Paperwork is a part of life. It’s crazy to think how our life can try to be summed up by a bunch of check boxes at times. As I fill in summer school applications for the kids I notice one that is almost jumping out at me on the page. It asks for parent’s marital status. As I click on the options I see one that says “Birth father deceased.” A tear starts to form in my eye and once I click that box the next screen showed my marital status as widow.
Who came up with that word? Never in my wildest thoughts would I have ever thought of myself as a widow. I always envisioned widows to wear black for a long period of mourning and staying to themselves because life is too hard to go on without their spouse. That is, until I became one. My previous thought of what a widow looked like was definitely not me. I do wear a lot of black, not full outfits worth, but enough for a slimming effect. I would love to stay to myself and bury myself with the thought that life IS hard without Mark and at times I don’t think I can go on. The reality is, there is no time for those thoughts. Life goes on and the world doesn’t stop turning so I have to keep moving too.
Then I filled out another form and my only options were married or single. As much as I’d like to check married, in the eyes of the government, I am not. The reality of being single again hit me. I got mad for the first time that widow wasn’t an option on that paperwork. I felt that checking off that single box disregarded the whole 17 years I spent with Mark, 14 as his wife. As if those years no longer existed if it wasn’t for the proof of my last name. Then it hit me. Another milestone in this journey.
I am learning to embrace the words I did not want to hear after Mark died. I find power in those words and have gotten rid of all stereotypes of what those words used to mean to me. Yes, I am that “W” word, I am a widow. I had the honor and privilege of being married to an amazing man up until he left our world. There were no bad thoughts between us, no negativity, no regrets. Just love, and an abundance of it at that. So next time I hear someone refer to me as a widow, my first instinct will not be one of wanting to punch them in the face. A new realization of all that widow word means will come to the forefront. The thoughts will be of taking that moment to reflect on the loss of a life that was beautiful, a life filled with wonderful memories and lots of laughter. A life that was lived. So yes, I am a widow.