July 10th, 2011

This photo was taken by Nelson in our garden in August of last summer, eight months before I became a widow.  It was a fun and glorious day as he viewed The SC through the lens in a vintage 20’s lace jacket with straw cloche trimmed with silk flowers.  Even though he was in the midst of chemo, which was accessorized by stress and uncertainty, our lives together continued to grow and evolve, and there were many experiences filled with laughter and celebration.

What does it mean to be a widow?  Wikipedia defines the term as, ‘ A woman who has lost her husband by death.’  But what does it mean in our culture other than a ‘role’ to be avoided?   Searching the Internet, I accessed books, websites and other helpful information.  I have devoured books and articles, made use of hospice resources, and received support which has helped me accept my feelings and responses. But what it means to me today is an ongoing painful and complex process which changes as each moment passes.  At times it can be expressed verbally or by writing; sometimes it must be felt and experienced, an exploration of the internal.  There are even times of creativity and hopeful reflection.  The experience of becoming a widow is not intellectual, much deeper, and something I choose to go through, not around.  I launched Style Crone as a blog about outfits, aging and cancer caregiving.  No more ‘what to wear to chemo’ or ‘shoe xanax.’  It has become a blog about outfits, aging, grieving and transformation and I see now that it is organically evolving. Transformation is never comfortable and The SC wholeheartedly agrees.

15 Responses to “Widow”

  1. Paula

    Judith–your courage continually impresses me. Thanks for sharing this with us–I hope this blog helps with the whole process too. When my mother became a widow, she called me crying saying that being a widow made her feel old. It means different things to different people. We are here for you. Love, Paula

  2. SizzleandZoom

    You are my hero for being so outspoken about this sensitive and painful transformation.

  3. Pam @over50feeling40

    When my mother-in-law first lost her husband, she did not want to read anything or go to the widow’s group at church…she said that no one can understand when one half of you has just disappeared. I believe that is what you are experiencing…when a soul mate goes…a huge part goes too. You are such an inspiration to share your journey, your struggles, and your thoughts during this time. Though no one can completely understand until they walk through it.

    You are gorgeous.

  4. Tabitha

    I cannot imagine what this most final of separations must be like to bear.
    Thank you for sharing your thoughts and unique style.

  5. Willa

    To live is to be in transformation though we are not usually aware of that fact. Your ability to be conscious of the pathway and how you move along the trail, in a marvelously stylish fashion, is what gives the SC appeal to so many followers, including this one.

  6. wendy

    I hope you continue to share your feelings in this blog. They are so meaningful to me, as I am going through the same experience you are..having lost my soul mate two years ago. I am still coming to terms with my transformed life and trying to find my way. I love that you are able to articulate your inner journey so clearly and even optimistically, amid this most painful of life’s experiences.

  7. carolyn

    deeper richer wiser woman


    That top is absolutely stunning. I am so glad to see the pic taken by Nelson.

  9. Lonnie

    Transformation and really transmutation – living through the poison. Thank you for letting us see and feel a small part of your journey. May we all keep going through, not around. XO

  10. Maggie

    Your courage in going through, not around, will surely be rewarded in time. Here is a poem by David Whyte. [My understanding is that those who refuse to go down (or through) and instead throw a coin never find the riches there.]

    The Well of Grief

    Those who will not slip beneath
    the still surface on the well of grief,

    turning down through the black water
    to the place we cannot breathe,

    will never know the source from which we drink,
    the secret water, cold and clear,

    not find in the darkness glimmering,
    the small round coins,
    thrown by those who wished for something else.

  11. Rosy

    Beautiful sentiments, but painful! You are a woman with talent and share those feelings with us involves us in your pain.

  12. Rose

    What a beautiful photo of you in your gorgeous outfit with that fabulous vintage top. It “captures a moment” and I hope that you can draw comfort from the loveliness (in all senses of the word) of that day. My husband is just now beginning to listen to the audio tapes his parents (who died 2 years ago) made. It’s reassuring to hear from their voices, how marvellously happy they were in just ordinary things. Maybe no one is aware of how sweet each day is while we are living it.

    Thank you for sharing with us your new journey, the one that some of us will have to make, if not for a husband, perhaps some other loved one. You speak for many, and do it so well.

    Much love from England,

  13. Terri

    Have you read Joan Didion’s The Year of Magical Thinking? In it she describes coming to terms with being a widow–I read it the year after my father died in hopes of being better able to understand my mother’s emotional state. You look absolutely beautiful in the photograph–we are being held in Nelson’s eye. I suspect it is a sort of progress to use the word, “widow.”

  14. melanie

    You are inspiring so many of us readers of your blog with your honest and transparent exposition of your feelings and thoughts during this most difficult phase of your life. I pray for you daily as I check on your blog, and I am so grateful for the model of courage and strength you give us all by sharing your ascent from this pit of pain and loneliness! I lost a son last December and I just imagine holding on to God’s hand on my right, and to Mother Mary’s hand on my left whenever the pain strikes. He is with us all!!!!

  15. janine

    I think your great beauty in this photo, in that marvelous, marvelous jacket (oh those sleeves!) and hat (a cloche – how much more perfect for you!) is matched by the great bravery of your words in this post. It takes such courage to, as you say, move through it not around it.

    Know that, while this is a solitary journey, in that no one else can feel what you do, that you are, all the same, not alone in this journey. Not ever.

    Much Love to you — and bravas for your courage —

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