For Widows Only-You Know You’re A Widow When

At the end of a good day you bust out crying for no particular reason.

At the end of a bad day you burst out laughing for no particular reason.

At the end of everyday, you crawl into bed and sleep on His side.

You refuse to throw away His toothbrush, His razor, His bar of soap. Because you think He’ll need them.

The sight of His bathrobe hanging on a hook on the back of the bathroom door reduces you to tears, but you refuse to throw it away. Because the smell reminds you of Him. And you never want to forget the best friend you ever had.

Your life revolves around trips to the cemetery to plant tulips in spring, marigolds in summer, geraniums in autumn, and mistletoe in winter. And because you promised.

You wear His wedding band looped through a chain around your neck tucked neatly under your shirt.

You wear your wedding ring. Because you still feel married.

You had a terrible horrible miserable ugly day. And He’s not here to tell you everything will be okay.

You talk to your dog. And swear to God that silly dog understands every word you say.

You tell everyone who asks, “how ya doing?” the big lie, “I’m doing fine.”  That’s because you know they don’t understand. You know they can’t. And you pray they never will.

You sit posed like a pooch for animal crackers over a job application. You can’t make up your mind which box to check — Single, Married, Divorced, Other — You honestly don’t know.

The lamp in the living room turns on. And you didn’t flip the switch. You truly believe it’s a message sent from Him.

You sit in coffee shops for hours and hours scribbling on paper napkins. Because you can;t stand the thought of sitting home alone.

You’re dying *pardon the pun* to get out the house, but once you get out, you yearn to get back home. You just don’t feel safe without Him at your side.

The sight of two strangers, a man and a woman, holding hands, bums you out. Because it reminds you of the life you had with Him. The life you planned to have with Him.

You get caught in the pouring rain without an umbrella. And you honestly don’t give a damn.

Your big night out is a trip to the trash bin to dump the garbage. And you swear to God, you discovered mourning joy. Because you’re thankful you got two hands to carry the banana peels, the empty cereal boxes, and the crushed vitamin D milk containers, and two able feet to carry you.

You stand over the kitchen sink eating cold pizza for breakfast.

You lose weight. Because you can’t eat — you miss Him so much you lose your appetite for chocolate.

You gain weight. Because you can’t stop eating — you miss Him so much you think a Hostess Twinkie or an Oreo Cookie will fill the void.

You mark time BD *before His death* and AD *after His death*. Because the endless memories loop your brain and you need a point of reference to handle your thoughts.

At the end of each day you ask yourself the magic question, how did I do it? Then pray the magnificent prayer, please God, can I do it one more day? And you know in you’re heart, with His help, you can.

Linda Della Donna is a freelance writer who makes her home 20 miles north from where the World Trade Center used to be. Della Donna supports new widows through the grief process. At present, she’s working on a memoir dedicated to her late husband, Edward Sclier. You can learn more about Della Donna and receive a copy of her FREE E-Book, Mourning Joy, by filling out the opt-in box at her web site – http://www.littleredmailbox.com – and subscribing to her mailing list. Feel free to read Della Donna’s blog – http://www.griefcase.blogspot.com – for widows only. Della Donna wants every widow to know, we’re not alone. Got a writing assignment? Need an interview? Feel free to contact Della Donna at littleredmailbox@aol.com. She’s waiting to hear from you.

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  • Clara Hinton says:

    Thanks so much for this article on how to determine when you’re a widow. I think we all need to be educated in every area of grief, and widowhood is often one grief that is overlooked. It hit me hard when you said that you stare at a job application and don’t know which block to check…..married, single, other….I’m among many, I’m sure, that need reminders that being a widow is a grief that changes all of life in an instant and the grief really, really hurts.

  • catherine says:

    It is exact. Thank you.

  • Robin says:

    I lost my dear husband two weeks ago of a sudden heartattack. He died while I was out and I found him on the bathroom floor. The pain is so overwhelming and I wonder how I will survive.
    You described what I am going through perfectly. Only someone who suffers the death of a spouse or signicant other can know what I am going through.

  • Felicia Lam says:

    I lost my husband to lung cancer. It has been slightly over a month but i still feel like i will be most comfortable if i just attach myself to my bed and hide in my room. Every good memory of him aches my heart, every step forward is a fear and having his side of the bed empty is worst especially at night when i am trying to sleep. Just being able to sleep with him every night for the last 19 years was not only comforting but an extreme luxury.

  • Lynette says:

    PERFECT….just perfect and so true!

    I lost the love of my life on April 6 of a heart attack. No warning, no symptoms, nothing. He was here one minute and gone the next.

    Thank you for posting this.

  • Debbie says:

    I lost my husband right before Christmas and buried him on his birthday–Christmas Day. I still hurt so bad, that sometimes I really don’t want to live any more. I do believe that he visits me (things have happened that only he could’ve done) and my daughter is hurting badly, too. This Mother’s Day and Father’s Day are not going to be good.

  • Debbie says:

    I have to believe that he’d want me to be OK, but I’m just not there yet.

  • Robin says:

    It has been 10 months and the pain is so overwhelming at times its unbearable. I wish everyday that he had taken me with him. Everyone says in time it will get better but time has no meaning for me right now. All I feel is an neverending ache.