Thursday, April 22, 2010


In the last two weeks, I've encountered three widows--one a dear friend, another the writer Elinor Lipman, and the third a woman I know only by name who works in my building. They are all young by the standards one usually expects among the widowed. I cannot fathom the loss and the sense of unreality that shrouds their experience. My husband is standing at the kitchen sink right now, washing the dishes as he has done throughout our marriage. I drank from his glass as we sat at the table tonight, batting back and forth a decision our youngest child needs to make about traveling home from college after exams. Later on this evening, I know with assurance that I will be wrapped in his arms as soon as I climb into bed.

As a wife, I don't want to consider widowhood. But as a writer, I find myself in awe of the women who, confronted by such loss, try to find their way in this new and unwelcome role. My close friend, widowed only six months ago, is astounding in her reaching out to others not for her own solace, but to offer with grace and wit the friendship and mentoring that has been her trademark. She continues to give as she always has. A group of her friends--about 30 of us--celebrated her birthday in January, and everyone of us had a story of the influence and impact she had had on our lives.

Have you experienced a loss as profound as widowhood?

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