I have always had an aversion to the word “widow” based on my previous experiences-associated with “the black widow” or other evil, poisonous associations. But, today, I was taken by an article suddenly appearing for my viewing from CNN, regarding stories expressed today by various “widows” throughout the world, regarding what it means to experience this sudden or forced entrance into the world of “widowry”.
I never had any desire of any sort to be a member of this group. I empathized frequently with friends, neighbors, etc. who were suddenly thrown into this distant group. But, I had never envisioned myself as an actual member.
I read the stories today with great interest. Though each of these ladies’ circumstances were so very different from mine, I did engage in a certain camaraderie with this group of women, who had never planned on partaking of this adventure, and had never envisioned life without their spouses (in my case, the absence of my best friend and partner of my soul).
I was blessed with six months to prepare for Billy’s death, though the unknown of the details of the arrival of “death” throughout those months, resulted in mental anguish and much turmoil, inhibiting our supposed preparation for that dreaded event.
In reading each of the stories of these “hero women” in this article, I realized the blessings of family in my situation, occurring in stark contrast to many of the painful, judgmental experiences of these women within their own cultures across the world. Some of these women experienced cruelty, rejection, and/or humiliation from family members, as a result of becoming a widow. This circumstance appears unimaginable in our culture, but it was a recurrent theme within the stories of the other women throughout the world. Unfortunately, many of us shared the themes of death and cancer in common. But, the reactions of cultural bias painted the darkest contrast in our situations.
I am thankful, that in my situation, I was graced with the enveloping of love from extended family members throughout our difficult journey of illness, comforting me still. However, this article has made me realize the importance and relevance of our reaching out to expand, understand, and assist women throughout the world, regardless of their circumstance, to successfully survive the frightening phenomenon of suddenly being a “widow”.
Therefore, I am attempting to change my perspective on being considered a part of this “widow” group. I find myself, now, being quite proud to join their ranks, being able to say “I was Loved so deeply” by my spouse and my family, and I am now aware of the circumstances of cultural change within the concept of “widow”, that all of us need to address in the future.