Relationship status: WIDOWED
It still hits me. It’s like I’m watching someone else’s life, not mine.
Not long before my husband died I observed, from a distance, a high school friend of mine and the loss of her husband. He was diagnosed with Cancer, and I followed her journey, from a distance. I was heartbroken when I saw her post on FB that he has passed away. It hit me harder than I thought it would. She was my age and has two beautiful daughters. I “liked” her posts about her girls, and even commented here and there. But I experienced her loss too. I felt horrible for her and didn’t quite know what to say. Every time I saw her post on FB I subconsciously labeled her. Not in a negative way, but I saw her as a grieving widow and I felt so sorry and empathetic for her and her girls.She shared her struggles and her pain.
I’m not exactly sure of the timeline as I write this, but I’m in the same club as her now. And I have questions.
How do my friends see me now?
Do they see my posts and label me as well?
Will I be forever the tragic widow left with three young children?
Will I ever have another identity?
Do people really think I’m strong?
Do people get tired of my posts about missing him?
Is there a time limit for social grief?
What is the politically correct way to deal with grief on social media?
Why should I even care?
I do care…to a point. When I became a stay at home Mom it was tough. I went from being in a social job, to staying at home with babies. They’re all close in age, so I didn’t have time to have many social outings, or even contact with the “outside world”, so yeah, social media was my way to step out of my bubble and connect with real live, internet friends and real people too. I’ve re-connected with many high school friends and new friends as well.
Okay, back to the present. I’m a social person. I like sharing aspects of my life online. I feel more connected when I do. I also received so much support from my online community, so why wouldn’t I have these thoughts about my new…image ( ? ) And now, how do I use this (new image of mine) to stay connected and share and feel support? This is a tough question and one that I’m trying to explore.
For those that want to know; I’m doing okay. Life is going on. That’s the short answer. Yes, I’m getting up everyday and going to work. The kids are fed, the house is in good shape, thanks to Mimi. So, on the surface, from the outside looking in, it’s business as usual. You look at my house from the street and you see a stray football in the yard, Halloween decorations, and a mis-matched screen door. If you look closer you’ll see the tree we planted in honor of Jon. It’s surrounded at it’s base by memorial rocks the kids have painted and there are even a few of his ashes buried below it. (also anointed with some beer, thanks Ish and Janelle).
If you watch from a distance you’ll see that I couldn’t help the tears during a local football game when I saw several the homecoming court participants being escorted by their father’s. You’ll see my light on late at night because it’s hard to get ready for bed when the house is quiet. You will see my fabulous neighbors stopping by to say hello. And it’s very probably you’ll see three kids sword-fighting with sticks, or riding scooters pulling a skateboard with a rope behind them because, life DOES go on.