After he was laid in the ground, the dust started to settle, and family and friends started to resume their normal lives; I was left wondering what the hell I was supposed to be doing. I constantly asked myself if I was doing this whole widow thing right? What the hell does a widow look like and how do I find out?
I had quit my job to stay home with the kids and was for the first time all alone in the world. I was sad, confused, and stressed. I had a giant to-do list hanging on my wall, kids just as confused looking to me for help, and what felt like the entire world just sitting on the edge of their seat wondering how I was going to handle this. I had no idea what I was doing or how I was going to survive this hell I had just arrived in.
I started joining online groups of other widows trying to get a sense of what a widow’s life looks like. I read post after post of women who spent all day crying. Ones who had been widowed for ten years and weren’t ready to date yet. Ones that were debating when to clean out the closet.
Taking the kids for a walk one evening I heard loud cries coming from a neighbor’s house. Her husband had died suddenly over a year ago. I decided to check on her and learned they had been together 40 years and she was lonely and cried loudly and often alone in her house.
I left that day determined that that is not the widow I wanted to be.
Even though some days that’s all I wanted to do, my kids needed me to be stronger than that.
So what does a widow look like?
It may look like the woman listed above. That is perfectly ok. I personally chose a different route.
I forced myself out of bed every single morning.
I spent time with my friends frequently.
I bought a new gun and practiced self-defense.
I got a few tattoos.
I joined a gym.
I renovated my house.
I started dating a few months in.
I cleaned out his closet.
I talked to my husband.
I cussed out my husband.
I drank more than I care to admit.
I took vacations.
I did whatever I wanted that felt good at the moment. Sometimes that meant crying, and screaming, and throwing shit. However, usually, it meant taking a deep breath, cursing a bit, and then doing whatever the fuck I felt like doing.
The point here is, there is no right way to do this.
It’s ok if you don’t wear black for the entire first year.
It’s ok if you don’t cry every day.
It’s ok to get rid of his stuff.
It’s ok to get rid of his grandmother’s table you always hated.
It’s ok if you want to date again.
It’s ok if you don’t want to date again.
Hell, it’s ok if you just want an occasional booty call.
As long as your kids are cared for, it’s ok to do whatever feels right to help you deal with your grief.
I desperately wanted a manual, but the truth is, everyone’s journey is different and unique. The only way to survive this is to get up every day and continue living your life. I promise one day you’ll look back and realize you’ve made it to the other side.