Written and submitted anonymously by a Widow Care member.
After my husband died, I found that most days have some level of "suck". It's hard to stay optimistic when the worst thing imaginable happens. Small misfortunes, like losing your parking ticket in the garage, forcing you to pay the full-days parking price when you were only parked for 30 minutes, can really throw-off your mood for the whole day. Yes, this actually happened to me today. My day=ruined.
Yes, I let these misfortunes ruin my day but I feel like I spend the majority of the time moping around even when nothing "goes wrong". The ultimate misfortune already happened in my life. I lost the person that I was supposed to be with forever. Now, I spent every waking minute dreading life, not because I'm depressed but because I'm angry that my husband had to die and now I'm alone.
I wake up every Monday morning and immediately think about how much I don't want to go to work. "I LOST MY HUSBAND, HOW DO YOU EXPECT ME TO WORK?" I scream in my head. What I really mean is "Feel bad for me, my life sucks, I'm self-pitying and I could care less".
I dread work because everyone else seems to self-pity themselves too, but for much smaller reasons. "They don't deserve to feel anger-- only I deserve to feel anger because I'm a freaking widow," I think to myself. I don't want to go to work because I don't want to feel the intense anger in my heart. Being so angry all the time is tiring, you know.
That sounds blunt, but there's no other way to put it. Like I said, I'm not depressed as much as I am resentful. I'm mad that everyone around me gets a normal life. I'm the only 39 year-old-widow that I know. Why was I dealt such a bad hand? I guess that the luck of the draw.
I also resent going out to dinner. I refuse to eat at restaurants alone even though I absolutely hate cooking and anything else that requires even a minimal amount of effort (See: pressing the "play" button on my remote to watch a Netflix movie). Why do I hate eating alone at restaurants, you ask? There's a stigma that eating alone is not socially acceptable, so it's incredibly uncomfortable. Whenever I've braved the dreaded restaurants in the past, I received pitiful glances and half-smiles from people who were probably thinking something along the lines of "Oh, this poor woman has no one to eat with. How sad."
I feel like I live in a world where everything is made for couples. Did you know that most vacations are more expensive for singles rather than couples? Oh, and car insurance premiums can rise if your spouse dies. I don't understand why all of these services are more expensive for one person rather than two. How does that make sense? Aren't the companies saving money by only providing service to one person? One person on a cruise ship eats less food than two...I mean, really, it's common sense people.
The world is not kind to us widows. Everything seems to serve to make me feel alone. Daily life can be pretty brutal, but Valentine's day...that really sucks. The whole second-half of January and beginning of February are filled with pink & red hearts, lovey-dovey commercials, romantic comedies & couples. Everywhere I turn, I can't avoid the romanticised traditions or the PDA. Bleh.
I'm never remarrying nor do I have any interest in dating, so all that's in store for my future Valentine's days are avoidance and seclusion. I plan on locking myself in my bedroom from February 1st until the 15th, and during that time I will:
Avoid shopping malls, drug stores & big-box stores. Thank you Amazon for letting me dwell at home and avoid the in-store valentines day decor.
Sip on wine and eat chocolate. Alone.
Sleep in until noon on the weekends.
Sneer at any couples that I see walking down the sidewalk on my way home.
Delete the social media apps from my phone, get bored, re-download them, see photos of couples and write a public rant on Facebook before deleting the apps again.
Watch suspense and horror movies. NO Rom-Coms for me, thank you very much.
This may seem extreme to some, but in reality, no one will ever understand how lonely I feel during the Valentine's day season. Everyone grieves differently, and I find myself running from my problems and hiding behind humour during these times. I don't want to open up, I just want to curl into a ball and disappear during this time. That's okay, though, because I'm grieving and processing my loss.
I want other widows to know that it's okay to hate Valentine's Day with all your heart (no pun intended) and you can celebrate, or not celebrate, however you want. There is no "right" way to process your grief so long as you're processing it in a healthy way. For me, I do what I think will make me happiest and I happen to love my alone time. Yes, I avoid things that make me upset, but that only makes me human.
Just remember, you're not alone and you don't need to feel like you are. Valentine's day does suck, but I hope you find solace in knowing that I agree. I hope you know that I probably understand how you're feeling, and I just want to remind you that this day is only temporary and the holiday will pass. Be strong ladies and gentleman. Happy Valentine's Day.
Written and submitted anonymously by a Widow Care member. If you would like to submit a posting, please email firstname.lastname@example.org with your entry. You may post anonymously or secure a public guest spot.