“There are 700,000 new widows a year
In America – and that’s a pre pandemic number!”
The W Word. The club we never ever asked to join. The loss of the future we planned. Starting over. Finding our new (widowed) self.
Being a widow is absolutely devastating. That doesn’t even begin to describe it, though. There simply aren’t words. Even with all of my education and experience dealing with loss and grief and trauma, I was completely unprepared.
Widows aren’t talked about enough. So I am going to make some much needed noise about life as a widow. Here are three devastating facts about widowhood most people don’t know about let alone understand.
Widows are one of the fastest growing demographics in the world but one of the least discussed. I can’t tell you how many forms I complete that offer choices of single, married, or divorced. Widows are invisible.
Even something as simple as Valentine’s Day Cards for my fellow “clubmembers” don’t exist. Granted, everyone loves a handmade card, but that’s not the point. Widows are invisible.
In so many ways!
The aftermath of losing someone you love ricochets into many areas of your life – many more than most people realize. Here are a few ways your friendship circle is affected after you become a widow:
This becomes apparent during the 2nd year of healing. People “tolerate” the first year, but unspokenly agree that anything beyond that is just too much.
There are people you just assume will be there and they’re not.
There are people who leave or stop calling because you’re not doing the things you used to do. It’s painful. It’s confusing.
But on a positive note – it ultimately gives you space to make room for the amazing people who will enter your life.
Next time you have an event, I want you to think about who you are inviting, what you’re calling it, and whether you might be unintentionally excluding people. Being a widow can feel like you don’t fit into any group, but we’re still struggling and we still need our people.
Widows are put into a club they don’t want to be in for the rest of their lives. 60 percent of widows experience serious health issues in that first year and the number that deal with a clinical type of depression is staggering. And again, none of this is discussed or acknowledged in the world.
If you have someone in your life who has lost someone, understand that they still need you. Even after that first year has passed. Even if they look OK and are functioning well. From the moment they open their eyes in the morning to the moment they go to sleep at night, there is a struggle that you don’t see.
My hope in writing this blog is to spread awareness on life as a widow and make the world more understanding of a fast increasing demographic that often feels invisible. Tune in to episode 86 of The Be Ruthless Show to hear more of my thoughts on this extremely important topic.
Hopefully this blog has deeperned your understanding for the people in your life who have lost someone. If you know someone who will benefit from reading this blog, please share it. By making noise and breaking stigmas we can make the world a better place.