My best friend, Karen, organized a gathering, for friends who were widows, and the two of us were the seniors in length of time of our loss.
For some, it has only been a few months, for others years.
All told, their stories were short and abbreviated.
This week Karen gave me a shirt with these words.
" I am not a widow
I am the wife of a guardian angel."
The group has met several times having so much in common no matter how much time had passed. A few months/ a few years not a whole lot of difference.
As each person shared a brief recap, the rest of us listened to their words.
Is one person's widowhood worse?
Not at all!
Whether a longtime illness or a quick unexpected death. Each tragic recount and each story was spellbinding. There was a little comparison, but a great deal of compassion.
Thought we would breeze through the evening just helping everyone else.
It was five years for me. Plenty of time to "get over it.'
That is not how it happened.
The memories of the end were once again so vivid. We were all in this same club and none of us by choice.
Each participant shared different emotions. Some expressed bitterness, anger, a total feeling of emptiness.
Even with family around, some were feeling completely alone. A few avoided going home to the unbearable emptiness.
And others felt real comfort in being in the home shared with their loved one.
Some felt gratitude for what we had and not what we lost. In the beginning, we all had difficulty just getting through an individual the day.
Some families came together, giving great support. Others pulled apart, feeling yet another loss losing the inlaw/friends part of the family.
Someone talked about the We's and The Me's. Those that are still couples, with each sentence starting with "WE."
Lost partners, lovers, husbands, best friends, handsome guys, generous men, our rocks, our financial advisors, check writers, and even our trash removal partners.
Some were older, some had a long time illness, some were younger, and some were sudden and unexpected.
Some were together at the time of death, and others were not. For some, the chance to say goodbye was not an option.
It was a profound LOSS that we all shared.
Thankful for my guardian angel.