The Wisdom of the Widows

From Stephanie and Dave

If you are lucky enough to reach a “certain age,” you will find that the preponderance of your peers are widows.  Not widowers, mind you.  Widows.  The life expectancy of women is longer for a number of reasons and in married women, even longer and so, by age 86, widows outnumber widowers by a goodly number.

So it is that I now join a number of my friends in that not-so-very-rare-state.  In just these last few days, I have already received notes and letters and Facebook messages from widowed friends offering me advice . No matter the situation of my widowed friends — affluent or not, “educated” or not, married for a long time or not — there is great similarity in their advice:

From Jean: I’m so sorry to hear of Nyel’s passing. I know you will miss him every day and feel his presence as the days pass. He will always remain in your heart and his memory will be a comfort to you as the time passes. I send my love.

From Karen:  He will be in your memories forever! And you aren’t not alone for he is your angel watching over you, helping you make difficult decisions and more. Just keep putting one foot ahead of the other and close friends will help more than you know. Hugs Hugs Hugs

From Gwen: I am so sorry for you, Sydney. I lost Robert two months ago. The voyage has been intense. In his death, I was reborn. The most personal and painful experience. Be selfish of your time and your feelings. Throw yourself into this mourning so you can make peace in the end…

From Betty — Yes, there are things you’ll be needing to tell him. You’ll find yourself turning to him to comment on something. You will feel him near you physically and that will be a comfort. But embrace it and know he is there… always nearby, loving you always.

From Eric, Mike, and Paige

From Ruth C:  You will be numb for a while… that’s a good thing.  You will do well with all the details that need you, right away — sortings, documentations, the making of order.  You’re gifted at all that.  That, too, is a good thing.  Still the changeover from partnership to solo takes time to figure out.  Now you must do everything alone, do all the household planning alone, negotiate life alone without Nyel to talk things over with,  You will miss talking with him, his very presence, his essence.
Do take every bit of assistance you are offered, and ask friends to do things that would help.  They will want to help and may not know exactly how to… or even what to say.  Love will buoy you — your loved ones will be literal, real, welcome support.  You can’t practice widowhood ahead of time.  You’ll feel your way along and likely be very busy.  Sydney, dear one, take time for yourself when it all feels too much.  I’m so glad you have folks around you who will be there for you, whatever you need.


One Response to “The Wisdom of the Widows”

  1. Pat Wollner says:

    Yes to all the above. In addition, be alone. Feel the pain. Sit by yourself and look at the yard, the peonies, the water. Don’t talk or listen to music, just be silent and alone.
    Then go back to all of it. Day by day, week by week, over time it doesn’t get better, but bit easier. The numbness turns to pain, the pain to fear, the fear to determination, the determination to a kind of healing.

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