The following blog post was written in June of 2017. In light of recent events I decided it was time to press publish.
It’s after 2:30am and I am sitting up in bed jotting down notes in an attempt to recall the last time I felt like myself. The answer came to me pretty quickly, it was when my husband was alive.
Over the last couple of weeks I have begun to evaluate life and assess what’s a benefit or detriment to it. As I am thinking about changes that need to be made it all revolves around the fact that I am parenting alone.
A lot of people parent alone and have the misfortune of never having the other parent present in the child’s life. I can’t speak to that experience and I won’t attempt to.
I am addressing life as a widowed single mom after having the “husband, child, house, dog and white picket fence”. Life as we knew it was set because we (widowed single moms) said our vows till death do us part. We established our families without expecting anything to change until it did.
So in an attempt to resonate with my widowed single mothers and educate everyone else I created this list of 10 things every widowed single mother would want you to know.
10. You abandoned her
She’s no longer your married friend you can chat with about your husband drama. She isn’t that friend you can call for couples game night. She’s not your all American career woman or soccer mom you want to partner with or head up the PTA. What she was to you can’t possibly still exist so you have no use for her presence and your calls and invitations cease to exist.
In my own life from friendships I had to brands I used to blog for there has been a shift. Why invite me out to be social when all you talk about or represent is the perfect nuclear family. I can’t possibly be relatable anymore so there is an unbearable silence, and we are cut out of your lives.
Well first our husbands died and now our friendships and careers died along with it.
9. She is lonely
Let me be clear, lonely is NOT desperate so just because a widow has lost a husband it doesn’t mean she is going to go flocking to any person for affection or attention. Widowed single moms are lonely because they lost their companion and their best friend they spoke to each day.
There is a reason she was married to that man and it’s more than likely because they could brave the world better together. They were able to come home from work and talk about their days and their worries like they could with no other.
Now she is in a house with a child who she wouldn’t dream dumping any woes of the day onto over dinner. She is forced to internalize everything and absorb all that went wrong in her child’s day. Since she has been abandoned now she has no one to talk to.
8. She is always hurting even though the smiles.
When you lose not only a soulmate but a life partner you raised your child with it’s an unbearable pain.
Personally I would rather go into labor all over every year than to deal with this hurt. It’s an emotion that smacks you in the face at the oddest and most inconvenient times. To make matters worse it never goes away.
The pain is permanent and it feels like someone took some of your heart away including your capability to love and heal. The hurt never stops.
7. Unless you are a single widowed mom, you can’t relate to her.
Dealing with loss
Loss is inevitable and at some point every creature on earth loses someone they love. That love can send you into a debilitating grief after a loss. When you witness a family member or friend who experiences any loss some feel they can relate. People who have lost a parent may tell others they relate when that person loses a child. Others may have lost a sibling and proclaim to relate to someone who lost a spouse. None of these losses are the same. Let me say that again, NONE OF THESE LOSSES ARE THE SAME and I can probably write a book on all the reasons why they are not. It is due to there differences that specific grief counseling groups, retreats and books even exist.
What’s more even if you did share the same type of loss you still may not fully understand a person’s pain. I personally lost my biological father who was somewhat absentee at the age of 5 years old. My son lost his father (my husband) when he was 5. His father was very present and active with him. My son went through and continues to go through stages of grief I don’t recognize or relate. The relationship I had with my father was different and I am not a boy who lost his father and mentor. I didn’t have fears that I suddenly needed to “protect my mom” when my father died and so on.
So back to the point unless you are a single widowed mom, you can’t relate to her so you need to consider that you have no understanding of what she has been through and will continue to go through.
6. Unless you are a single widowed mom, you can’t relate to her.
Dealing with working husbands and partners
You may be married or partnered raising your child(dren) with the help of your husband or partner. Perhaps they are workaholics or lazy bums.You end up taking on a lot of the household duties; bringing home the bacon, keeping house and raising the kids. No matter how absentee your partner is at some point that partner does support you even if you feel those efforts are lackluster. In your moments of frustration you exclaim “I feel like a single mom”. How sway? Your husband or partner is actually there, alive. Just stop for a second and make a comparison list with two columns. On the left put all the things (insert name) does to help. On the right put all the things a widowed single moms husband/partner does to help and make sure to leave the entire list blank. I think you get my point now.
If you still don’t understand what I am saying about any of this go watch Collateral Beauty or something. It’s a movie about someone dealing with loss.
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I am Shaniqua Garvin and I became a widow in January of 2015. I am raising my young son. It’s been quite a journey I will be on the rest of my life. If you have recently become a widowed single mother or father you are not alone. There are support groups on meetup.com, facebook and in your local community. There are fully funded playgroups and camps for those like me with young children. For those simply seeking to support a widow, there are groups for you as well. Wishing all the best to you.