Soon after my husband passed away, I was slammed with a ton of paperwork. Looking at those boxes that wanted to know my marital status was like a slap in the face. Widowed. What a horrible word to have attached to my name, but there it was and I had to place a check mark beside it. So, I am widowed, I suppose, whether I want to be or not.
You’ll soon learn to hate such a label, and that’s okay, because it is all part of the grieving process we all face when we lose our other half. The very word “widow” seems to conjure up an image of an elderly lady all dressed in black and living a life of solitude. It may even conjure up a more colorful picture that goes along with the term “merry widow.”
The thing most people, who have not been through this, don’t understand is that while we now have this tag of “widow” attached to the front of our names, we really still feel married. Just because those little boxes make us check something different now, doesn’t really make it a reality for us. How many years did you happily check the married box?
I refused to check that horrible widow box several times and instead opted to just leave it blank. Chances are you will be called on it and have to make a choice. If you defy reality and check married, people will assume you are “in denial.” It seems that some folks put a lot of stock in what label goes in front of your name. Perhaps they think the reality of seeing it in print will help to accept it sooner.
The thing is, even though some will expect you to check the box that declares you a widow, it is certainly okay to feel like you should be checking “married.” And, it is even okay if you continue to do so until you are comfortable choosing one that fits how you feel. You might even totally skip the widow box and go straight to single. That is up to you to decide, and it is a personal decision for every woman who has been through it.
Other women who have lost a spouse due to death can offer advice and opinions, but ultimately what feels right to you, may not have felt right to them. There is no right way or wrong way to feel or act in this situation. You can’t learn from a book, or from well-meaning friends. You simply have to go through the steps yourself.
You’ll also find that the term “married” afforded you a measure of protection from fending off single men. As a general rule, if a man asks if you are married and you say yes, any forth coming pick up line is quickly squashed. Your sudden new “label” may be like a door opening for invitations you don’t want or are not ready for.
I have been widowed for nearly four years now. Some single men even consider that landing a widow, especially one that has been alone awhile, is some sort of trophy. They seem to be thinking, “She has been without a man for a long time and will be an easy pickup.” Believe that it will happen and be prepared to fend them off.
Just remember, that society and all of their labels, is not who you are or how you feel. If you are forced to check the box labeled widow and feel nearly nauseous for having to do it, you are not alone. There are those of us out here, who hate that word just as much.
My name is Donna and I am just and Everyday Woman trying to figure out this aging thing, I also get to figure out how to do the Widow's Walk through life. I lost my husband to cancer nearly four years ago, after being with him since I was 15-years old. He was always a big fan of my writing ability and I thought, "What better way to honor him, than to keep on writing and maybe be able to help someone else who is going down this same path.