, I am a survivor.  I have walked through the unthinkable and I have survived, but I am forever changed.  

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