Widowhood… Event or Identity?

So did you play the “widow card?”

The question caught me off guard.  I was speaking with a widower friend of mine and we were discussing a difficult situation I was dealing with that was complicated by my husband’s death.

Complicated by-not caused by.

I think there is a difference.

As widowed people, we occupy a “special place” in our world.  The outside world can, and often does, reach out to help us when they learn of our loss.  I have been blessed with the kindness of friend and strangers on my widowed journey, without which it would have been immeasurably harder and more lonely.  The right kind of people will go above and beyond for us when we tell them of our loss.  Sometimes letting know people we are widowed causes them to treat us more kindly and it is okay.   Often, I see people rise to their best selves to help us.  In the early days, in that first year and into the second, to “play the widowed card” when we are weakest to help us cope with the rigors of the journey.  Some do, some don’t and this is a “no shame, no blame” zone for those of you that do it.


As I have said in previous blog posts, we widowed have a role in our own transformation.  We may be on this journey unwillingly, we may be grief-stricken, but there comes a point in our widowed journey that we must, lovingly, allow ourselves to make the turn…the one that steps away from assuming the identity of “widow” or “widower” and treats it as a major milestone that irrevocably changed the course of our lives…and we have to chart a new one.

In order to fully integrate our loss, I firmly believe we have to craft that new life, to transition to our best selves over time.  It is not immediate-the only way out is “though” our grief, to face and experience the loss fully.  Terrible as our journey is, horrific as our loss is, grief has gifts and one of them is the ability to transform our lives as part of the process.

That is what this site is all about.

Hugs and Love,


The Widow Coach

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