Letter to a New Widow (er)

Dear _________,

I read today of how you lost your spouse, and I died a little for you. Everytime I read or hear of another loss of life, my eyes flash to what their wife, husband, or child looks like. I imagine how their mother or father feels hearing the news that their child is gone. I break with every new loss.

I have no good news for you. The life ahead of you is not easy. You’ll “sail” through the next few months in a numb state of grief and a year later, you will barely remember what you felt during those times, or how you survived, but somehow you do. You’ll eat without tasting, cry without any relief, ache to a depth you have yet to experience.

I have no promises for good even after those first few months. At 6 months, the hell unleashed, and the protecting numbness that I felt was no longer there to comfort me. It was all raw, and all the emotions I thought I had already felt, were just waiting to reappear, but in a much deeper level. The aches I felt during the 6 month mark were some of the worst. I had no idea that I could feel worse than I did in the beginning. But I did, and I fear that you will too.

I know this letter is probably not of any comfort to you, but as cliched as it sounds, there is hope. I found a lot of great widow friends, who surrounded me and nodded and virtual hugged me through all those sour moments. Even though the journey I walked was of my own accord, many understand exactly what I was feeling. They too had felt those emotions, at different times, to a unique tune, but they were felt.

That first whole year went by excruciatingly fast, but also way too slow. The emotions often drowned me from being good to anyone, especially myself. I passed the first year mark, felt alive and empowered and pushed forward with a vengeance, wanting to create new life that was just as happy as the first. I did some great things, but the pain never left, even if it diminished a bit.

At year two, I hit a new low. It was the realism of my situation. Of a husband never returning, of dreams never achieved; an entire life that I had planned was GONE. Last night though, I read of hope, and as I had occasionally seen glimpses of in this journey of grief, I agreed. I though there may be a chance to be happy with life again, just completely different from what I had first dreamt. I still carry this pain with me, I always will. It has helped expand my soul to feel more, to feel YOUR pain as well as mine.

As I think about your loss today, and what you must face tomorrow, I want to hug you and make it go away. I do not want you to have to feel all these emotions, because dammit, they are horrid. I cannot, and refuse to, sugarcoat it for you. In time though, the grief will become a part of you, never gone, but part of who you are in the future, if you let it. It will shape how you relate to others, how you grow as a person, and in a lot of good ways. Will it be worth it? That’s still a question I cannot, and really do not want to answer.

Just know, I’m here, as all of widows and widowers are, with you. You do not have to even be nice, or pretend to be happy. Bitch, scream, yell, sob, ignore. Do what you have to do, but we’re just going to surround you for now, holding you up as best as we can. We’re just going to wait until you need us, or until we see that you need us, and then you’ll never be able to get rid of us. In a good way of course 😉

I’m still a widow, I always will be even when I’m a wife again. It has shaped who I am, how I will interact with others the rest of my life. I am a more beautiful, honest, loving, patient creature now. But I am also envious, jealous, sad and sometimes distraught over the pain I have, and the happiness others have. It’s difficult not to be some days. And that’s ok.

Welcome to this journey, as much as I hate to say that. I’m here, you’re here. I’ll walk with you as long as you need or want me too, and if it’s too much, just say the word. Until then, grieve away dear soul. We will ache with you through this bitter walk.

Love Bren

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Comments 3

  1. Well said. I am glad to hear that you are a point in your life when you can welcome newcomers with enouragement and realism. Long road to get there. – Jean

  2. Nice work. You’ll be helping people with this realistic, empathic description of the early stages of loss. Thanks for posting.

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