The Widow Board

by | Jun 7, 2011 | 3 comments

I’m not sure what this means.  

When you first died, I was googling around about widow stuff and found this young widow board.   I clicked on the section entitled “newly widowed” o to 6 months and read all of the different threads with titles like, “is this normal?”  “dreams…”  “has anyone been to a psychic?”  “i hate my inlaws”  stuff like that.  

Last night I found myself back at that board- not ever making a conscious decision to revisit it.  I click on “6-12 months” entitled “Shock wears off, reality sets in.”  Soon I’ll be in one year plus “Beyond the first year.”  

Well, it kind of scares me that in the early days I found these people depressing and even wrote little messages encouraging some of them, “This isn’t what your husband would’ve wanted for you.”  

And now I find them insightful and funny.  Like the guy who has a tagline that says “about grieved out, living, and wanting to love again.”  The “about grieved out” is what made me chuckle and still does.  There is just so much of this grief.  It’s ridiculous really.  There is a beautiful piece someone wrote called “The Mask of Widowhood.”  Someone says this, “Someone said as a widow, you’ll be getting a new address book.  I think I’m going to get mine this weekend.” 

 There’s a thread called “This time last year.”  There are tender threads about last goodbyes or missed opportunities for them- eyes locking while blood was suddenly being spit up.  Knowing but not saying a word.  Regret.  And there is a rally of encouragement around those: “But I think the greatest pleasure in married life, is knowing what your partner wants/needs/thinks without spoken words.

Your husband knew how you felt, as did mine.”
“To try to express it in a few words limits those feelings.”
“I think a silent moment between husband and wife speaks volumes. Nothing had to be spoken.”

I find comfort in this since I didn’t get that chance at all.  That even those who had been waiting for death for months or even years hadn’t said everything.  

There are welcome emails to new members- always with the note “So sorry you’re here but glad you found us.”  There is one that explains some of the terminology used like DGI’s (Don’t Get its) or sadiversary.  There are a lot of parenthesis with HUGS.  This isn’t my thing.

I feel a bit voyeuristic scanning through the threads, maybe because my writer mind is thinking about how rich this material is and jotting things down- but then I remember– I am one of these.  I imagine that friends and family must think I am accustomed to the idea more than they are since it’s my life.  But I’m not.  It’s still mostly a role I know I’m supposed to play.

There is such a camaraderie here though- yes, there’s whining and self-pity but there’s so much pure understanding and reading it as a whole- the conglomeration of grievers, gives one a new perspective and lifts me out of the isolation of my bedroom at midnight.  The dark sense of humor that runs throughout makes me laugh.  Maybe it’s kind of a crazy laugh, but a laugh.


June 7, 2011


  1. Anne D

    In my opinion, any laugh that's not an evil laugh is GOOD.

  2. Hands Free Mama

    I stopped by today and find that you had a laugh. Now this, THIS, makes me smile. Here's to more laughs…anyway they come!

  3. christy vinson

    Yes, Julia. I totally agree with Anne.


Submit a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You May Also Like…

List-making in a Dark Time

List-making in a Dark Time

For any other list-makers out there, I published this on HerStories yesterday.""In this time of quarantine, my lists are offering me space outside of the walls of my home, a way of making sense of chaos, a self-imposed structure on structure-less days, and even a way...

Simple Things

Simple Things

"In our deepest self we keep living with the illusion that we will always be the same." Henri Nowen "It's really very simple," my late spiritual director, Gladys, once said to me. She was talking about how she lived each day, waking up, having a written conversation...

Continuous Living

Continuous Living

"Anxiety turns us toward courage, because the other alternative is despair." Paul Tillich I've claimed "seasonal affective disorder" for years, and that may be so, but I'm starting to realize it's not only summer to fall that is hard for me. It's winter to spring, and...