I Was Widowed at Age 44

By Lynn Kelly

I was widowed at the age of 44 on October 10, 2002. My husband, David was also 44 at the time of his death.

I stumbled upon your name while surfing the internet one evening which in turn led me to your website and the book that you wrote called “The Sisterhood of Widows.”  First, let me say that I am sorry for your loss and second, congratulations on being an author!!

This is my story….

I pondered over buying your book for a couple of weeks and then eventually I felt brave enough to actually drive to Indigo Book Store on the east side of the city, search the self-help section and purchase your book.

I remember thinking to myself that I hope that no one that I know will see me purchase this book because I’m sure it would have been followed with a dozen questions of which I certainly didn’t feel like answering.  So, in fact I hid the book in my arms with my other purchases until I got to the cash register.   I have never had counseling when my husband passed and I thought maybe it was time for me to read about what widows tend to go though and how they cope with their loss.

It was a Saturday afternoon when I brought the book home and sat down on the couch and read all afternoon and well into the late evening. Tears filled my eyes after reading the first chapter and from then on I felt compelled to keep reading.   I was so wrapped up in reading about each widow’s journey and how their experiences made me reflect on my own journey that I couldn’t put the book down until I read every last page.

Throughout reading your book I have shed many tears.  Each chapter had a passage written in such a way that it was exactly how I felt at the time that I lost my husband and that I still feel sometimes even today almost nine years later.   And here, after all these years I thought I was the only one who felt some of the things I was feeling.  It’s nice to know that there are other women out there that have gone through or are currently going through the same thing.  Your book is bursting with many excerpts that strike a chord with me.

There are still times when I have a hard time coping with my loss.  I still can’t seem to talk about my husband very much with my children or to anyone for that matter and there are many nights that I still cry myself to sleep.  To this day maybe a certain song on the radio, maybe a television program or a movie, maybe something someone said, or maybe a certain look from someone can all bring back memories.

As sad as it may seem the way I look at death is that it is a fact of life.  We live; we die. Die.  I can’t stand that word!  I can’t even say it!  It’s such a dark terrifying word!  I am surprised that I even typed it just now.  I always used the phrase “passed away” or “passed on” because these words don’t seem as harsh to me.

I became isolated living in my own little world for the longest time.  I didn’t want to go anywhere or do anything.  I always felt and still sometimes feel like I’m a third wheel so I tend to do things by myself most times.

My two daughters were 16 and 19 years old at the time of their father’s death, old enough to understand what was happening but yet young enough that they still needed me.

  • At the time I remember thinking about how am I going to live when my both of my daughters decide to move out on their own someday?
  • How do I survive by myself?
  • Who will look after me?
  • How do you live in a house full of silence?
  • Who will greet me when I get home from work?
  • Who will be around to talk to?
  • How do I go on?

So many questions but yet… life continues. One minute at a time.  One hour at a time.  One day at a time.  One month at a time until the next thing you know years have slipped by.

If it wasn’t for my sister-in-law, Dee Dee and her husband Glen I would never have made it through my husband’s funeral.  Thank God for guardian angels!  To this day I don’t remember the funeral or who all attended the service.  People tell me the church was jam packed.  Everything from placing the obituary in the local newspaper, to picking out the casket, to making funeral arrangements is all one big blur.

Where do you find the time to think of everything that needs to be done?  So many decisions have to be made in so little time.  The whole thing all happened so fast.  It all just seemed so surreal.

It happened while he was at work.  I received a phone call at 1:00 a.m. in the morning from Glen telling me to get to the hospital because David had been hurt.  Of course I asked what happened but all Glen would say is just come to the hospital as soon as I can.  So of course I went.

While driving from Grand Bay to the Regional Hospital millions of thoughts were going through my head about what could have happened to David.  Did he fall and break a leg? Maybe break an arm?  Did a heavy piece of equipment fall on top of him and crush his limbs?  Did he fall off of a petroleum tank?  OMG!  Possible brain damage even?

Not once did the thought cross my mind that he could have possibly died!!   Needless to say I barely remember the thirty minute drive in to the city that night…

I never did get the chance to say good bye to David because once I arrived at the hospital I was informed that he had already passed away.  The cause of David’s death was cardiac arrhythmias which lead to a massive heart attack.   In hindsight I understand why Glen didn’t tell me over the phone that David had passed on because I would never have made the drive to the hospital.

I am sure you have heard of the phrase “here one minute gone the next.”  I can truly relate to this saying because that is exactly what happened to me.

I know each of us grieve in our own private way and after reading your book I can see that there are also many similarities we, as widows share.  I must say your book has enlightened me.  A huge thank you to you for writing this book!

I have moved forward with my life (though it hasn’t been easy) because time can’t possibly stand still for anyone, no matter who you are or where you come from or how much money you have.  I witnessed friends and family moving on and so I must too.  I didn’t want to end up sitting in a corner feeling sorry for myself so I had to pick myself up, dust myself off and put on a brave face and let everyone think that everything is fine.

I never wanted my daughters to see me cry so I would only cry when they weren’t home or late at night when I was in bed or when I was in the shower where the water drowned me out.

Meanwhile I am still coping.  I am still learning.   I am still healing. I don’t think we ever stop healing. The pain will remain with me until the day that I take my last breath.

I sold my house three years ago and bought a condo.  I quit my previous job of 15 years and went back to school.  I graduated with honors in Office Administration at the age of 50.  I am currently working at a job that I can honestly say I love.

My daughters both moved out of the city last year.  My youngest daughter resides in Minto with her boyfriend and my two year old grandson and my oldest daughter along with her husband have moved to Fort McMurray, Alberta for work.

Mary, thank you again for writing a book full of wisdom, encouragement and hope so that widows such as myself, you and countless others can try to heal, understand, move forward, and relate to those who are going through the same thing.

Wishing you all the best,

4 Responses

  1. Amber
    | Reply

    I know this is from 2011 I’m widowed in my 40’s. 2’weeks ago unexpectedly. I’m sick from it all. I have a young son. Will it ever get easier?

    • Mary Francis
      | Reply

      Yes Amber it does get easier as we learn to travel our new path. We do learn to treasure our memories and yet be open to creating new memories but it takes time. There is no quick or easy way to “grieve and get over it” as some will say. Time softens the pain but the loss stays with us till the day we die. We move forward in life and start living again and that is the way it should be, but I can’t stress enough that it takes time. Research for all the support and information out there and be gentle with yourself as you grieve and heal. Take care, Mary Francis

  2. Amber
    | Reply

    Thank you so much for those kind words!!!! That helps me so much

  3. Valeria
    | Reply

    44 or 61 … the death of a spouse is always shocking and an adjustment. My Bob entered Heaven’s Gates at 8:05 a.m. December 14th, 2018. I was with him the entire 77 days he was dying – I only left his side when tests were being done … then I flew home to take a shower, throw a load of laundry in, repack my duffel and jet back to his side; towards the end he was in another State. But I was with him every second of that precious time when he was not undergoing tests or a failed surgery procedure. Bob was my whole life for 44 years – we did everything together always: I was not going to let him leave this earth alone. I sat with him, I slept in his rooms. I watched him breathe out his last breath. Where we had been “we”, there was now only “me”. The children lives States away; and they have their own lives. Bob’s family never accepted me … ever … so with his death, ALL ties to that branch of the familial tree was severed. I wasn’t surprised, and Bob expected it. That’s why he hung on to life as long as he did – he didn’t want me to be alone. But, I am not alone. God is with me. And friends came out of the woodwork to stand with me and walk beside me these 9 months/21 days/3 hours & 2 minutes. I know Bob is in Heaven. I know he is no longer suffering. I know I was favored for 45 years with the love of a good man who treated me like a Queen. I know that I will go to my grave loving only him. I know that I have been blessed with faithful and compassionate friends. I know that Bob’s family will reap what they have sowed (I am not bitter, just realistic). And I know that I am, by the grace of God, healing. I will always grieve the loss of Bob, but I am not – nor have I ever – mourned: Bob was ready to go Home when he left Earth. I was ready for him to go – watching him be a medical guinea pig was the hardest thing I ever had to do! I am honoring my husband by keeping the house he bought for me just 14 months before the neighbor’s insane jealousies killed my husband. I may eventually sell; who knows? But, for now, I am staying put. I am healing. I am moving forward. I am doing what my husband expects me to do. I am living. And I wasn’t sure that would be possible with half my heart missing …

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