Since I have been writing I have connected with a large community of widows and widowers. What I have noticed and learned about it is that we are a new generation of widows. We are not the picture you think of when you think of the word widow. We are no longer the little old lady or man dressed in black walking around broken and alone. We don’t hide out and depend on others for everything because we are broken in two.
The new generation has a passion for life. We have been broken but we will not remain that way. We are empowered. We have a voice and we want to be heard. We no longer want to hide away and suffer the rest of our lives. We want to find a way out of the darkness and live again. Sometimes it may take a while for this to happen and sometimes we slip in and out of the darkness, but the difference is that we want to find a way out.
Thanks to social media and the internet we can find a place where we can see that we are not alone. There are others just like us and what we are going through is normal and okay. We can lean on each other, whether it is through a simple email or reading someones blog about their experiences. When we connect with each other we take another step out of the darkness. I am thankful for this.
I don’t think the widows of the past had this. They had no way to find one another. They were alone in their suffering and others looked on them as broken and were either forgotten or pitied. I don’t want to be either. I want to be a part of the world again. I want to burn the fire that still lives inside me for all to see.
We need to continue to listen to each other and share with each other without judgment. We all have our story and our own road to healing. There is no one right way. Just what is the right for you.
Another difference is that it seems to be us widows are getting younger and younger. There is a large group of us out there that are under the age of 50 and have lost our spouse. We still have a lot of life left to live. It isn’t the life we had planned on, but there is still life out there. This new generation of widows now have to grieve for their loss, find their new life and start to live again. It isn’t the same group of widows who were married for 50 years and will spend the rest of their lives alone. Not they all do either. Not that they don’t feel the same pain. It’s just different.
I have found that being a young widow has its challenges.
- the challenge of having to continue to raise young children.
- figuring out where we fit in this world of couples as a young single person.
- trying to navigate the financial world on your own and plan for the unknown future
- finding people to connect with that understand
- navigating family situations both nuclear and in-laws
- not having a partner to lean on
- and so much more…
I never imagined I would be a 40-year-old widow. I never thought it was even in the realm of possibility. But here I am and here you are. We are widowed. We are young. We have a life left to live. I have to believe we are still here for a reason and there is still more for us to do.
So to this new generation of widows I say we stand tall and stand together. We are strong in who we are and what we want in life. We can make decisions for ourselves based on what we want and what we need. We can have the life we deserve without others judgment or disapproval. We do not have to suffer in silence or dress all in black…though I do enjoy wearing black. We can go out with friends. We can laugh out loud. We can have a good time. And in time we can find happiness again…