Sunday, November 13, 2011

The Fraudulent Widow

Got this photo from here.

I have a confession to make.

And to many of you it will sound preposterous.

No doubt many of you will think that I am out of touch, delusional or didn’t have a “good” marriage.

Some of you won’t believe me or won’t want to believe me.

I am not of the widow crowd that believes that my husband, Art, was “my one and only love in my life.” I don’t believe God put me on this earth to only be touched by one man’s life or to touch, mold, distract or teach only one man.

But that’s not my secret. My secret is my life
better now that
not in it.

It is something that is hard to admit in a widow crowd cause, well, if feels almost blasphemous.

This awakening did not happen in the beginning. I cry every time I learn of a new widow because if I close my eyes, I remember those hollow, confused days. I remember the longing for his hand on the small of my back, or for my aggravation that he never called me by my name but referred to me as “Honey, Sweetheart or Baby.”

I remember wanting nothing more than to smell him again.

I remember knowing only that if I got up, I could go back to bed. And getting back to bed meant that I had done it...Lived through another horrible, no good day. And if I could live through that day, then I could do another. I knew that eventually this rising from and going back to bed would get me some place. I was unclear of where that place was. But I believed those who came before me when they said, "I promise you, it gets easier."

And then, suddenly (for it really did feel like a jolt), I would go a few days with out crying. I could plan, shop for, prepare a meal several days in row before I became that crumbly, un-functional mess again.

And somewhere, the grief became less about missing him and more about living without him, or any man, in my life. The grief changed from losing Art to losing the ground I had previously thought was so firm. It became about learning to live in the uncertainty. It became about facing my own demons now that the grief had laid them open and bare.

The grief became about me, not about him.

I was one of those wives who lost myself in motherhood, wifehood and friend-hood. Occasionally I would look up and see clearly that I had lost myself. Full of my self importance as a wife and mother, I became too afraid of what I might loose if I tried to “find” myself. So I turned away and skipped merrily (but empty) down the wrong road. My life was about making everyone happy, everyone but me.

And now that Art is not here, I can focus on myself. And I like that. I like being able to order whatever I want on the pizza. (Which I don’t do because I am gluten intolerant. Something that I have known for years, but did nothing about because it was easier to put up with a little discomfort than to try to resist the pizza, explain to everyone, every time, why I wasn’t having pizza and preparing something for myself.)

When I look at myself now in the mirror, I see someone who I not only like, but someone who I recognize! I am not the stereotypical lonesome widow, soldering on… bravely without a husband. I can’t stand the assumption that that is all there is in widowhood.

I think I am odd in this. I think that I am different so I play along, sometimes, like the good, longing widow. But I don’t long for him, I long for this new life that approaches. One filled with adventures and frustrations and vigor!

This life would not be possible if Art were still alive. I have seen how quickly life can disappear and I don’t want to spend it longing for or canonizing my wonderful but dead husband.

I do think about him every day but it’s not in a longing way one thinks of when one utters that phrase. It’s in passing, just like when I’m driving in the car and say to myself “Shoot! I gotta remember to call Christina.”

I don’t’ miss him in this life I have built. I am stronger here. I am more me than I ever allowed myself to be in my marriage. I have no one to blame for mistakes made, ramifications for decisions, or words said or unsaid.

If I am afraid, I have to have to look at it. If I don’t’ want to do something, I have to do it or find someone else to. It is all on my shoulders…the good and the bad.

And as a result, I like who I have become. I feel real. I am the phoenix who has risen from the ashes. I am gold and powerful and wise.

The ashes are what got me here, where I go from here is truly under my own power.

I have often said Art’s death was his last and greatest gift to me. Without him dying, I would not have jumped off the cliff
instead of
I am flying!


  1. Anonymous11:42 AM

    Your post is so powerful and real and moving -- I admire your courage to share the REAL you with the world!

  2. i think to frequently people equate the ideas of "without my spouse dying i would never have accomplished this...." or "because my spouse died i was able to have this amazing new life" with the idea that one is saying "good thing my spouse died!". Acknowledging (or even appreciating) the events (even death) that have gotten you to where you are now is no sin. keep soaring!

  3. Good-bye, Kim, thanks so much for all the essays and thoughtfulness contained therein. Some of your insights helped me and I expect they will again. Best Wishes.

  4. so very lovely and courageous and liberating and wonderful. i love when you say that you don't miss him in "this life you've built." because it is a new life. i wish you nothing but continued strength and happiness and growth. i have no doubt your husband would be proud.

  5. Thank you for your courage.

    Since my wife died, my life has had deeper meaning, with more internal insight. So yes, my life, too, ans become fuller and richer since her death. And the guilt of being a better person now weighs heavy sometimes.

  6. Hey Kim, I first heard your testimonial on Fabienne Fredrickson's site and checked out your website only to hear the news you've been without your spouse for nearly two years. I don't know what it is, but you have a great voice and knowledge concerning many things in life. I want to encourage you to continue with your successful business endeavors, and use a better site platform like sbi ( I just recently started using this platform and it has really helped me to express myself on a much higher level than with blogspot. Here's to a bright future, Kim.

  7. Anonymous1:49 PM

    Thank you. I am not where you are yet but I am growing stronger. I fully believe God has given me this life to live in all its amazing beauty. Even though there are parts I hate, parts that seem impossible to overcome, I do; I am surviving.

  8. I'm not sure if I've been on your blog before. I was looking over a list of blogs and was attracted to the name "Healing Art" because I have used a lot of art in my own grief. But I see now that Art was your husband's name.

    Anyway, I really related to what you are saying here in this post. I often feel similar--that I like who I am now better than who I was then... It's not something that is easy to explain, but you have said it well.

  9. Anonymous4:55 PM

    Thank you for this beautiful and brave post.

  10. Anonymous12:59 PM

    I have been thinking along these lines for my mother. My father will not be with us much longer. I know she is frightened and anxious, but she will also be liberated and free to explore a life that she could not have had with my somewhat negative and stifling father. I intend to give her this when the time is right. Thank you!