It’s amazing how people run from the word “Widow”

Normally, they don’t know what to say when you tell them that your husband recently died.

“How recent?”

“Two weeks ago.”

That usually ends the conversation right there. It’s like the pall of death follows me wherever I go. I feel dishonest if I don’t tell someone, because I still wear my rings. I feel dishonest for still wearing my rings.

I refuse to take them off, however. I don’t necessarily consider myself single, although I suppose, after filing taxes this year, I’ll have to start filing single in the years following. What a horrible thing to look forward to.

I haven’t changed my status on any of the social networking sites I’m on. I haven’t signed on his accounts to change his status. He’s forever married. I’m stuck in Limbo.

The thing is, the recently widowed never wanted to be single. It’s not like the harsh choice of divorce that puts us in our predicament. We’re not moving out of a bad relationship, and we’re not trying to reinvent our identity.  Instead, our future is stolen from us. Our promises and dreams of a life with the one person we chose to live it with are taken away, either abruptly, as in my case, or gradually. When our spouses are gone, we are left wondering if our loyalties and feelings for them even matter. It’s no surprise that I love my husband immensely. I have no attraction to any other man at this point. And before he died, his love was reciprocal. He loved me the same way, and we envisioned a future together that included having our grandchildren over to play. We looked forward to having one more child, and completing our family. We wanted to see our kids walk down the aisles of graduation, marriage and their futures.

And God’s divine hand somehow decided that we weren’t allowed to enjoy those plans.

Instead, He gave me the title of “Widow”, and all the stigma that comes along with it. It scares people. It makes them see me as pitiful and old. Widows are women who are 80+ years old, simply waiting to follow their husbands in death. They are not fertile, growing women, barely in their thirties, with young children to raise. They don’t have youthful faces and look ten years younger than their age. They don’t show up at clubs and they don’t have a myspace.

As it stands, I’ve only recently met other widows my age, and none of which are in my city. (If there are widows under 40 in this town, I haven’t met them) No one knows how to relate to them. My coupled friends can only relate to me through the marriage of my most recent past. They knew my husband, and speak as though we’re still married, and he’s just gone for awhile. While I recognize their need to avoid the subject of death, they don’t realize how I cannot talk to them about simple, annoying things in their marriages. I don’t have those things anymore. I don’t have a husband to complain about, or to argue with. I don’t have a husband to make dinner for, or wash clothes for. My husband’s clothes sit in a hamper in my closet, because I cannot bear to wash him away yet.

I belong to a minority that I never wanted to join. I’m a women who is missing a part of herself, and through no fault of my own, must live with this stigma; this punishment, regardless of how much I hate it.

I cannot envision another future other than the one I had. The reality is harsh, like the mornings. Jon will no longer be here to participate in life with me. I will no longer be able to hold him, or have him hold me, when things get rough. They ARE rough, and he is not here to ride me through it.

And for those who insist on telling me that he’s “always with me”, put yourself in my shoes, please. He is NOT here. He may exist in Glory with The Almighty, and I do believe that. But Jon’s time on this planet is finished. He was called Home, and I am left to continue on until it is my time. I’m honestly sick of people telling me how he’s always with me. Because it’s not comforting. If anything, it’s frustrating. It’s as if people keep telling me that he’s “right there! Look!” and when I do, I don’t see anything at all. If I’m constantly looking for him, I end up stuck and unable to function with just the normal tasks for the day. As much as I hate to say it on my own; Jon is gone. He was my everything, but he isn’t here anymore. I have to learn to live my life without him.

It’s the hardest thing I’ve ever had to do. Not because it hurts more than anything, but because I have no control over it. I carry this stigma without choice and it is my future, regardless of how badly I want to go back in time and change things. I don’t have that control. Only God does, and His ways don’t usually include time travel and changes during the instant replays.

I’m starting to realize that my future is a stigma. I am a widow, and in Jon’s absence, I am left as a non-wife, and a single mother.

The trick is to learn how not to scare people away when I tell them what I’ve become.