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On Becoming a Widow

It is difficult for me to believe I’ve been a widow for almost 20 years. I was 43 years old when I married for the second time. Hooper was 14 years older than I was, so realistically the likelihood of his dying before me was expected. Although whether it’s sudden, as it was in my case, or a long and painfully drawn-out process, I think it is always a shock when death happens.

One thing that helped me adjust was that I had survived without a husband before so I could obviously do it again. It’s like riding a bicycle, even if you haven’t ridden one for years; you wobble a lot when you first get on, but soon remember what you need to do. It all comes back to you.

I found it was the small things, things you tend to take for granted after a few years of marriage, that gave me the most problems. When you go to the bank/hardware store/dry cleaners would you take my car to get gas/stop at the store for milk/buy more stamps at the post office? When you are on your own, it is “Do it yourself.” You have to be the one who buys the gift, wraps the gift, mails the gift; fills the gas tank, checks the oil, plans the route; opens the mail, pays the bills, puts the trash out.

There are some benefits once your grief has run its course, and it will eventually, truly. Your time is your own. If you don’t want to cook dinner, you don’t. The TV is totally subservient to your every desire. There’s a lot more closet space so you don’t have to throw things out or give to Goodwill.

In every lasting marriage, one of you is going to be left without the other at some point. Recognize this as a fact of life and make sure your partner knows your wishes, especially if you have been married before. In this world, nothing is certain but death and taxes. Make sure you know something about both of them because they are sure to happen.