An Inside Look at Widowhood
Whether you lose your loved one suddenly or from a long illness, what you think it will be like; reality is incomprehensible. It begins with what your relationship was like before the loss. The more you love, the harder the loss.
Not every couple has the same type of marriage. Some have loved for a long time, some are newly married or on their second marriage. Depending on your mental state before the loss will determine how well you are able to deal with the loneliness ahead.
My loss was sudden. My husband gave his opening remarks at a fundraiser for The Boys & Girls Club of Central Florida for Celebrate the Children. After he got off stage, he stepped into the hall to get a glass of red wine and never came back. He had already entered the next world.
Yes, it was that quick! No warning. No goodbye. No time to process it. I went to dinner a wife and came home a widow at age 54.
I remember the first responders working on him, but what I was seeing was not even registering in my brain. How could this be? To this day, I cannot get that image out of my head and I don't think it will ever go away.
I remember people telling me during and after the funeral, how strong I was. But deep inside my heart was completely broken. I couldn't sleep, eat or even remember the simplest things. I almost think it's a way our body protects us.
Coming home only hours later, what used to be a house full of fun and happy memories, was now a thing of the past. How could we smile again, laugh or even enjoy life's little blessings?
These are things no one tells you.
Our family was disappearing before our eyes. My father and father-in-law had just recently passed away too. So, now there was not a father to lean on.
The misconception of loss is people think you will get over it. You just try to get through it. Loss changes you. It makes you realize how precious life is. Now, the things you thought were important become unimportant.
As time passes, you begin to feel very isolated. You don't fit in because you are no longer a couple. Your friends don't know how to engage with you. The phone stops ringing and the weekends are the hardest. Everyone is with their family and you are just not on their radar.
People think once you get through the first year, you will be better. This is ridiculous. For me, year two was worse.
The first year is shock and awe. You try to prepare yourself for anniversaries, birthdays, holidays because you know it will be so hard.
Year two, I didn't plan that far ahead. We dread these dates. It's a reminder of the loss.
I have learned through the years, the friends I can relate to now have shared similar experiences. We belong to a club no one wants to be a member of.
So, how do you make a life for yourself going forward?
Take one day at a time. Think about the people you spend time with. How do they make you feel? Good or bad?
You will find there are new people that come into your life that will know you for you! You will begin to see how these new relationships become your new circle.
I continued to stay involved in fundraising efforts that were near to my heart. I made new friends that shared the same interest.
As times went on, I found myself getting out more, continuing to do positive things and actually enjoying new projects again.
Becoming a widow is nothing you can prepare yourself for. My husband was the love of my life. We were a team. We laughed, loved and built a lifetime of memories. Although nothing can fill the void of your lost loved one, you will smile again!