Widow Musings : Finding my way through the journey of widowhood.
I was widowed on Valentine’s Day, 2018, at 3.15pm at the tender age of 36. Everyone knew how I should grieve and what I should do and how sad I should be because apparently, everyone knew how it felt. The week of my husband’s funeral saw no less than 1,000 people stream through my parent’s doors to offer condolences, bring food, send flowers, sit near me and pray for me and give me reassuring words of wisdom that sadness would leave me eventually. Everyone knew, everyone knew how hard this was – wish I had of known!
Wear black, don’t play music, don’t celebrate anything, don’t go out anywhere, keep yourself quiet and make sure you look as sad as can be. All these were the measure of grief according to the doctrine of most. My personal favourite was a comment from one of my relatives, ‘get used to being lonely because you will not find anyone else!’. I was floored, I was sick to my stomach and I was beyond mad at the sentence.
Pick a plot
Choosing a burial site is surreal, isn’t it! Picking where someone will sleep eternal – it is as eerie and freaky as it sounds. That’s what I had to do. I had to choose a plot, it was important, it was my job to sort that out. Safe to say, I picked well, although once you’re resting there do you really get to complain? Prime realty on a hill, overlooking a playground, where the wind whips up and the flowers dance; that’s where he is, that’s the forever sleep place.
I have never smiled so much as I did at the funeral. I greeted sad faces with a smile because I was told to. ‘Make sure people feel comfortable around you, don’t make them too sad,’ said a wise sage relative. Fuck that! I wasted the opportunity to breakdown, be the screaming Widow at the grave, threaten to throw myself into the hole – how would I get out? It was 9 feet down. I wasted the opportunity to curl up and lock the World out. I wasted it because we have two children and for them, at the tender ages of 2.5 and 6 months, the world didn’t stop.
They needed me.
They needed their mum firing and alive and capable.
They saved me.
Buckets of tears
I wore black for a whole year because I wanted to; and the day I took it off my son said ‘Mummy you look beautiful,’ and then I cried. Buckets of tears. I realised in the year of grieving; I had missed something important. I had missed that the grief was impacting my little ones. I had missed that their usually brightly dressed mum was now clad in all black and this was scary for them. I had missed that they needed a colourful world, not a dark world. That day was when it all changed. No more black – even though it was slimming!
I choose Happy
Happy is a choice. Happy is a state of mind. Happy comes when you decide to be happy. You can’t force it, like you can’t force grief. You can choose happy over sad but you can’t force it, forced happiness is blatant and obvious and no one wants that. I, however, chose happy and am a better mum, friend, daughter and partner because of it. Can I change what happened? No. Can I make the future the best place ever? Yes. I will forever have been widowed, but I refuse to forever be sad.