How to Treat Young Widows
I stumbled across this article by Tammy Ruiz on the Catholic Stand website, having been linked to it from the Patheos blog, “The Deacon’s Bench.” Immediately the one point that stood out to me and I appreciated was her definition of “young.” In my mind, when I think about “young widows,” I tend to think of 20-30-somethings, but she quoted statistics about 40-somethings. That’s me! I’m young. Yay!
She brings up some really great points in her piece about societal expectations of widows, and while I haven’t had to worry about anyone questioning whether I have grieved “long enough” or “too much,” I have felt the pressure of expectations. Or more to the point, I stayed away from my parish for a good part of the late spring and summer because I was tired of feeling like everyone was watching me. ”How is she doing?” Too many comments to me about being strong, doing so well (all things considered were the unspoken words), and just hearing people mention about their own struggles with children and I would always think, “yeah, but you have a spouse at home to take some of the load.” It was uncharitable of me, but it’s how I felt. No one really knows the struggle I have been through, what happens behind the doors and windows of our home, nor all the times when I feel so very weak.
As I have come out of the fog of the last year, I have more hope. I still wear my wedding ring, and My Love’s around my neck and I am not ready to take them off. But I do realize that My Love and I aren’t married anymore and I don’t want to go on perpetually feeling married with an absent spouse if that makes sense. Someday, the rings might come off, and they will go in a special box to save for one or another of our children should they want them. I hope that whenever that day comes, I will not be judged as it being “too soon” or “rather too long” but will be respected that it was the right time for me.
~ The Reluctant Widow