The Widow’s Smile
T’s amazing what a widow’s smile can hide. I know this to be true because I am a new widow.
My body dragged and my mind spun memories of our 30 years together. Where do I find the courage to move on? The words, would’ a, could’ a, should’ a, creep into my mind daily.
Maybe, I didn’t do this right or I should have been a better at…. Or, what did we do to deserve this? Was this my punishment for not loving him enough?
I am no longer a wife now except in my memory. I am not nothing. I am still a woman, a writer, and an artist. It took a couple of months before I decided it was good for me to consciously decide which parts of our old life and relationship should be retained and which must be relinquished. I kept his tee-shirts to wear on my extra sad days. I positioned his glasses inside the cellophane wrapped around my bedside lamp, so I can reach out and touch his essence when I need to. I gathered some of his tools and made a piece of art in homage to his manhood.
My first real change was to bring my desk and computer into the front room. This was my workspace now instead of his man cave where he directed the traffic of our home between television shows. I took some pleasure in arranging my home the way I always wanted. With every change I make, there is guilt.
It is in my belief that everything happens for a reason.
Intellectually, I’ve accepted his passing, but my heart is too numb to fully turn the page on us, so I still talk to him. I guess you could say, I’m looking for a new normal, but what is normal? God has given me the passion to reach out to others in my writing and art. This is normal for me. And, after six months weeping and arguing with God, I began to feel like I must wake up the woman, writer, and art therapist in me, who has been waiting patiently to evolve.
I think about how my four children will remember me when it is my time. I want to be remembered as a constant light in their world, protecting them from the shadows that stalk us. I reject the widowhood effect that warns of a common probability of widows dying a relatively short time after their husband’s passing.
But, I can also understand it, as I too, fought the notion that without my husband, I was no longer a valuable or loved commodity and I couldn’t go on. It took me almost a year to find the tools to move forward. I still have many things to do even though I’ve taken a brief hiatus from my writing. W. C. Fields, the comedian says, “ Death where is thy sting?” Thy sting, I believe, is in the widow’s smile.