The 5 Letter W Word~

Widow.

It’s a loaded word, isn’t it?

I use the word in reference to both women and men, or I write the word widow and just add a slash and an er at the end.

Because I’m a bottom line type of person, I appreciated best the definition from Thesaurus.com.  Noun:  woman with dead husband.  That definition suits me primarily because it isn’t dressed up. You can’t soften this blow for me, so please tell it like it is, with all the harshness that the word implies.

It horrified me, when Chuck died, to realize that I was a widow.  Using that term in reference to myself was shocking. The implications of those 5 letters, emotionally, physically, financially, spiritually…shattering.  It meant I was now alone. That I’d never see him again. Done. Finito. Gone.

And because my mind takes me on strange and weird meanderings at times, I’d wonder to myself what kind of widow would I be?  Dramatically dressed in black with a huge hat and flowing black veil and black gloves?  It would be my thing…people would say oh yes, that’s the Black Widow in awe-struck and possibly fearful tones as I passed by.

Or I would be the Merry Widow.  Showing a brave face to the world while I partied the nights away, hiding my grief behind, yes…a black veil.  Which would flutter in the wind as I drove past in my black convertible.

I knew right away I couldn’t carry off the Pathetic Widow.  Weeping mournfully, hiding myself away, delicately dabbing at my eyes with a lace hankie behind my…black veil.  Handing out peppermint candies to little children and sighing a lot…behind my black veil.

The military uses the term Un-remarried Widow.  I’m sure it’s for documentation and military privilege purposes.  It’s actually a pretty good term, I think.

As I’ve traveled in these 2 years since Chuck’s death, I’ve stayed at many a military family camp (famcamp to those in the know, which, apparently, I am now), and I’ve met and spoken to veterans who are there for the same purpose as I am;  camping.  Early on, one of them referred to me as a Military Widow which, honestly, took me by surprise, as I’d never thought of myself as that.  Chuck had been retired for many years and we hadn’t had much to do with the military, so it just wasn’t on my radar.  Military Widow, to me, meant a young wife of active duty personnel.

But then I had to fill out paperwork with the VA and get other shit done referencing his time in service and I realized that, yeah, I’m a Military Widow..

So, here I am, 2 years and 3 months (as of tonight), re-thinking the widow word thing.  Like any other woman with a dead husband, I hate the word widow because, well, it means that my husband is dead.  But I’m kind of okay with it too, now.  Because, yeah, I’m Chuck Dearing’s widow, but, yes, I’m Chuck Dearing’s Widow and what that means is that he spent the last part of his life with me, he loved me and I loved him and there is strength in that for me.  It’s a connector to him that I crave, and it means as much to me now as the word wife meant to me when he was alive.

Widow.  It carries different meanings for everyone, understandably, and we wear it uneasily or comfortingly and it makes us weary and it makes us strong and it’s made me wonder in the dark hours of the night when my brain refuses to turn off about what it means for me and to me and finally…finally, I know.

I’m Chuck Dearing’s Widow and that means that love truly is my super-power.  11231020_874401225948146_3605702477485355746_n

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11 thoughts on “The 5 Letter W Word~

  1. Thank you so much for writing what I feel. I hate the word but it describes exactly who I am. I am Mike’s widow!

  2. Thank you so much for this! I too have been grappling with the word “widow”…. But now that I can CONNECT it to the fact that Chris spent the last part of his life with me and thus we are still and forever connected! He was my Superman… On his deathbed, he made me promise that I would continue the adventures! I have kept that promise to him and in the last 2 years, can’t believe what I have done AS CHRIS’ WIDOW! Thank you, Dear!

  3. Alison, you are right. The word “widow” IS a superpower. It makes you HIS: his one-and-only, his beloved. When I began my journey with Soaring Spirits, and you, I was always careful to make people know that I was NOT a widow. I was just someone dealing with very strong feelings of grief, loss and loneliness. I am no one’s anything; I was never special enough. What bothers me the most is the casual way the monsters who lied to me, manipulated me, about one of the most sacred things in life — a special bond between two people recognized formally by society.

    This week I placed flowers outside a recording studio — and I’m OK with that. It was a loving tribute to a special friend and to the special bond that musicians and songwriters can share. You & Rachel (all your children, I suppose) are very spiritual people. You appreciate that some people are IRREPLACEABLE. Maybe that’s where the word “widow” draws its power from. It tells of the enormity of the loss, commanding respect for the grief.

    I wish there had not been such cruel people in my life. I wish that the scars didn’t run so deep. But I am making my way in the world, bravely, with my new reality of All Alone Forever. And I am seeing that my grief, too, for so many things, shall pass.

    (Yours is a very positive post. I hope you are doing a bit better yourself!)

  4. I’m not the 5 letter word (widow) and to be honest, I have no friends that are. I gave come across your story on facebook several times. I am not trying to “fix” you..please, please laugh at that! I travel with a group of women in Wisconsin. WISCONSIN LADY GLAMPERS (you can check out or page if you like). We get together once a month and camp. If you are ever in the area and would like to hitch up with us, please do. We aren’t a scary group! Far from it. Your “journey” ( life without your Handsome Husband) is almost as long as we’ve been together. For us, these monthly trips are life savers. The girl time is great! I just thought I would put it out there. You never know! It may not be your cup of tea. …but then again. …it could be a good place to rest your bones for awhile. Please know that you would be welcome!

    • Amy,
      I so love that you got in touch with me-and even though I don’t really and truly consider myself a camper…I’m in SOTF and I live in a trailer, so….when I’m in WI be assured I will get in touch with you and I’d love the opportunity to glamp with you and your sister glampers. I haven’t yet been there by myself…Chuck and I traveled through there together a few years back.

      My community of women is vastly important to me. I’ll look you up on fb in the meanwhile. Stay in touch, and thank you so, so, much~

  5. Alison, just so you know, in case there’s a glitch, my comment which was posted on July 22 is still “awaiting moderation.”

  6. “….he loved me and I loved him and there is strength in that for me….” This is me. As hard as this road is, there is such strength for me in having had such a Love. To have a man like mine to miss is such a beautiful thing…. ❤

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