May 6, 2022
Yippee! Hooray! Let’s celebrate! I am being sarcastic, of course. Nobody wants to join this club. Well, maybe Adolf Hitler’s wife who incidentally committed sucide 40 hours after she married him. I know I am not a widow, I am a widower, which is the pronoun for outliving your wife. I looked it up and there is no National Widower’s Day so I figured if guys can participate in women’s swimming, Widow’s Day is a easy dip in the pool.
No, I am not being politically correct. That is one of the realities of becoming a widow/widower (which I will identify as “Wids” just to save typing.) You have lost the most important person in your life, nothing else seems like that big of a deal anymore, so for the most part we don’t care. We are just trying to figure out who we are now.
Most people say that the worst thing that can happen is to outlive a child. I have lost a son and wife, and it was much harder to lose my wife. Losing a child is unthinkable, losing a spouse feels unbearable. When two people marry, they become one. Losing a spouse is losing a part of you. The longer you were together the more you two were entangled. You are like Siamese twins, not in body but in soul.
My brother-in-law Joe had lost a foot in a motorcycle accident. He said that sometimes that foot would hurt or a toe would itch. That is called Phantom Pain. Like when we say “We” instead of “I” and there is no “we” anymore. That is Phantom Pain. Ignore it, we can’t help ourselves.
Before I go any further I am not writing this for symphathy. Most Wids do not want symphathy, we need grace and patience. We are not ourselves. Ourselves are gone. We are not Us anymore. We are not even We. We are now ‘I’ and “Me” and “We” aren’t used to it. We just want to be normal again and our normal is gone forever. Confusing? You have no idea!
When you first become a Wid you feel lost. Lost means you don’t know where you are or where you are going. You are standing in the middle of your world and no matter which way you look nothing is familiar. To make it worse you are standing there alone. Lost and alone is a terrible feeling. What about family and friends, and I have lots of them who were very supportive. I’m not talking about how it is, I am talking about how it feels. You feel alone even in a crowd.
Jesus said “Pure religion and undefined before God and the Father is this, To visit the fatherless and widows in their affliction and to keep yourself unspotted from the world.” So how do you help Wids? How old of a Wid are they? If they are a baby Wid you treat them like any other baby. You hold them, tell them you love them, feed them, clean up their messes and don’t leave them alone. It doesn’t do any good to try to reason with them. They are babies, they don’t understand. You have to adjust to their Wid age. Eventually, we Wids have to become responsible for our own “I” and “Me”, and own happiness again. This takes time, endure.
Most Wids are impatient to get over the loss and wonder why they cry after a year. It is because it still hurts. You need time for the hole in your heart to heal. Déjà vu lurks around every familiar corner looking for an opportunity to scrape the scab off and bring blood again. It takes many moons and a few orbits to get anywhere near normal. That is just the way it is. Deal with it. However, If you have been a Wid 10 years and are still drowning in sorrow you need to grow up. You don’t want grief to become your home. It is up to you to make yourself happy again. You may need help! You would go to a doctor if you body was sick, you may need a broken heart doctor.
How can you help a Wid on National Widow’s Day? You could change her smoke alarm battery. You could check the filter on her furnace. You might help him clean a bathroom or organize a closet. You could invite her out for dinner or him over for a home cooked meal. She could probably use a hug and he could use a pat on the back. There I go getting sexist again!
The most important way a Non-Wid could recognize National Widow’s Day would be to tell and show your irreplaceable other that you realize they are unreplaceable. Fifty percent of all married people will become a Wid someday, so chances are half bad that you will own that terrible pronoun. Love the one you love while you can! You have no idea how much you are going to miss them when they are gone.