Every so often, I meet with a group of women who are widows. None of us like that label. We don’t use it in introductions, or when we describe ourselves, it’s just not a word that ever comes to mind.
When we meet, it’s usually for dinner and we all contribute to the meal and we all talk about everything and anything that is current or some times news worthy or maybe a little gossipy. It’s a nice evening with no pressure. Usually about half through dinner, we bend the conversation toward what we all have in common and that is our loss of a loved one.
Most of us have lost to cancer. When we start to share our experiences, it’s amazing to me how different our stories are and yet we’ve gone through the chemo wars, suffered through the effects of radiation, been care givers to the end, but our stories are so different. Maybe it’s because the cancers were different. Bladder, Leukemia, Colon and Pancreas; all of them bad cancers and all of them terminal cases. Our husbands were young men, by all standards who were strong, healthy guys with very active lives.
Now we women, gather at a dinner table to talk and share and listen. We learn from each other and I think it also helps to just to talk it out some more. I’ve learned in these past five years, you can’t talk it out enough.
Widows need to talk as much as they need to listen.