Married, Widowed or Single ? What am I ? Every time I log onto Facebook or fill out some sort of application for a job or for a line of credit to buy a new mattress, I'm reminded that I am, in fact a widow. It hasn't been a year since Julian passed and I am definitely am not ready to say that I'm single. Saying I'm married would give the impression that my husband is still with us. Widowed sounds so very sad.
I'm dating someone and he is a wonderful man. He lost his wife to cancer about seven years ago and has moved on from widower to single man status. But that simple word is one part of the grieving process that is so hard to give up, yet so hard to hold onto, as well.
I don't want potential employers to see the box checked "widow" and feel pity for me, but I also don't want to give the impression that I am a single mother - possibly abandoned by the father of her children. If you haven't stood in my shoes, it might seem difficult to understand the weight of the decision to say "single" as opposed to "widow". It feels like you're abandoning the one you love; the one who left this world through no fault of their own.
So at what point do I make the decision to go from being a "widow" to a "single" mother ? Will one single word change anything for me or for my children ? Will it change the way I feel about myself ? Will it change the way others see me ?
The pain of losing Julian never fades, but it does subside for a time. We can laugh and live normal lives most days. On bad days, the kids and I cry uncontrollably or grieve in silence (hardly speaking a word). I will always be a widow - even if I remarry. Because I one time, I had a husband named Julian. He is the father of my children. He was my best friend. He was taken from us. We were taken from him. Finding the strength to change from "widow" to "single" will not change the facts; it will not ease the grieving. But as that door closes, a new one will open and our new life will begin.