A widow dating

A man and woman holding handsThere is a stigma on widows dating.  People pass their judgments:  It’s been so long since you lost your spouse…when are you going to get back out there?  Your spouse has not been dead long enough, how can you be dating already?  It seems there is no right time.

As widows, we can believe that we are not even “dating material”.  Relationships can be hard enough without carrying all that “baggage” with you.  It’s not like we expected our spouses to die so soon.  In the beginning it can be difficult to imagine, and we might feel completely awkward being single again.  It is far from something we planned.

Not to mention the comfort of being married.  That it is okay to wear the granny panties that week of the month.  The sexy lingerie that is stuffed in the back of the drawer for special occasions like birthdays and anniversaries.  All the work that goes into being sexy enough is not always necessary when you have had a long night with your child sleeping between you and your spouse.  When you wake up and you look like a lioness, makeup smudged all over your face and your husband still thinks you’re sexy.  This comfort is gone, and you have to bring the “sexy back” as Justin Timberlake sang about.

Your life is now a big roller coaster that is nearly falling off the tracks.  A grieving widow, with or without children, angry that you were shorted the time with your spouse.  Probably borderline dysfunctional at times. Now that sounds like someone everyone is lining up to get a date with!

Then we start wondering if we are honoring our late spouse.  Would this be acceptable to them?  This can be a feeling of betrayal, so work hard on getting passed that feeling. I believe if it is acceptable to you, then it would be acceptable to your late spouse.  Who knew your spouse better than you did?

You have a love for your spouse that will never leave your heart.  It can be hard for others to understand and accept.  They might even feel like they have to compete with it, but it’s nothing to compete with.  We are capable of loving our late spouses and another person.  It was not our choice that our spouses died.  We still deserve to have love in our life.

We might be waiting to get through our grief before starting a new relationship, but frankly I do not know anyone that does not continue to experience grief for the rest of their life after they lose their spouse.

Love happens in your life. Our spouse died; that does not mean we turn the love button off in our lives.  In the beginning you might say I will never even imagine dating another.  Then one day you might be sitting across the booth from a friend,  look up from your fish, turn red-faced and realize that you are starting to fall for him.  Then get frightened the minute he asks you what’s wrong and decide to wait for a better opportunity to tell him how you feel.  Don’t wait too long, because there might not be a “perfect” opportunity. 

P.S. I told my friend.

The wedding ring

Diamond ring with ruby stones A wedding ring is universal.  When someone sees it on your hand, they know you are married.  There are many cultures that exchange rings as a symbol of love.  We even have a finger that is named for the placement, the ring finger.  The ring symbolizes a circle of trust between two individuals. 

When the ring is placed by your spouse you are symbolizing your eternal love for one another.  Your wedding day is full of magic, love and laughter.  Sometimes there are tears, but they are tears of joy. 

Recently I had a widow ask me how long I wore my ring after my husband’s death.  I told her for a few months.  I had my husband’s wedding ring and mine melting down to made into a new ring that I wear on my right hand.  My engagement diamond was placed in the middle with the diamonds from his ring forming a circle around it.  I had his birthstone placed on the ring as well. 

Before I created a new ring my wedding ring brought me pain.  I would see it on my hand, it no longer brought the joy of marriage, it had turned into a reminder that he was dead.  I wanted to rip it off my finger and throw it as far as I could.  I was angry that our marriage had ended because someone made a bad choice and killed him. 

I have spoken to other widows that took their wedding ring off the day they found out their husband died, others that still wear their ring and yet others who wear it once in awhile. Everyone chooses what’s right for them. 

It is amazing how such a small thing can symbolize so much in someone’s life.  How one moment it brought joy to their life and the next heartache.

I would like to hear from any of the reader’s that have lost…what did you do with your ring?

A widowed mother…

Black and white picture of Samantha and her two sons

Samantha and her two sons

Being a widow is hard, but being a parent to children who lose their dad is even harder.  When our children are born we bring them into this world with endless hopes and dreams.  Their innocence is refreshing and often time makes me laugh.  As a parent I believe our goal is to raise capable adults, self sufficient with the least amount of obstacle.

As mothers it is hard for us to not protect our children.  To prevent them from getting hurt, being sad or scared. After my children lost their father I was unsure what to do.  I could not comfort them.  I could not make their pain go away with a simple kiss.  That was such a helpless feeling for me.  Before this, I was a confident mother.  I thought I had the answers or knew how to find them. 

My oldest son was transformed into an angry child and I did not know him any longer.  He thought that he could not cry, that he needed to be strong.  After many sessions with the counselor and holes in a punching bag, he began to understand how to identify his anger.  He slowly became the son I had known for 8 years.  He was not as innocent as he once was, but his fun loving personality came back to him. 

My youngest son was only two at the time of his father’s death.  I was worried that he would not remember his father, but somehow he does.  He often says “Mom, remember when daddy used to…”.  The hardest thing to hear after his stories of his father is, “My daddy is dead, right?”

When he would first ask me that question, I would cringe at those words coming out of his little mouth.  Now it is part of our lives and somehow seems like a normal question.

He also has his father’s walk and does some of the same movements with his hands.  When I watch him I see so much of Mike that it makes me smile.

Sometimes my children would play and I would get angry.  I thought they were not grieving properly until I educated myself and understood it.  Finally I began to play with them and it was therapeutic for me.  I was able to become a part of their world for moments at a time.  It was as if my brain was able to rest from all the pain and anguish that ran rapid through it at the time.  They allowed me to be silly.

I believe being a mother is one of the most rewarding things on earth.  My children have taught me a lot.  They taught me to not feel sorry for myself.  They were victims, but did not use it as a way to earn any special privilege.  They have continued to grow, mature and love their life.  They have embraced something you would not want your children to bear, but they do every day with a smile.

Guestpost for Modern Sage

On September 2nd, 2010, members of the United States Border Patrol knocked on my front door and said, “I’m sorry ma’am but your husband is dead.” My husband, Michael, was killed in the line of duty by a drunk driver. This was the day my children lost their father and the day I became a widow.

I was lost and did not know how to pick up all the pieces of my shattered life with my two children. I needed to face my life as a widow or I would remain lost forever. I used more than courage to find myself. I used crazy courage.

Please visit Modern Sage to read the rest of my post.

Searching for Faith…

Green road sign with Faith written on it. Blue sky and clouds behind itWhen I lost my husband, I was angry at everyone.  That included God.  I thought to myself, how can someone that wants good to prevail over evil make a bad choice.  He took my husband from me.  I had people say to me that Mike is in a better place now.  This infuriated me even more.  I felt  he belonged with me and his children. 

One day I was speaking to the Chaplain about my anger towards God.  With his one comment, he changed what I had believed and helped me understand faith a little bit more.  He said, “God is not about good prevailing over evil.  All God wants is to have a relationship with you.” 

In all the church services and Bible studies that I had gone to I cannot remember once someone saying something that made so much sense to me.  Suddenly a light bulb went off in my head and I gained a clearer perspective. 

Before Mike’s death I had not thought much about faith or my relationship with God, except reading the Bible in its entirety when I was 14.  I prayed many nights, but was not avid about going to church. I felt like I could never find the right church for me. 

Faith has been a constant struggle.  I am continuing to search and understand the meaning of faith. Now, when I talk to my children about their father they believe that Daddy is in heaven and watches over us.  Yet, I have never taken either one of them to church. 

What I can say about faith is that I do believe in a higher power and have certain morals that I uphold.  I may struggle my whole life with faith and searching for complete understanding of what it means in my life.  But that’s part of the relationship I am trying to build. 

As Mother Teresa said “Be faithful in small things because it is in them that your strength lies.”