Widowed Blog Hop

M3 has not been known for one of the factors which is on my pedigree: Widowhood. This is not to say widowhood does not affect much of what is written here. Settle in for a stop on a blog hop you may just need to read to believe.

As most of the M3 Readers know, I am a widow. To the newcomers, a bit of background is on offer. My husband Russell died of assorted metastatic cancers in May, 2010. It was a time of vast changes in my life.

Nana's Cowboy

My grandson, Caden, was born on the day we held Russell’s memorial service, two days after he died. My stepmother succumbed to cancer just six weeks later. It was a summer of thousands of miles commuting between South Carolina and home.

My life at this juncture was a bullet list:

  • Finish year end IEP for little ones
  • Arrange summer camp
  • File suit against South Carolina
  • Schedule to be in SC for summer camp
  • Pick up Middle V from BRLA
  • Schedule speech pathologist
  • Get a massage
  • Find discount card for hotel
  • Buy baby things
  • Return Middle V to BRLA
  • Write a book
  • Get Federal attorney on the telephone

Yes, even then, my to do list did not look like all the other Mommas’ lists. I did all of those things and two or three reams more. The book I did not write then was the one which tells the story of becoming a widow. That would wait until this year.

Who are you?

Red DwyerOlder widows become widowed by design. They age with their partners, settle into a more relaxed (or equally active) lifestyle and the reaper settles into the home quietly, patiently.

Young widows are rarely afforded the longevity of marriage or the expected road. Most often, Mate is stolen by accident or crime.

Then, there is Red. How did you know I would be the exception?


While I still fell into the age group of the young widows, I was not just left with young children. Ours ranged in age from 21 to 4. There were a handful of teenagers in the mix and a grandson already.  The older children put me on par with some of the older widows, as did my husband’s mode of death. Having toddlers at home put me firmly in the young widows’ crowd.

In my little town, I was the junior member of the widows’ club… by more than 20 years. It made for uneasy conversations and many Friday Follies moments. I had a hard time associating with these women. I did not have 25-50 years to spend with my husband. I did not have the wide palette of great memories to fall back upon to mitigate the loss of my spouse. I had little interest in the gardening club, what with my living on a sand dune and all.

Instead, I had a monumental battle between the Federal government and the state of South Carolina, very young autistic children, a new grandson 900 miles away (with my family), a father going through what I had been, a hospice worker who came by for advice — personal and professional, older children in states a full day’s travel away,  twice a week speech therapy, pool therapy, the eternal visits to the park and not a single person who knew how to cope with any of it.

Words suck.” ~ John McDevitt

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Being a master wordsmith and Grammar Nazi rendered me with a permanent raised eyebrow. I could not believe some of the tripe falling from the lips of the people who professed to be on my side. I came to realize the affliction was far more epidemic than I had ever imagined.

None of these people had ever been taught to speak with compassion. Never once had they questioned the trite lines they had always delivered when it came time for funerals. It was reminiscent of the garbage they vomited out when my daughter died. One at a time, I eased them toward something other than regurgitation.

Some I made laugh. It made them uncomfortable.

Some I mocked openly. It made them uncomfortable.

Some I berated for failing to have ever been cognizant of what fell out of the agape holes in their faces. It made them uncomfortable.

It was all crap.

They were already uncomfortable. I just pointed it out. Over time, most of them would admit I was the first person to ever challenge the tired tradition of lying to the survivors, of doing a macabre dance of ineptitude masquerading as condolence, of failing to think for one second how the recipient of this trash would feel on hearing what they had said. All who did said words I despise hearing:

You were right.”

There is no consolation in I told you so. All it ever means is you did not get through in time to prevent some catastrophe.

Over the course of my life, I have introduced many to the funerary rituals with which I was raised. It is a celebration. Even before his death, Russell embraced it by making me promise not to have “some stuffy cry fest” for him. It is with this attitude of acceptance and no fear I attempt to inoculate everyone I encounter.

Death is a part of the circle of life. It is nothing to fear. Each death in our lives is a reminder to live and do it well. With them, we should savor the goodness we share with those in our lives; be they in person, on the telephone or through the wire.

Killing Us Softly:
Becoming the Surviving Spouse of Cancer

With the launch of Redmund Productions, I am releasing KUS. It is a road map through the endgame of cancer. It is not the typical seven stages of grief book because it shows grief does not begin at death, nor does it end in the accepted way other emotions subside. It is also not a “This is what you should do now,” book.

What is it? KUS is a book which opens the window into a part of life and death which no one discusses and therapy attempts to make you forget. It includes concurrent journal entries and blog posts which bare emotions. It is a testament to survival and a how to navigate the inanity of those who do not have the wherewithal to consider how callous their uninformed utterances and misinformed behaviors are.

Widowed Blog Hop

A group of widows and widowers have banded together to give you some insight on how to intelligently converse with, engage and support the widowed. Take a few minutes to discover some of the others on the hop. Many of you will recognize Samantha. She invited me to join the hop. I hope you will take some time to see who else is in the group to learn a bit more about one of the largest groups in our society.

Until next time,

 Red's signature

Do you know anyone who is widowed? Are you? Do you consider widows and widowers single?

© Red Dwyer 2012
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  1. I try to keep my mouth shut, I’ve basically been told that talking about life as if it was still going on for others was not right. There is no appropriate here, if you aren’t smothering those left behind and give them some space to breath you’re doing it wrong. I don’t know but somehow I never thought my being stuck up someone’s ass that was trying to be alone was useful. Personally, I think little things like cleaning up, taking the kids for a day, picking up some groceries (they have to eat) would be more helpful.
    Laurie recently posted..Changes in Hope of SimplicityMy Profile

    • It is more helpful. Grieving happens in is own time. It will not be rushed. In the book, I address quite a bit about how to cope with those who do not know what to do which (because I am that way) quite a bit of education toward how to get people to help without driving you bats. Most of the time, proximity is the best. It is less about the talking and more about being close if needed.

  2. I always try to live life to the fullest….doesn’t mean I don’t fear death
    Bearman Cartoons recently posted..Obama’s Secret WeaponMy Profile

    • You know I find that very interesting. I know a few people who fear death, yet I still cannot get them to explain it to me. I truly do not understand it.

  3. I am not afraid of death, or of being with a loved one who dies while I am there, but I am afraid of suffering for myself and others. My best friend brought a roast beef when my brother-in-law died unexpectedly, and it was a wonderful gift. I have learned a lot from others who know how to give without assuming to know how I feel.
    Gail Thornton recently posted..Poem – Anaphoric RideMy Profile

    • I think there is far more which is conveyed when the words are abandoned. What I have always found helpful is just to let others know I am nearby. It is good to know you are not alone, even when you are certain no one can understand. xxx

  4. Red –
    “Each death in our lives is a reminder to live and do it well.” This is a very impactful statement and so true! Well written as always!
    Thank you for particpating in the Blog hop.
    Samantha Light-Gallagher recently posted..Fast ForwardMy Profile

    • It is really true, Samantha. I have know it a long time. And you are so very welcome. There is a page for it under the Green Room. Everyone is invited to link there as well. xxx

  5. Death is a difficult topic for most I would think. And it’s also often the only time you see certain people like your distant relatives at funerals.
    Binky recently posted..Presidential Election 2012 Wombie StyleMy Profile

    • I tend to email those people after the funeral. Those are the ones I care the least to see. Frankly, if you are not respectful to people when they are alive, showing your “respect” when they are dead is hypocritical. Then again, I am a [expletive].

      • I agree with you on this one Red, how ridiculous is it that family members or friends that never even bothered to pick up the phone, write an e mail, a letter or simply call by before a death in the family always have an opinion afterwards. I too find that hypocritical and have little or no time for them.

        As always you have written a very good posting and I will call in on some of the Blog Hoppers that you have mentioned.

        Andro xxx

        • Look under the Green Room, and you will find a list of them all in one tidy spot. 😉

  6. I remember vicariously watching some of that. I know many widows and widowers. I’m sure I have said dumb things because I’m human. When in doubt, I try to just keep my mouth shut. That works much better. Sounds like a good book, and I look forward to reading it.
    Angela Young recently posted..Who polled God?My Profile

    • You did read some of the blog back then, Angie. When I went back and read what I had written there and in my journals, it was nearly surreal. Glad you stopped by today. I hope you get a chance to stop by some of the other places on the hop.

  7. “None of these people had ever been taught to speak with compassion.” Good point, compassion is a foreign language to many.
    I love your writing style and will check back again.

    • Welcome to M3, Ferree. Feel free to leave a link to your blog in the Green Room. If you tick the CommentLuv box, your latest post will attach to all of your comments. Enjoy your stay at M3.

  8. Red …. My admiration only grows. As I send my love to a lady who knows life and death. Your heart is as true as it is Big. Never change one Cell of your Being! And I am sure Russell looks on with pride and love at how well a young widowed lady coped so well with living. Its a testiment to who you are my friend
    Love and Hugs Sue xXx
    Sue Dreamwalker recently posted..A Silent ConversationMy Profile

    • Much love, Sue. I just keep doing, my friend. It is what I must do. Sharing is good for all of us. When I share, others can draw on the strength. <3 {HUGZ}

  9. Wow. Red. I am totally, totally blown away.

    You said ‘most of you’ know you are a widow – but how did I miss that? I thought you were a single woman, became a single parent, and never stopped achieving, personally

    (like SOME I know!! 🙂 )

    You are ABSOLUTELY AMAZING to me, and if there was some kind of award I could give, I would.

    I LOVE the picture of you by the truck, so young 🙂 You look so happy, Red…

    God Almighty, that must have been painful. Just so damned painful. There is a story there, for sure.

    Red, I don’t measure up. I’m just blown away by you. My honour and respect for you. You’re wonderful.

    Noeleen recently posted..Welcome by PathosMy Profile

    • No, I am not a single parent by choice. The title was in my husband’s will. That picture was taken the fall of 2010. And you will be able to read the story in a few weeks 😉 <3

  1. Widowed Blog Hop | Samantha Light-Gallagher

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