Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Re-married widows


noun \ˈwi-(ˌ)dō\

1 a : a woman who has lost her husband by death and usually has not remarried

In just over 2 weeks I will be re-married. And so in the technical sense of things, I will no longer be considered a "widow." I am ok with this.

There are a number of widows, well, former widows technically, who write about the topic & continue to refer to themselves as remarried widows. To each his own, but I personally would not want to do this. I don't necessarily think we need to get all technical about it, after all there are plenty of people I know who didn't even get to legally marry their loved one, prior to the death, that also consider themselves "widows," and I would too, but for some reason this whole concept of a "remarried" widow gets under my skin.

I understand the need to maintain a connection to the spouse that has died. I don't want to be told that just because I become remarried, that somehow my first marriage no longer "counts." And if I am blessed with a long next marriage, I don't feel it will somehow mean my first (and very short) marriage was somehow less significant to me or my life. I just don't like using that word.

I had a love/hate relationship with even being a "widow." At first, I just considered myself still married, so I didn't even want to use it. Then I reluctantly took it on, because it was better than having people call me "single" (still gets to me, FYI) and I was certainly not divorced -- a reason I also reluctantly began to use "late" for my first husband (to avoid confusion once I started a new relationship), because he is not, nor will ever be my "ex."

But here's the thing -- when I remarry, I am agreeing to become the wife of my new husband. I will be a wife again, albeit to a different person. To me, this means that he needs to get the priority, after all he is the guy who is still here. As much as I loved my late husband, that marriage has ended. Death does that. It's that whole "'till death do us part business" I am about to say again. If I were to continue to refer to myself as a "remarried widow" I feel that this somehow would always bring up the fact that my new husband is second. Yes, he is technically second, but I mean second in the sense of where my priorities are. If my first husband had never died, I would not be about to remarry..... but he did. And since he can no longer be with me, I do admit that I was open to finding someone new. After all, as all those DGI's liked to remind me, "I am still young." But it was less about the fact that I am still young & more about the fact that I just could not see myself spending the next 50-60 years of my life all alone. We are not made to be alone, we are made to be with people, and to love people and these things oftentimes lead to finding someone in particular you love and who loves you back. To have found this again feels more like I was given a second chance to have a happy life, not a second (i.e., back-up) husband. And I intend on loving him as much as if he were the first and only man I have ever known, and feel he deserves no less from me. Sure I will always remember, and in my own way, continue to love my late husband -- but this does not mean we make our subsequent relationships less significant. Our hearts can grow to accommodate as much love as we want, there is no limit on how many people can fit in there (and wouldn't life be so much more lonely if there were?).

So yes, in a few weeks I will be remarried. And I will say good-bye to being a widow, and hello to being a wife.

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