Definition of a Widow
by Sheryl Gehrls
Have you ever wondered what it really means to be a widow? When my husband of 50 years died nearly three years ago, I seriously resisted even being called a widow. I think the reality sunk in the first time I had to check that “marital status” box that said “widowed”.
Recently, a new widow in our group posted something that I found fascinating. It explained and defined what a widow is in such a way that we could relate to every phrase. I contacted the author and received her permission to use it here so that you can all benefit from reading it. Her name is Alish Bozarth, and you can find her blog at www.alishabozarth.com. She writes beautifully, so please visit her site and enjoy.
What follows is the article I particularly wanted to share with you today:
At first, I hated the word; after all, I’m too young to be a widow! But scripture reminds me that widows are very precious to God and I cannot despise what He loves. Even when it’s me.
Lately, I’ve been pondering what it means to be a widow. How can I even describe it? It’s so much…. and yet, so much nothing, at the same time.
Last night, another pastor’s widow sent this to me, and although I didn’t write it, I feel every word so deeply. So, if you want a peek inside the mind and heart of a widow, keep reading. Then say a prayer for every precious widow and widower in your life.
Widowhood is more than missing your spouse’s presence. It is adjusting to an alternate life. It is growing around a permanent amputation.
Widowhood is going to bed for the thousandth time, and still, the loneliness doesn’t feel normal. The empty bed a constant reminder. The night no longer brings intimacy and comfort, but the loudness of silence and the void of connection.
Widowhood is walking around the same house you have lived in for years and it no longer feeling like home. Because “home” incorporated a person. And they’re not there. Homesickness fills your heart and the knowledge that it will never return haunts you.
Widowhood is seeing all your dreams and plans you shared as a couple crumble around you. The painful process of searching for new dreams that include only you amount to climbing Mount Everest. And every small victory of creating new dreams for yourself includes a new shade of grief that their death propelled you to this path.
Widowhood is second guessing everything you thought you knew about yourself. Your life had molded together with another’s and without them you have to relearn all your likes, hobbies, fears, goals. The renaissance of a new person makes you proud and heartbroken simultaneously.
Widowhood is being a stranger in your own life. The unnerving feeling of watching yourself from outside your body, going through the motions of what was your life, but being detached from all of it. You don’t recognize yourself. Your previous life feels but a vapor long gone, like a mist of a dream you begin to wonder if it happened at all.
Widowhood is the irony of knowing if that one person was here to be your support, you would have the strength to grieve that one person. The thought twists and confuses you. If only they were here to hold you and talk to you, you’d have the tenacity to tackle this unwanted life. To tackle the arduous task of moving on without them.
Widowhood is missing the one person who could truly understand what is in your heart to share. The funny joke, the embarrassing incident, the fear compelling you or the frustration tempting you. To anyone else, you would have to explain, and that is too much effort, so you keep it to yourself. And the loneliness grows inside you.
Widowhood is struggling with identity. Who are you if not their spouse? What do you want to do if not the things you planned together? What brand do you want to buy if not the one you two shared for 20 years? What is your purpose if the job of investing into your marriage is taken away? Who is my closest companion when my other half isn’t here?
Widowhood is feeling restless because you lost your home, identity, partner, lover, friend, playmate, travel companion, co-parent, security, and life. And you are drifting with an unknown destination.
Widowhood is living in a constant state of missing the most intimate relationship. No hand to hold. No body next to you. No partner to share your burden.
Widowhood is being alone in a crowd of people. Feeling sad even while you’re happy. Feeling guilty while you live. It is looking back while moving forward. It is being hungry but nothing sounding good. It is every special event turning bittersweet.
Yes. It is much more than simply missing their presence. It is becoming a new person, whether you want to or not. It is fighting every emotion mankind can feel at the very same moment and trying to function in life at the same time.
Widowhood is frailty. Widowhood is strength. Widowhood is darkness. Widowhood is rebirth.
Widowhood…..is life changing.
As you read, did you relate to these descriptions? How do YOU define widowhood? As always, you can reach me at email@example.com.