Excerpt from Life After Loss For Widows: Lifting the Veil of Grief
I remember this one incident so well. A little over a year after losing Randy, I was enrolling for an upcoming retreat at our church. I had gone in the afternoon. The church was open for those who wanted to drop in and sign up. There was no one there when I went.
I started filling out the paperwork. Then I got to the part that asked me to circle my marital status. The choices were: “M” for married, “S” for single, or “D” for divorced.
At that very instant, the walls around me came crashing down and I felt like I was punched in the gut. I was still married. I mean, I knew I was a widow, but to me, that word meant I was a married woman who had lost my spouse. That was my definition anyway. I had taken off my wedding rings but had replaced them with an anniversary band I bought. It symbolized to me what I felt our marriage was. It was a simple, yet strong bond, with a never-ending love for Randy.
The people at church knew I was widowed. They had been a big support for me. So there was my dilemma. I couldn’t really circle the M because I knew what they meant by M. I certainly wasn’t a D. But, I didn’t WANT to be an S! I had not asked to be an S! It was not my choice to be one!
I remember I just stood there, with anxiety consuming me. How could a task so simple in others’ eyes get the best of me this way? I walked around the back of church, totally distraught over one darn letter! I just couldn’t do it. I couldn’t circle the S. I was not ready.
I went back to the table, took a deep breath, added a W for widowed, circled it, placed it in the box and left, feeling emotionally exhausted. To some, it may seem like this was such an easy thing to do. I could have written that from the start or left it blank because they all knew me.
They would have understood. For me, it was so much more than that. For the very first time since my husband’s death, I began to question my marital status. I realized that what I believed and felt in my heart was not how society viewed it.