A membership of widows


Blueberry (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

When I had my daughter, I did what most other new mothers do. I joined groups in order to talk about the colour of my baby’s shit with other mothers. People without babies find this off-putting, but when it’s blue, as my daughter’s was one morning, the value of the shared experience can not be underestimated.

“It’s blueberries,” said another mother, examining the contents of my baby’s nappy. “Nothing to worry about.”

New widowhood is no different. After M died I scrabbled about on the Internet looking for support, asked earnest librarians for details of bereavement groups in the area, told friends to research places where I might get help. And on the whole, with the exception of that unpleasant experience with the Merry Widow (I mean, JESUS CHRIST, call that support..? – Ok I’m over it…), the value of what I’ve found has been inestimable to the grieving process. The knowledge that there are other people out there, all over the globe, going through their own blueberry moments, brings comfort where there is none.

Widowhood is often described as the club that no-one wants to join. But in this club, there is a whole membership of widows who reach out to me in a way that even my oldest friends can’t. I ask for their views on everything from ashes to anti-depressants, and an answer always comes back from the ether.

So since we’re sharing, here are two reflections I read recently from the newly-bereaved which particularly resonated with me.

1) Why is the first year supposedly the worst? How are two, three, ten years without my husband easier than one?

2) When my husband died suddenly, I wasn’t shocked or numb or any of those words people use. I was simply astonished that he’d gone.

Anyway, it’s 3 am and I’m going back to bed. I know there are widows still awake, sharing thoughts, all over the country though. And new mothers. Goodnight.

4 thoughts on “A membership of widows

  1. Hi, 9 months for me and yes you are so right, I have met some amazing people since joining a widow group, only they get it. I’m in a much better place emotionally that what I’ve read on the some sites and to be honest quite a few of them i like to call “Woe is me” people…..

    However in the whole they have helped me, as there are so many young widows/ers so I don’t feel like I’m the only one to have lost a husband so young at 38…

    I love your blog as it is so honest and I’m glad I came across it.

    K W xx

    • Hi Karen, thanks so much for the comments. I find I get a lot of strength from strangers, it’s bizarre I suppose. I too feel I am coping better emotionally than some others I read – don’t know about you but I beat myself up about this initially (did I not love Him as much as they loved their OH?) but have realised it has to do with personality, coping strategies, levels of support, inner resources etc. And you’re right, it is comforting (but also tragic) to know I’m not the only person who has lost their beloved aged 37! Hope you’re doing OK, love to you XX

  2. Three years and two months after you wrote this post I find myself somewhat freshly widowed (6 months and 17 days, actually. Where the fuck did that time go?) and lying awake in the middle of the night next to the empty space beside me while reading your post. (Truth be told, the empty space is actually covered by the clean laundry I couldn’t be bothered to fold, and my dog). And every night I have lain awake it has occurred to me that there must be other New Widows who, 6 months and 17 days ago, never imagined that they would be joining the likes of me and all the others. If I’d read your blog post at the time you wrote it I couldn’t have imagined it myself. I hope you’re sleeping right now (if in fact it’s night time for you, which I don’t think it is. But a nap is always nice anyway.).

    • It is a frightening thought, that there are others out there who will find themselves in our position and they don’t yet know it. I wouldn’t wish it on my worst enemy! Glad the blog is giving you some small comfort – you are not alone. X

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