As a widowed person, I sometimes feel as if I’m been convicted of something.
Perhaps I did something wrong, and I just don’t remember.
Being widowed is sort of like having to plead your case,
take the Fifth,
to a Jury of your “peers”,
over and over and over
For some reason,
when you become widowed,
people seem to think
that this gives them the right
to give any and all opinions
on your life.
How you should feel.
What you should do.
How you should grieve.
When you should date.
Or not date.
When you should “get rid of” his things.
Take off your wedding ring.
Get over it.
“It’s been 3 months. Why aren’t you dating anyone?”
“It’s been 6 years, and you’re in LOVE after only knowing someone for a few months? That seems VERY FAST!”
You know what?
You don’t have a clue.
I have every right to be.
I’m sick and tired of being judged.
Of feeling like people think I’ve lost my common sense,
and not my husband.
Of feeling like everyone is silently, or VERY LOUDLY, judging and picking apart
everything I do.
Or don’t do.
I’m tired of it.
I’m not on trial here.
I haven’t committed a crime.
I love two men.
One of them is still dead, forever.
It took me SIX YEARS to get here.
To be able to love again.
Love after loss is messy.
When you have lost everything –
Your partner, your world, your future, your present, your sense of life having meaning,
THE LIFE YOU KNEW,
When it all disappears,
Before you have even woken up that morning,
You are changed,
HOW you are changed,
Up to you.
I have changed.
I am more emotional.
I am more sensitive to things.
I am more compassionate.
I love deeper.
My relationship with my late husband,
Was a slow build.
A deep friendship that turned into more,
My new love
Is a volcano.
It erupted and sparked and turned me inside out,
and love didn’t just WALK in,
It tumbled down a lava-filled mountain,
Screaming and cheering and carrying on.
Every single day I wake up and think,
“What if he dies today?
What if we don’t even get our first Christmas together?
What if we don’t have our first New Years Eve?
What if I wake up one day, and it’s just gone,
All over again?”
Panic and terror and anxiety are a part of me now.
They just are.
That’s what happens when you wake up one morning,
And your husband is already dead.
That never leaves you.
So I can close off my heart to love,
Because I don’t want the panic.
I can’t go through that never-ending pain of losing them,
I can love profoundly,
With the knowledge
Seeped into my brain
That this may end tomorrow.
That tomorrow may not be a thing for us.
I have chosen Love.
I will live with the fear, so I can have the love.
I will love my dead husband,
As I love this beautiful new person.
I will collect all the love,
And hold it
Like a precious jewel,
Never letting go.
Just adding more,
And if you,
And your Jury of peers,
Most of whom have NOT been through this,
And who have NOT A CLUE what this life is,
Want to judge me
And convict me
My dead husband
Loving and honoring my life,
And my new love,
If you want to convict me of that crime,
As you go back home and slide into bed
Next to your husband,
Who is very much alive,
Go For it.
When it comes to Love,
I plead Guilty.
Every single time.
Kelley Lynn is an author, actor, comedian, TED talk speaker, and widow. She lives in Massachusetts, and is trying to change the world.