Today is National Widow’s Day.
Who knew there was actually a day for us? I personally would have preferred Mother’s Day, a Wedding Anniversary, or any other day that represented life instead of death but I guess I’ll take it.
I didn’t even know this day existed until I noticed it posted on a Facebook page. In honor of this day I wanted to write a little something about some of the very important widows in my life.
While I was going through my facebook friends to make sure I didn’t forget to mention any of the special ladies, I realized;
there are a lot of us.
It is truly amazing how a complete stranger can become one of your vital sources of strength and hope when you lose your person.
Sandy lets start with you. How long have we been friends? I have always been so amazed by your strength, perseverance, and positive outlook on this life. You were just a little bit older than me when you lost your sweet Rob suddenly and not only did you raise two beautiful children all by yourself, you also wore the uniform for a thankless job for twenty-five years after that. When Nick died, you were one of the first people to step in and help me and my parents, and we are so thankful for that.
Sandy, you are a warrior.
Leah. How do I even describe the love you showed me early on in my grief journey. You didn’t even know me, but you showed such compassion and genuine care for me when I connected with you through Tammy. You had one little one and a baby on the way when your sweet Gary died suddenly, and I can’t even fathom how you managed to keep your body healthy enough to carry your beautiful Olivia. You introduced me to other widows including Rhonda and Tanya, and you gave me some of the best advice through out my journey. You gave me so much hope.
Leah, you are a warrior.
Rhonda. We met through Leah, and that was by far one of the most healing days I have had on this journey. Sitting in Leah’s living room talking about Abe, Gary, and Nick was not only heartwrenching but also kind of comical. Remember the beeping? You welcomed me into your world with open arms, and for that, I am so grateful. Your words and encouragement through this journey have been such an important piece of my journey.
Rhonda, you are a warrior.
Sharon. I remember hearing your story just days before my Nick died. Tera told us about you on Family Day. She and I were working the holiday Monday, and she shared with us what happened to Jeremy. All I remember thinking was how on earth could anyone get through something so tragic. Less than a week later, I lost Nick. Sharon, we have only connected in person once, but I have watched you along your journey, as you have watched me, and I am so proud of your strength, and your ability to keep life going for your boys. Jeremy would be so proud of you.
Sharon, you are a warrior.
Tanya. You don’t even know me and have only spoken to me via facebook but you showed me so much love and compassion through our conversation, and I appreciated it so much. I first heard of you through Leah when she told me about the documentary Rebirth. You have no idea the amount of tears I shed while watching that documentary. It was such a beautiful tribute to those lost in 9/11, and I am so proud of you for all that you have done since losing your sweet Sergio. Thank you for treating me like one of your close friends. I am sure you receive several messages via Facebook so that meant the world to me.
Tanya, you are a warrior.
Kathy. Oh, Kathy what an adventurous relationship we have had so far. You were the first widow that I met whose person was killed in an Avalanche. The connection we had right from the start is unexplainable, and the crazy experiences we have had together have been truly amazing. Kathy, you are the epitome of strength. Not only did you lose Chris in an avalanche in 2013 you also lost Jim suddenly 20 years ago this year. I can’t even imagine being widowed twice at such a young age, but you have shown, with such grace, that humans can truly get through anything.
Kathy, you are a warrior.
Sasha. I remember the day you lost your sweet Bryan. I didn’t know you, and I didn’t know Bryan. All I knew was there was another tragic loss in those mountains as a result of an Avalanche. I was in Mexico, and all I could think about was how his family must be feeling. It hurt my heart so much to know there was yet another family going through the pain that mine and I were going through. I am so glad we have connected, and I can’t wait to some day meet you. I am so proud of your strength and motivation to continue with this prescious life.
Sasha, you are a warrior.
Linda. I remember hearing about the death of your sweet Justin through a mutual friend. I knew it was sudden, but I didn’t know the details. I remember thinking another poor woman is having to walk through this hell. I didn’t know you, but not long after, you sent me a message as you had been reading my blogs. I know exactly how it feels to one day be hearing and reading about someone else’s tragic story, to suddenly living that tragic story. You are a beautiful person, and I have loved witnessing your strength and beauty through this journey and I know Justin would be so proud.
Linda, you are a warrior.
Melissa. I remember when you lost your sweet Colin. I didn’t know you, but I knew Colin and when he died my heart broke for you and your family. You were one of the first people I wanted to connect with after Nick died because I had no idea who else to contact. Everyone was either elderly or far out from their grief. You didn’t even know ne but you selflessly helped me with some of the most difficult decisions in the early parts of my grief, and I am not even sure if you remember what that conversation was, but it was about the viewing. Melissa you have continued to live, love, and enjoy this beautiful life, and by seeing you do that, I had hope for my future too.
Melissa, you are a warrior.
Milvia. Milvia although we haven’t been able to connect in person for a long, long time you are still one of the strongest women I know. I thought this before you lost your sweet Brian and I knew that when Brian died, you would not allow it to destroy you or define you. I remember witnessing you give the eulogy at Brian’s funeral. That memory empowered me to give Nick’s eulogy at his. Thank you for that. I remember you telling me in a message that when I cry I am showing strength and that those “so-called melt downs” are important for my healing. I had no idea that I would be joining you and Sandy on this widow’s journey, but I can tell you I was very lucky to have had two very strong women to help me along the way.
Milvia, you are a warrior.
Betty Ann. You are yet another woman I know who has been down this journey more than once. The words, encouragement, and compassion you have shown me along this journey have been so incredibly important. Sometimes it’s weird to have these deep conversations with those who knew me as a child, but I am so glad you have been able to find peace in my writing, and that you have shared with me the feelings you have as you read. This has been so helpful and has motivated me to keep going.
Betty Ann, you are a warrior.
To my Grandmother’s Edna and Grace. I remember the moments you lost your sweet husbands. My Grandpas. I remember hearing my Grandma Edna whisper in my Grandpa’s ear that she wasn’t ready yet. I can’t even imagine. My Grandma Edna still mentions my Grandpa at least once every single time I see her, and I have no doubt she will continue to keep his memory alive. Grandma Grace, I remember the long night in the hospital, and I remember Auntie Nadine singing after Grandpa was gone. I can’t remember the song, but I can still hear her singing it. Do you remember? Sometimes when the family is together, I realize you are the only one who truly understands. You and Uncle Shane of course. I love that you still talk about Grandpa and I hope you never stop. It’s talking that keeps their memory alive.
Grandma Edna and Grandma Grace, you are warriors.
Uncle Shane. I don’t know if there is a national widower’s day too, but I have decided to honor you today too. I remember when Auntie Nadine died like it was five minutes ago and her death was one of the hardest times I have ever experienced. I couldn’t even fathom what you went through and to this day I still can’t. You grieve the many years you had with Auntie Nadine, and I grieve the many years I lost and will never have with Nick. You may not have followed the advice of everyone on this journey, but you have done what is right for you and I admire that. I understand the pain, the anxiety, and the emptiness that is felt when we are all together without that beautiful woman. I never thought in a million years I would join you on this journey and I am so sorry you lost your sweet Nadine far too soon. I still think of her at least once a day and I promise I always will.
Uncle Shane, you are a warrior.
Aubree, Lesley, Vanessa, Vilma, Rose, Chelsea, Rhonda M., Jess, Carrie, and Cat you are all warriors too. I have only connected briefly with all of you, but each and every one of your stories have broken my heart. However, with that heartbreak, I have been shown that I am not alone. I have been able to follow each of your journey’s on Facebook and I am so proud of all of you. It absolutely amazes me the strength that I have witnessed.
I am sure there are people I have missed, and if I have, it’s because I am unaware of your story but please know this; I don’t need to know your story to show compassion and appreciation for what you have been through.
We all no debilitating pain, loss of hope, intense loneliness and the loss of our will to live. We also all know strength, we know joy, and we know the importance of love and compassion.
As you can see in this blog, there are so many of us out there who have to acknowledge this day as a day that applies to us. We may not like it and it might feel unfair but it is part of our story, and there is nothing any of us can do to change that.
If you know of a widow, personally or not, reach out to them today, and let them know how proud you are of them. Wish them well. They might not even know this day exists. I didn’t, but I can guarantee without a doubt they will appreciate hearing it. As I spoke about the other day; resiliency is a life long project and kindness is always welcomed.
“At the end of the day, all you need is Hope and Strength. Hope that it will get better and Strength to hold on until it does.”
Thank you to all of you who gave me the hope and strength to get through this journey.