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.