Widow – the word’s root origin is “to be empty” [wide we: Old English] “to be destitute” [vide: Sanskrit], and “unable to speak” [alem: Hebrew].
So how does a grieving woman, whose husband has died possibly begin to heal and regain her sense of power and purpose when the very term society uses to describe her is so grim?
I arrived home on a Friday evening to find that David had simply slipped away from me, from his children from a life we’d worked so hard to create, to overcome – to build together. I had spoken with him minutes before pulling into the complex and nothing would have indicated that it would be the very last time I would ever hear his voice. The enormity of the situation didn’t resonate until the following morning – the early morning hours of that Saturday … I didn’t have a Mother to call after a long 10 year battle with cancer she died the previous year, I was still grieving the loss of her life in mine. I didn’t cry, I think I was afraid to. I felt so shattered my chest literally ached as I dialed the phone looking for an anchor to this world’s reality!
… the voice on the other end still groggy from sleep simply said, “hey good morning how are you?”
Widowhood unfortunately does not arrive with an instruction booklet, there are no rules – no guidelines. It intrudes abruptly into your life no matter what the circumstances, death is loss and you lose your sense of direction immediately. It sends everyone it touches into a sort of emotional vertigo. It upends everything that once was familiar and destroys the life that you once knew. So I had no answer [for my sister] to that simple question my only response was tears I was cleansing my soul pushing the sorrow out of my heart wanting to be anyone else and be anywhere but who I was and where I found my life at the very moment.
I couldn’t imagine the Sun rising on that morning how in the world could another day usher itself into mine, without David in it. But it did and the hours, days and weeks that followed were confusing, frustrating and lonely. I cried in private stealing moments for myself away from the crowd, the family that gathered every day. I could only think to get back to what I knew as normal before his death.“There is a point when grief exceeds the human capacity to emote and as a result one is strangely composed” – Abraham Verghese.