Have you ever heard of National Widows Day? Yeah, me, neither. But this year it’s on Wednesday, May 3rd, for the record.
It’s a fairly new event that evolved from a concept known as Widow’s Wednesday. This was started as essentially a way for people to remember the widows (and widowers) in their lives by helping out with things that might need to be done.
Although it appears that it was initially intended as one day a week in which to help with the tasks and repairs that may have become overwhelming, especially for older widow/ers, due to financial lack, physical impairment, or even entrusting a stranger into one’s home (think repairs or renovations, as well as household chores), it morphed into simply a way to acknowledge and perhaps comfort those who might be alone due to the loss of a loved one.
It doesn’t take much to reach out to someone and just say “hey, I’m thinking of you today”. Most people I speak to tell me often that they’re thinking of me (and it’s greatly appreciated), but there are so many others out there who could use a word of encouragement, especially if they’ve been widowed for a long time. Those are the individuals who seem to be forgotten most often, and quite possibly the ones who might need a pick-me-up the most.
It’s really easy to get caught up in one’s own life and, as well-intentioned as we all are (and yes, I’m including myself in this), we often lose touch with people who need us, or simply don’t let people know that they are on our minds, as often as they are on our minds. I’m completely guilty of thinking of people all the time who might be struggling for one reason or another but not letting them know it.
Since my husband’s passing, I’ve definitely tried to be more conscious of those who might feel left out. I’ll be honest, I rarely thought of it before. As someone who is now “unwillingly uncoupled” – and if Gwyneth Paltrow can make up her own terms, so can I – I am more aware than I ever was before of people like me.
It takes a concerted effort on my part to not be jealous when someone is celebrating a wedding anniversary or even just a Friday night date. (I’m not very good at it most of the time – I get a short visit from the green-eyed monster more often than I care to admit – but I am aware of it and poke him back in his cage before he runs amok. )
Regardless of the hows and whys of the uncoupling (because, honestly, does it matter if it was a conscious choice related to divorce or career, etc., or a decision taken from one’s hands such as my husband’s death?), the results are still the same – navigating life without a co-captain.
Bottom line? It basically sucks, and every day there are reminders of how we are on our own. So, while tomorrow is National Widow’s Day and you should definitely check in on a widow/er you know, remember to be kind and understanding whenever you see one of us third wheels hanging around, regardless of why we’re in the situation. Remember that most of the time we’re doing it out of necessity, not out of any real desire.
But simply knowing someone cares goes a long way.
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