Tuesday, 14 October 2008

Learning to be a Widow.

It's a strange word, 'widow'.According to the Concise Oxford Dictionary, it may be defined as a woman who has lost her husband through death, and not married again. A widow's 'cruse' is a supply that looks small, but proves inexhaustible. A widow's 'peak' is a growth of hair in the middle of the forehead, while 'widow's champagne' is one of the most expensive and exclusive brands, (only not in this house, where it's cava on a good day).
A widower is much more straight-foward. That is a man who has lost his wife through death, and has not remarried. Nothing about inexhaustible supplies, or odd hair patterning or champagne. Just loss and death. No one, as far as I know, has written an operetta called The Merry Widower.

It is essential to learn how to be a widow, and the first time that one is introduced as such, or addressed in written form as such, it comes as something of a shock. People may not know how to treat you, and you certainly don't know how to treat yourself.
To 'lose' one's husband implies a great deal of carelessness. I did not 'lose' him. I did not put him down somewhere with the car keys and promptly forget where he was.
He died.
It's better to say so.

When you meet me, or someone in my situation, please remember, I am still me.
Please don't avoid me because you are embarrassed and don't know what to say.
Say hello. That will do nicely.


pohanginapete said...

Yay! You have a blog! Having been privileged to read your writing, I look forward to enjoying a regular read — no pressure, mind you ;^)

This post has that great mix of insight, humour, and education (e.g., I now know what a cruse is). Thank you :^)

Relatively Retiring said...

Thank you so much for your comments, pohanginapete. Yes, many people find 'cruise' and 'cruse' confusing, especially in relation to widows. I try to have lots of the latter and none of the former!

mm said...

Welcome to the blogsphere, RR. So glad you introduced yourself so I could visit.

I was once told that it was better to risk saying the wrong thing (which probably is often the cause of the silence) than to say nothing at all. Perhaps we reserved Brits are particularly prone to this kind of behaviour .....

Relatively Retiring said...

Thank you, MM. I think that is so very true, and totally understandable in a very British way! People are often afraid of creating more upset, or - heaven forbid - causing tears!