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To All The Widows, I See You

To The Young Widow, I see you.

Maybe you had your whole lives ahead of you and now everything has changed. Maybe nobody can believe you became a widow at such a young age. Maybe you have a young child at home who still requires a lot of attention from you. Sometimes more than you think you can give. Maybe it feels impossible to take care of yourself, or process your grief, while also taking care of another, smaller grieving person. Maybe it feels like you have to put yourself last. Maybe you feel like you have to put on a brave face. Maybe you think you can only cry late at night, in the dark, the only time you're ever alone. Maybe all of your friends have husbands and young kids and you don't feel like you fit in anywhere. You feel so different. So alone. Maybe it kills you to be around these families, a constant reminder of what you no longer have. Maybe this is your first loss and you have nothing to compare it to. Nobody told you it could be this hard. Maybe there is still time to live a full life and fall in love again but you don't even know where to begin. Maybe you could reinvent yourself and start all over again but you don't even know who you want to become.

To The Heartbroken Widow, I see you.

Maybe your husband was the love of your life and you can't imagine a future without him. Maybe he was The One. The one you laughed with. The one who held all your secrets. The one who knew the real you. Maybe he was the one that loved you, despite all of your brokenness. He made you feel safe and beautiful and needed. He was the one you shared inside jokes with and drank wine with on the couch late at night. Maybe he was your best friend, the one you texted a hundred times a day for every little thing. Maybe you never saw this coming. Maybe it was a complete shock and you feel robbed. He was stolen from this life and from everybody in it. Maybe it crushes you to see your son growing up without his dad. Maybe he was your person. Maybe you don't believe you will have that with anyone ever again. Maybe he was the only one you ever trusted and now he's gone.

To The Suicide Survivor Widow, I see you.

Maybe you feel there was more you could have done. Something you could have said. Maybe you tell yourself you could have saved him. Maybe you think it's your fault. That because of what you didn't do, he chose to leave this life. That you weren't enough to keep him here. Maybe you think you, of all people, should have know he needed help. You think you failed him. You should have known what to do. Maybe you forget you aren't qualified to save lives. Maybe you keep playing the events leading up to his death over and over again in your mind. You tell yourself what you should have done. You see it so clearly now. But you didn't know then. Maybe you fear you are part of the stigma. That you aren't comfortable even saying the word. Maybe you have had to learn so much about mental illness to understand that he wasn't selfish. That he only wanted the pain to end. That not matter what, it couldn't have been your fault.

To The Guilty Widow, I see you.

Maybe you think you shouldn't have any joy in your life now that he is gone. Maybe it seems too early for friends or laughter or any sense of peace you may feel. Maybe you think you should turn down invitations. Say no to parties. Stay home on Mom's Night Out. Maybe it seems that if you start functioning again, you might forget about him. That people might judge you. That it will seem like you don't love him anymore. Maybe you think that if you got a sitter to go out and have fun, you would be selfish. Maybe you worry if you aren't wearing black and crying every day, people might think you've moved on. Maybe you see gifts in your life now that he's gone but you don't feel you can say that out loud to anyone. Maybe you make up excuses to avoid dating again. You tell everyone you're not interested. That you're focusing on yourself right now. Maybe you're just afraid to let go.

To The Relieved Widow, I see you.

Maybe part of you can breathe now that it's over. Maybe he was suffering. Maybe there was a period of time where everything felt like it was crashing down around you and you didn't know how to make it stop. Maybe you watched him turn into someone other than himself. Maybe he was in so much pain. Maybe there was nothing you could do to help him get better and you felt helpless. Maybe you didn't know why everything was going wrong but you know now that he isn't hurting anymore. Maybe in some ways your life is easier now, even though you feel like a monster thinking a thought like that. Maybe you know he isn't struggling anymore. Maybe you know that now he is free.

To The Imposter Widow, I see you.

Maybe your relationship wasn't perfect. Maybe you were separated, living apart, trying to sort it all out. Maybe it was messy. Maybe you were hurt and confused and didn't know where you stood anymore. Maybe you were considering filing for divorce. Maybe you feel like you weren't really his wife anymore and it isn't your place to feel this much pain. Maybe you feel like a fake. Maybe you feel like people are judging you, even though you know how much he loved you. Maybe you found out secrets about him that turned your grief upside down. Maybe you feel betrayed and disappointed and abandoned when you should be feeling sad, lonely and lost without him. Maybe your grief doesn't look exactly like everyone else's.

To The Stuck Widow, I see you.

Maybe you feel like you can't move on. Like you can't gain any ground. That you should be further along than you are. Maybe you can't imagine ever being okay again. Maybe you judge yourself for still crying over him and wonder when that will stop. Maybe you are marking off the days on your calendar, criticizing yourself for still grieving him. Maybe you're afraid to find happiness again. Maybe you feel like you shouldn't even try. Maybe you aren't even sure what brings you joy or how to spend your time. Maybe it feels like this is your life now. Like this is all there is. Like you will never get your energy back. Like your motivation is gone forever. Maybe you feel like you will never find your passion or any meaning in your life. Maybe you are afraid to dream again. Maybe it feels safe to just play it small. Maybe you feel like you will always be as paralyzed as you are right now.

To The Anxious Widow, I see you.

Maybe your husband's death turned your everyday mom anxiety into outright panic. Maybe you worry about making big decisions. Maybe you worry about how to spend money. Maybe you worry about being solely responsible for another small human being. Maybe you worry that something will happen to you, leaving your child an orphan. Maybe you constantly feel sensations in your body that you are convinced will cause you to die. Maybe you are mostly just overwhelmed. Maybe you don't know how to feel your feelings because it turns out you've never allowed them before. Maybe you worry about all the things all the time and the weight of his passing feels like just too much.

To The Resentful Widow, I see you.

Maybe this feels unfair. Like this shouldn't have happened to you. Maybe you blame him for leaving you to manage everything on your own. Maybe you feel like you're being punished. Maybe you feel like nobody understands and that you are completely on your own. You are the only one who has ever felt this way. You are alone. Maybe you wonder where all the people are that offered to help you in the beginning. Maybe you feel like nobody cares. Maybe you feel like they don't understand. Maybe you despise seeing posts of everyone's happiness while you are just trying to survive. Maybe you have all the ingredients for living your best life but just can't figure out how to get there. Maybe you feel bitter about all the obligations and expectations the world has for you. Maybe you hate being asked how you are.

To The Healing Widow, I see you.

Maybe you are doing the work and growing as a person and are so much further than before. Maybe you don't panic as much or have to hide as often as you used to. Maybe you can be around people again. Maybe you don't wake up and instantly feel like you're living in a nightmare. Maybe you have more good days than breakdowns. Maybe you can smile when you talk about him instead of falling apart. Maybe you give yourself grace. Maybe you have more compassion for what you have been through instead of beating yourself up for being human. Maybe you have less triggers and can feel more calm than you did before. Maybe you can laugh again. Maybe you see a light at the end of the tunnel, knowing that one day you will be on the other side. Maybe you can see a glimmer of hope.

To The Post Traumatic Growth Widow, I see you.

Maybe you have found a way to use your grief for good. Maybe telling your story is healing to you. Maybe you see that sharing your journey lets other widows know they aren't alone. Maybe you can let people know that we are more alike than we think. Maybe you are willing to be brave in order to show at least one other person that you feel the same way they do. Maybe you can show people that we are all in this together. Maybe your experience has given you a new perspective. Maybe you are starting to really love yourself for the first time. Maybe you are finding the things that light you up. Maybe you have discovered your purpose. Maybe you can use your voice to advocate for self care and mental wellness and sharing your truth. Maybe you can bring people closer together. Maybe you can help them feel less different. Maybe they can feel more whole.

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