This Friday I will be leading a discussion on being Widowed with No Children at Camp Widow. Last year at Camp Widow I realized the amazing bond that nearly all widows have with one another. Being able to share our aches with one another was helpful and healing. I also realized that while we each connect on a deep level, we each have different situations that have the ability to separate or stigmatize us.
As some expressed during Part One of this two-part blog series, there isn’t always a separation of feelings based on the fact that we are widowed with no children. This blog series, and the roundtable discussion, will discuss some of the concerns we have for those of us that are struggling due to the fact that we had no children and therefore our dreams have been altered. Whether you chose not to have children, or lost the opportunity to with your late spouse, this discussion series is to imagine how life will be as we grow, move forward, and adapt to live without our spouses and without children.
Here are some things that come to mind when I think of being widowed with no children:
There is something that I can recall people saying to me after the death of my husband: At least you didn’t have children…as if that was supposed to make me feel better. Kevin and I had dreamt of a family. I know others did not, and either way, that statement is cutting to the receiver. It instantly dissolves the dream you may have had with a late spouse and attempts to make it all OK. It’s that good ole ‘look at the bright side’ philosophy that can be quite painful to hear.
Becoming too old to care for ourselves – most of us, as married folks, assume we will grow old together. We don’t necessarily plan for one not to be around to take care of the other. So when a spouse is gone, our plans for growing old together drastically change. This question, posed, on a Widville Facebook thread, heated up some discussion quickly. It was amazing to hear about the awesome people each widow had in their lives to help them continue to see a positive and strong future, but it also raised some discussion on the assumption that life would be more difficult because there would no longer be a spouse or a child to care for one as they aged. Life without a spouse or without children doesn’t mean a more difficult life, it just means an altered life. I believe that has everything and anything to do with just plain widowhood.
One of the big aches for those of us who wanted children but did not have them, is the baby showers. Ohhh, the pain that lays in that room of celebration. Secondary loss for sure…
There are so many variations of being widowed with no children and each includes a different journey, just as each widow has his/her own journey to walk. But we walk it together, and I look forward to doing that with many of you this coming weekend in Myrtle Beach.
Bring your hugs and I’ll bring my love.