Touched by loss. Empowered through community.

What Being a Widow Means to Me

Date: 
Monday, October 15, 2012
Posted By: 
Gerry Sousa

Today, we welcome guest writer, Gerry Sousa who lost her husband in November, 2008.  She lives with her two children, Nate, 21, and Beth, 18.  Thanks for sharing, Gerry!

Almost 4 years ago, I started this journey of being a widow.  I have been amazed at how strong I have become.  I think after all this time I have come to believe a few things about me and about people and events that have happened to me.

I try to make each moment count:  It’s a cheesy piece of dialogue from the movie Titanic, where this sentiment is offered in the form of a toast.  Life is fleeting and unpredictable.  I know this now.  I’ve learned that I cannot take many things for granted anymore.  I still have the memory of the last time I saw Dick, my late husband, alive and the last time I told him I loved him.    I didn’t know it was going to be the last time.  As I continue to work through this new stage of my life, I have reached out more to people and told them how I feel.  Through my experiences of being a widow, I came to work through my conflicted emotions with my mother, and when she died 2 years ago, I was at peace with the notion that I was a good daughter to her.  I know that I cannot always approach each occasion with a human being as a possible last time, but I know I’m much more open to the idea that small, quiet moments count, either with the ones I love or random strangers. 

Losing a spouse is not a linear journey:  There have been many ups and downs, highs and lows.  I have cried to the four walls on days when things haven’t turned out the way I wanted them or when I have had a memory so strong about my late husband that it has plunged me to my darkest places.  I have also laughed so hard at the silly things that have happened to me that my sides have hurt.  I’m learning that it’s ok to get the feelings out of my body and that tears take out the toxins.  I have cried in front of so many people at this point, I can list on one hand the number of people who haven’t seen me cry.  I’m not shy about showing my feelings to anyone at any time.

Talking about death is an acquired skill:  I have had some incredible conversations with many people about what I have been through. I’m an elementary teacher, and I recently went to a conference with a number of teachers in attendance.  I was able to talk with most of them, and I happened to find out that 2 of them were widows.  In the past, before I became a widow, I would have just noticed this small detail and moved on.  Now that I’m a member of this club, I realized that while all of us ladies were all different ages, we all had a strong bond between us.  We talked intimately about our lives, our late husbands, and all that we had in common.  I wouldn’t have been able to reach out and discuss things like that before I became a widow.  I would have hesitated with the uncomfortable feeling of talking about loss.  Now that I’m a widow, I seek to find out how others are doing in lots of different parts of their lives, both good and bad.  I try to be a good listener when I can be.  That is an acquired skill as well.

I’m in the second act of my life and am trying to understand my place in life.  I’m laughing and crying while I’m learning.  I ultimately hope it will all be OK.  So far, it has been.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Comments

I love how you said this: "I know that I cannot always approach each occasion with a human being as a possible last time, but I know I’m much more open to the idea that small, quiet moments count." I feel this so strongly since losing Rod. I wish that I had spent more of those little moments snuggled on the couch with him instead of worrying about the dishes in the sink. I'm much less OCD now, refuse to bring work home with me (how he hated that), and spend so much more time with my kids, parents, sisters and friends. Just wanted to share, one of my favorite songs is "Little Wonders" by Rob Thomas http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HhZ1BdMtw_Q

Great song and video -- almost made me cry. The fact that it didn't tells me how strong I am today. Will definitely share this with others. It is beautiful. Thanks for sharing.

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