I’m the widow.

I’m the one who is compelled to write this at 4am,
after choking on my tears.

I’m the one who fell in love with him when I was 14.

I’m the one who fought with my parents over seeing him.

I’m the one who went to football games, baseball games,
softball games, basketball games, and track meets.

I’m the one he took to prom.

I’m the one who bought a house with him when I was 18,
taking a huge financial risk,
by handing over most of the money I had.

I’m the one who married him when I was 19.

I’m the one who took him to be the husband of my days,
the father of my children,
the companion of my house.

I’m the one who cashed in $600 worth of quarters,
when he had knee surgery 5 months after we got married,
and he was off work for 2 months.

I’m the one who struggled financially with him,
often not asking for money because we were too proud.

I’m the one who stood by his side when his drinking got out of control,
and when he completely gave up drinking to save our marriage.

I’m the one who threw a cigarette that I found in the washer at him,
after he swore he wasn’t smoking.

I’m the one who put up with all of his bullshit,
just like he put up with all of mine.

I’m the one who tried for 2 years to conceive,
almost miscarried at 9 weeks,
dealt with high blood pressure and gestational diabetes,
and finally gave birth to a beautiful baby girl,
who wouldn’t stop screaming for the first 2 months of her life.

I’m the one who called him Teddy Bear.

I’m the one who he called Snuggle Bunny.

I’m the one who was called Mrs. Schmedley.

I’m the one who dealt with leaky roofs,
and broken down trucks.

I’m the one who was there when he was laid off.

I’m the one who was there when his hours were cut to the point that the repo man showed up, and we received a foreclosure notice on our house.

I’m the one who was there for him through thick and thin.

I’m the one who was married to him for 20 years, 4 months, and 2 weeks,
before death did us part.

I’m the one who called 911 that night.

I’m the one who felt helpless talking to the 911 operator.

I’m the one who got an almost 300 pound man onto the floor.

I’m the one who heard “Are you f**king kidding me?”,
when I said that he was in the loft.

I’m the one who called you, while EMS worked on him.

I’m the one who had to tell a 10-year-old girl that her dad died.

I’m the one who has been without her husband for 3 years, 5 months, and 3 days.

I’m the one who no longer hears a fan and a CPAP machine at night.

I’m the one who sent her last Facebook message to him 1 month and 10 days before he died.

I’m the one who fought with him right before he died.

I’m the one who sometimes still feels guilty for that.

I’m the one who has his ashes in an urn on her mantel.

I’m the widow.

Denise became a widow suddenly at the age of 39, when her husband died of a massive heart attack. She currently lives with her daughter, a foreign exchange student, and a few pets. She loves to travel, read, and attend women’s retreats. Her goal in life is to help other widows.