A Friends and Family Post
Today marks International Widows’ Day. This official United Nations observation (since 2011) isn’t about saying, “Happy Widows’ Day.” Just don’t.
It is a day to raise your awareness about the plight of widows around the globe. Widows face many challenges when it comes to finances, health, and safety. All stinkily piled on the already stinky pile of our grief. It’s a day of advocacy.
Why a Widow’s Day?
- There are close to 260 million widows in the world
- The average age of widowhood in the US is 59, meaning a widow is likely to have a long time before social security kicks in at the same time she loses half, or all, of their household income
- Widows are more likely to live in poverty
- Multiply that if they have children
- Multiply that again if they are BIPOC (Black Indigenous People of Color)
- In countries around the world (like the middle east and Africa), widows are victims of horrific human rights abuses
And here I thought the US sucked at helping widows. It does, but I’m grateful to be widowed here and not Sudan.
What Can You Do?
- Do you know a widow? Talk to her. Ask her how she’s doing. Don’t always accept “I’m fine” at face value.
- Know a widow who has remarried? It’s okay to talk to her about her late husband. It’s part of that duality in which we find ourselves. We’re widows until we die, even if we remarry. Our hearts are big enough to love again, should we choose to do so. That doesn’t mean he’s been erased.
- Know a new widow? Protect her from the vultures that will begin to circle. Often family and close friends are the worst offenders and will bleed her dry before she knows what’s happening.
- Don’t quit your grief support at the one-year mark. We may move forward with all that life has to offer, but that grief will be part of us until the day we die.
Today I’ll be joining a group of local widows, to share our stories, our strength, and our hearts. We acknowledge that, while this isn’t a club we’d have ever chosen voluntarily, we are living life in The AfterLoss our way. Sometimes with grace, sometimes ugly and awkward, but we get up each morning and do it.
I love these women. I wouldn’t have made it this far without them.
Live Now. Dream Big. Love Fierce.
If you know a widow in Idaho who needs grief support, please contact Sunrise Retreats. Feeling generous? Please consider making a tax-deductible donation.