Monday, May 23, 2011


Today on my facebook page I changed my status from "married" to "widowed". We all know what it means but how does this label translate?

In an earlier blog I wrote how a young man asked if I was married and I said "no, I'm a widow" and he crumpled and apologized. OK, that's one reaction. What are other reactions to it? And at what point does one become no longer a "widow" but "single"? Is a widow single or is he/she just not married? Since the not being married wasn't by choice they aren't really single?

It took me a year to change this status on my facebook page, though I don't know why. A hard thing to accept? Well, yes of course. Maybe I just don't like labels. Never have. It took me a long time to refer to Jim as my husband after we were legally married. We had lived together for five years before asking my dad to marry us and putting on the rings to make the visual statement. During those five years he was not my husband so there was no label for him. I don't remember if Jim struggled with calling me his wife or not. I always preferred being called Mary anyway.

So I am very curious what is the first reaction to "widow", what is the visceral response when someone says "I'm widowed"? Is it to always apologize? It's hard for me to get objective on it these days since I'm a bit close to the label. So I'm actually putting this question out there.

Loving you all back,


  1. Just like attaching the word "disabled" or "cancer" to a person, "widow" is a word describing their current situation in life. Being introduced to such a person is naturally awkward for both parties. The "meeter" of course knows they can't say or do anything to make it better & is further stymied by the fact that they likely don't have any of those labels. The "meetee" has to deal with the double whammy of being forced to declare their situation out loud and then has the burden of saying something to ease the meeter's discomfort. I think any caring person's reaction is to say they're sorry, if the widow is less than 80 years old. What else is there to say?

    I can't think of any solution to the awkwardness, other than not using ANY labels. Sadly, I don't think that will happen.

  2. Dear Anonymous - this is fabulous. I agree with all that you've said. Thank you for sharing.