This will just be a short post about something that has been bothering me again lately -- I have some longer ones in the works, but am still trying to get them to sound the way I want them too. Sometimes I find it hard to find the right words to express what it is I want to say, so it may be a minute before I get some new posts up.
What has been bugging me today is the very identity I wear -- that of "widow." At first I very much was afraid of such an identity, wanting to hold on as long as possible to the feeling of being married, and that of a wife. How could I be a wife without a husband? I reluctantly took on the name of widow....
After all, this is who I am. I was a wife, whose marriage ended not by any person's choosing, not in divorce, but in death. An ending more familiar to perhaps my grandparents or great-grandparent's generations, especially for someone my age. Yet, by the very vows I took on my wedding -- it was over. However, this is far, far different from saying that it never existed.
Which brings me to what has once again been bothering me: the word "single." No, I am NOT single. Single belongs to those who were never married.... single is for those whose boyfriends dumped them..... single is for the me that existed before I became a fiance and later a wife. I cannot, and would not want to be "single" again. And yet, there I was, filling out forms in my doctor's office again, and once again faced the choice of choosing: single, married, divorced. That's it. Three choices. I am neither. I am a widow.
To me this is the epitome of ignorance and disrespect. It disrespects my late husband. It disrespects my marriage. It treats it like it never existed. And why is this? Why do divorced people still get to identify themselves as unique -- they who CHOSE how their marriage ended, get to still claim it as a part of their history, but those of us whose marriages ended not by our choice, and for most of us while we were still in love with that person, we aren't allowed to still claim it.
It is especially ignorant to be faced with this from a medical provider. After all, statistics will back me up on this -- widows and widowers face all sorts of very real, physical problems because of what we have been through. We are a high-risk group for all sorts of health issues from depression, to anxiety, PTSD, heart disease, high-blood pressure, etc., etc. Just the very fact I was widowed cuts my life expectancy significantly -- no matter how well I seemingly cope & recover from the loss. You would THINK that an F'in doctor would want to be aware of this fact so they could pay attention to warning signs that all may not be ok, and could intervene early if needed.
I know that I am not the first person to complain about this. And yet our collective voices seem to be ignored. When I first went to this particular doctor, I scribbled out all the options and wrote my own : WIDOWED. This last visit I noticed that they have decided for me that I should be labeled "single." Well.... to put it bluntly, fuck that. I am never going back to this doctor. I will write her office a letter explaining this very issue to them and then change providers. You see I am still angry about this issue, no matter how much time goes by, and since my voice is ignored I will exercise my wallet and not give any money to any stupid son of a bitch that ignores what I have tried to tell them, no matter who they are. Because I will not put up with anyone, ANYONE who tries to tell me that my marriage, or my husband did not matter.......
Today I am proud to say that I was married to the man who was my husband. And I did not end this by my choice. I have lived through the hell that his death put me through and have made it out the other side. I carry the scars both inside and out from the experience. I may have decided to move forward with my life, and at some point I will likely re-marry (in which case I won't technically be able to claim this as my status anymore), but until that day comes, do NOT ever call me single, because I am a WIDOW.