Widower, or widow. Never liked that word, even before becoming one. It sounds so empty. Like a window minus an important part and without the view.

A dear friend told me I would experience joy again someday. While finding joy from memories of what we had and finding joy now in everyday things wherever possible, doubts persist on the larger future front.

Many have been down this path before, I’m not the first or the last. Somehow that doesn’t make me feel better. I’m not looking for a relationship or a girlfriend. If it happens, it happens. I really don’t know what I’m doing or where I’m going. Haven’t a clue. Being married happily for over thirty years is a rather singular path that mostly prepares you for continuing to be together for many more years. Not for being a widower, or widow. There’s that word again.

There are a multitude of other things to write about or think about, Lord knows I try. It eventually seems to lead back to this. Writing about reality is what works for me and even fiction is typically an altered form of reality. Only the names have been changed, the characters remain the same. But this is reality. For me, and many others.

Not an island or alone, many are there with me and for me. Family and friends are the best and really do care. So many have shown such kindness and still do. Not one to languish or be bitter, but rather stay busy and good feelings happen most when helping others in some way. That is probably the answer to a lot of things. Helping others in ways that would’t have happened otherwise.

Eternally grateful for what we had together, it is love. We were not perfect, nobody is, but we never gave up on each other. It is the love and experiences we had together that cause the simultaneous experience of joy and sorrow that we come to know as grief. If there was no love, there would be no grief. The opposite must then be true. Grief is the love we miss. Knowing we won’t make any new memories together we cling to the old memories and sometimes we cry. Grief itself may not be a good thing, but it means we had a good thing.

Widower. I think I will choose not to be defined by that word. I am choosing to be a guy who is used to living a full life and will continue to do so, even if it is in a different way. We can’t always choose the road we must travel on, but we can choose what attitude and spirit we will carry with us on the journey.

by Chris Nielsen ©2014

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