Widow’s Dictionary

You ask, we respond. “How are you doing?” “I’m hanging in”.

“Is there anything I can do?” “No, I’m doing fine.”

What do these responses really mean? What? You thought we were being honest? You’re kidding right? No honesty. Widow(er)s become some of the best liars out there, because you don’t really want to know the truth. But in case you do, or did, here’s what it is:

Response: “I’m hanging in”

Truth: Yesterday I cried so hard that enough snot came out of my nose to fill my massive coffee cup. The coffee cup that was his, the one I can’t throw out. The coffee cup that I keep filled with coffee and enough Kahlua to knock a sailor on his ass.

Response: “I’m fine”

Truth: I just came back from ordering my husband’s grave stone, and it really hit me that he’s absolutely dead. After this little chat we’re having in which I can’t help but lie to you, I’m going to go home and binge on ice cream, and watch sad movies, and then crawl into bed with my cat because he’s the only living thing close-by that connects me to my totally dead husband.


Response: “I’m just taking it one day at a time.”

Truth: For the first few weeks, I counted down the minutes that it was since he died. I laid in bed thinking about how many hours, minutes, seconds it was since I held his hand and told him to leave this world. Why in the hell did I give him permission to die?


Response: “I’m keeping busy”

Truth: I am doing everything I possibly can to not think about the fact that my husband is dead and that you are here with your husband, attempting to make this awkward 3 some dinner party fun. You get to go home with him, make love, tuck your kiddos in. We never got the chance to have kiddos, did you know that? Cancer first took that, and it took my husband. You bitch and complain about your husband all the time when it’s just us girls, and now you’re all lovey dovey, and I have none of that! So yeah, I’m gonna keep busy and not think about that. Order me another martini.


Response: “My husband’s dead and I am absolutely miserable. I can barely get out of bed in the morning, and when I do, everything aches beyond belief.” Dead Silence.

Is that what you wanted to hear?

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Comments 8

  1. Love your honesty!
    I don’t know what it feels like to lose a spouse … so this raw honesty is refreshing.

  2. Love this! I laughed at how true it is!!! oh, how true!

  3. I read books for a while but now I changed it to great blogs, your place is one of the examples why I began to pay attention to internet resources. Good luck!

  4. This was a beautiful post.
    I think you could do well with actually writing a novel
    about all of this. Whether it be a memoir or a fiction
    novel or anything of that sort … I think it would fly
    off the shelves.

    You’re beautiful, and you won’t always be alone.
    You have family and friends who love you.

    It’s true, you will feel like shit for a good, long while.
    But don’t let it keep you down. Life keeps moving, and while
    it’s okay to pause for a little bit, don’t get lost in the past.
    Keep your eyes on the future. Keep your mind and chin high.
    You can get through this.

    You are strong, and beautiful, and talented.
    You are not desperate nor disgusting. You are not weak.

    You are you.


  5. Thank you so much for sharing that with me.

  6. I appreciate your “translations” for those of us who ask…

    What should we say, or what would be the best approach in talking to a widow, to let her know we are open and want to be there for her?

  7. Be honest-instead of just “offering” to help, set a date, a time, a place-take the thinking away from her because some days it’s just too hard to think for yourself to plan anything.

    I have found that the people who were just REAL with me were the ones I most appreciated. No sugarcoating, just honest with the situation and with their sincerity. No solutions, because there are none. Thanks for asking!

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