I don’t know how it happened. I’ve connected with a young widow newer on this journey than I.
My dear wister (widow sister), I hate you’ve joined my ranks. Widowhood. The first time they said it to my face I fell apart.
Surely you can’t attach that label to me. There’s been a mistake.
You see, the love of my life was snatched from me four months ago. He left our home that random Saturday evening to run a simple errand. He never returned. The yellow emergency tape. The ambulance lights. The moments spent in the back of that police cruiser waiting to understand what was unfolding before me. Within minutes, my world changed, and now yours has, as well.
He was once the reason behind my smile. I couldn’t hide it. His presence fueled my joy; now his absence is the reason behind its antithesis.
It seems like yesterday when I heard that laugh and woke up to that beautiful face. However, the weeks spent bawling once no one is around to hear my screams prove otherwise. I now practice hiding the despair before getting out of my car.
My dear wister, you’ll force yourself to stop replaying those minutes when you found out. You’ll then find yourself wrapping yourself in his shirts while pretending those are his arms around you. Minutes later, my Lola feels the pain and licks the tears off my hands. Somehow I know she knows.
We’re in this together, mommy, my little fur baby’s eyes say as she lays her head in my lap. Besides, mommy doesn’t run as fast as daddy. Where is he?
I still don’t understand how. I feel I never will. I miss him. I’ll forever long to see him grow old and play with our children. I’ll always yearn to see him fulfill his dream of scaring the young men away from trying to date our future daughter or watching him push his muscular physique to win a game of basketball with our future son. I wish I had the chance to tell him to let the babies win. I just knew I’d have the chance to see his hair turn gray and hold his hand while rocking outside of our country home. Now he has a front row seat to the changing of my seasons; my hair has already grayed and my eyes house nothing but pain. My heart and body feel as if they’ve aged decades in just weeks. Time has flown by while simultaneously standing still.
This new world ― I don’t understand it. I don’t want to. Wister, you won’t either. It’ll be difficult to explain to the store clerk why the mention of his name on your rewards card will send tears down your cheek. It’ll be embarrassingly impossible to share why simple small talk in the line at the bank from those whose glances at your wedding ring will send you running to your car to weep hidden away from confused eyes.
They won’t understand why a grown, independent woman with a graduate degree can end up a pile of mush in the driver’s seat of their car.
It’ll be embarrassingly impossible to share why simple small talk in the line at the bank from those whose glances at your wedding ring will send you running to your car to weep
And the forms... Married or single? Duplicate this document. Copy this card. Prove you’re you and he’s him and send it all to four different locations. Single or married? Next explain it to the operator and then again to a customer service representative. Check one. Sign here. Pick one. Did I ask whether you were married? And do it all while fighting back tears as you share the details of why you can barely remember to breathe. Sadly, he won’t be there when you need him the most. He won’t be able to hold you when it all overwhelms your senses. The husband to your wifey, the calm to your storm, the beat in your heart – he’s gone. You’ll need to hear his voice to remind you to calm down, and while it’s not what you’re accustomed to, know that somehow you will.
You’ll get through it.
It’s real, y’all.
Your existence will begin to feel like a riddle. When is a single woman really married? When she’s a widow.
The calls will eventually slow. The cards will stop. Their lives will return to normal. You always knew they would. While your friends and extended family love you, this isn’t their fight to bear constantly.
Part of it will be comforting. The thought of not having your grief be the center of their attention 24-7.
Part of it will also sting. The social media spouse challenges, the anniversaries and the tongue and cheek hashtags about relationships.
I’ve learned to sign off and check out.
While their social calendars pick up, you’ll fight to get out of bed to take a shower. You’ll push yourself to sit outside. You’ll pray for the strength to go to your first outing to celebrate someone or something.
He won’t be there to ask you to wear that dress. He won’t be there to open your car door as you do a cupcake run before your favorite show comes on. He won’t be there when you leave the house alone and feel as exposed as a raw nerve to the memories that live all around you as you drive through the city where your love bloomed. He’s not here ― at least not in the way you really want right now.
He won’t be there when you leave the house alone and feel as exposed as a raw nerve to the memories that live all around you as you drive through the city where your love bloomed.
It’s difficult to explain why the mention of your friend’s fight with her spouse feels like a dagger piercing your heart. You’d give anything to hear him ask where you got those new shoes and whether you really needed them or when you fought to figure out whose turn it was to take out the dog.
You’d give your life to be wrong when you begged him to not walk to the store that night.
I’ll be fine, babe.
My dear wister, I wish another didn’t have to experience this heartbreak. Those thousands of tiny cuts felt throughout your most vital organ. The hopeless feeling of your healing lying within the hands of the one too far away to help.
Yes, another has joined the club. Yet there’s no celebration― just tears and collective sighs. Another has joined the club.
I’m so sorry my dear wister. You’re not alone even though the loneliness will suffocate your days and nights at times. Even though you feel even though you desperately pray for the opposite.
I understand, and I’m here. We all are. And trust me, we’d give anything to turn in our club cards, as well.
Kimberly Holmes Wiggins is a television journalist who is rediscovering life after the losing the love of hers.
Her husband, Rasheed Wiggins, was killed in a hit and run incident in Orlando on April 16, 2016. Investigators are still searching for two of the three drivers responsible. If you have any information, a $10,000 reward is being offered for information leading to the arrests of those involved. You’re urged to contact Central Florida Crimeline.
Follow Kimberly on Twitter: @KimHWiggins
This post is part of Common Grief, a Healthy Living editorial initiative. Grief is an inevitable part of life, but that doesn’t make navigating it any easier. The deep sorrow that accompanies the death of a loved one, the end of a marriage or even moving far away from home, is real. But while grief is universal, we all grievedifferently. So we started Common Grief to help learn from each other. Let’s talk about living with loss. If you have a story you’d like to share, email us at strongertoget