wid·ow (noun): a woman who has lost her spouse by death and has not remarried.
By definition, the day my husband died I became a widow.
I wouldn’t use that term for a long time, likely more than a year at least (or three). The first time I had to use the term “widow” I was at work filling out insurance forms, went to the bathroom next and cried --completely wrecking my mascara. A bit of advice to anyone who knows a widow, always carry spare mascara if you are meeting with her if you are her real friend.
Widow holds a different definition to those who live it, the actual widows--
It is a loneliness. A constant feeling of loss; an actual feeling of literally being lost. It is a daily reminder that you are missing the love of your life. Single parenting without the 50/50 custody and child support. No bitter divorce history, but a pain that digs much deeper I think. A real life scenario of cause and effect. A new checkbox on a form. A reason to want to stay in bed or a reason you don’t want to go to bed. And some days, an anger that is so deep you feel ugly.
For a while, hearing someone call me Mrs. Malcom would bring me to tears. I didn’t much care for the pity that would come over someone face or the shocked reaction because I was seemingly so young. You create a polite, rehearsed response for when someone says they are sorry for your loss (when you really want to answer with “yes, I’m really quite sorry for my loss too, it sucks”).
To the men who you met that might be a potential date, it seemed awkward. Or they use it as their pick up opportunity the moment you say the word widow. I would say I was divorced, it was just easier than the explanation.
But just like most things, time eventually starts to heal wounds and takes a broken heart and tries to mend it. Now I realize that yes, I really am a woman who lost her spouse and is not married. I am a mom and dad now. I am a widow. Literally.
I tell people I am a widow when necessary because in the time that it took me to come to grips the terminology, I was allowed the grace to grieve. I was able to comprehend it is a term that is meant to be respectful and that the word signifies someone who can survive the storm. A woman who learned how to pick herself up off the ground and move forward with her next chapter. A woman who was truly loved and has a heart that has grown back stronger and ready to love again.