Do NOT talk about them.
Do not bring them up in conversation!
Pretend they don’t exist.
Proper widows talk about proper topics. These two topics are socially don’t-ask-just-assume-the-best topics. Only the bold among my friends will broach the subjects.
SEX and MONEY
Sex with a man I like is delicious, scrumptious, enticing, drug like, fun, exhilarating --- oh but wait. I, widow (female) am not to discuss that need; that need, at the age of 45, is alive and glowing in me because it’s not about making babies anymore. It’s about the sheer fun of doing it! I am not to converse about my need to be held, to be openly desired, to feel a man’s naked body up against mine. I am not to talk about how just imagining his intense breathing is just ……yummy!
I am not to discuss my sexual needs. It’s vulgar.
I widow, a mother to three poor grieving children who have lost their father so tragically is too angelic to consider her loins.
And then there is cash, moola, dinero, buck, dough.. M-O-N-E-Y.
Last week a good friend said “So how are you surviving anyway?” I laughed cause really I didn’t know.
The words “wing” and “a prayer” flitted across my mind.
Running out of it puts the issue of money in my face daily. And with it comes the shame.
The idea that somehow we mismanaged, lived too high, didn’t work hard enough, were foolish, not responsible…all of it presses down on me until it’s absorbed into my skin becoming part of my being.
I believe the whispers that say incompetent, fool and spender and then I look down at my three year old jeans, the ones I jam my ass into every summer.
Because if you are a hard-working, red blooded American you always have money. And because somewhere along the line of being that hard working red blooded American we learned how to manage money through….
And Rick Edelman, Suze Orman and David Bach.
Not from my parents.
My husband, not from his.
Today I am sucking that shit out of me.
We had six months of savings in an account like all professionals suggest. He had a retirement plan. Society says stay home with babies. What they don’t say is, it’s not worth paying you for your time.
His life insurance company unjustifiably canceled his account. (Yes lawyers are now involved…on contingency.) His parents chose not to support their grandchildren with one single cent although they are very able.
Been working my business (private K-12 school admissions and financial aid expert) and its growing and searching for a job at the same time. There has been little space for me to “allow the grief to come” like some counseled. There were spots when I shoved it back down, deep and hard because I was on the phone with a client, talking to an admissions director or just had to figure out how to feed four on a not-even-well-balanced meal. There were doctor’s appointments that were put off. If it didn’t take so long to go to dental hygiene school (or cost so much) I’d go so I could clean my kid’s teeth. The teeth that haven’t seen those nice masked people with silver tools since 2008, months before Art’s cancer returned.
We budgeted. We stayed within that budget. Our credit card debt is below $3000. And yet the guilt burrows in, nesting in my essence. We must have missed something. If we did it all “right” I wouldn’t be trying to stretch $10 into $100.
And I’m sick and tired of keeping this quiet. I’m struggling. I'm mad and I'm saying something.
I come out of the closet because
Don't talk about it, I am a grieving widow. It's undignified.
I vacillate between sweat-inducing fear and believing that “If I leap, the net will appear.” I have lept, I have visioned and prayed and meditated and prayed again. Good has come my way…so many amazing gifts, Only umm, God? This time You seem to be cutting it a little close!
The fear of having no money grips me, shakes me and says “you need to do something NOW!” but fails to include details. I continue to take action, trusting that the ground is not coming up at me as fast as it appears.
And it all feels familiar, the fear, the anxiety, the not being able to see how I am gonna get through the next month or the next 5 seconds.
As I suck the guilt and shame from me, I find power, clarity, fire and a don’t’-mess-with-a-widow strength that is hard to contain.
I don’t know how this will work out. But damn it, my husband died last year. If I can survive his death. I can survive anything!
I am widow, hear me ROAR!