Do you know how a widow really feels? Unless you have actually lost your spouse and now have to classify yourself as a widow, there are many thoughts and emotions that are hard to understand. Most widows, no matter what age they became one, or even for how long they have been one, will just smile and say, “Everything is fine.” In reality, things are far from fine, yet they feel like they just can’t tell you these things.
I am Scared
She may put on a brave front and look like she has got it together and handling everything like a champ. A widow won’t tell you that this is the scariest situation she has ever faced in her entire life. She is scared of what lies ahead, she is scared of the next bad thing to happen, she is scared of facing life alone… Basically, every tiny thing fills her with fear, especially at the early stages of her grief.
I am Lonely
Her entire life changed when her spouse died. She was used to having a constant companion, someone to talk with daily, someone to hold her hand, someone to lay beside her at night. A widow won’t tell you that she sometimes stays in her house for days and possibly weeks without seeing or talking to anyone.
Sometimes this is her choice. But most of the time it is because family and friends go right back to their own busy lives after a funeral, while she no longer has the life she was used to. It’s hard to know what to say to comfort her, so some people will just avoid her. She won’t tell you that just being there matters much more than the words you choose.
I am Married
The worst thing you can do is to refer to a widow as being single. In her mind, she is still married and will think of herself that way for a long time, perhaps even the rest of her life. And that is okay. She doesn’t want to be “fixed up” or questioned about her dating status. Dating, for some widows, feels like a form of cheating even though their spouse is no longer with them.
Sometimes a widow will leave her wedding rings on for years, sometimes she will leave them on forever. Then again, sometimes she will take them off immediately because they are too painful to look at. That is her choice – but it doesn’t mean she is ready to date or even has any interest. Questioning her about those rings may cause more hurt, anger or disappointment.
I Still Cry
In the beginning of the loss of a loved one, a widow will shed a lot of tears to express grief. She figures that as time passes, people expect the tears to diminish or even stop. Tears just do not vanish, so she may start to hide the fact that things still bring on tears. It could be a sudden memory, a song, a favorite food or even certain scents. But she will no longer allow people to see those tears, so she cries in silence and alone when she really needs someone to comfort her.
If you wonder how I know so much about this, it’s because I am a widow and have been for over 7 years now. I have experienced these things and still do. I do not tell you these things to gain any sympathy. I tell you these things so that maybe you can understand what a widow truly goes through for many years after the death of her spouse.