The F Word


I’m a fat widow. 

Yes I am. 

You don’t need to give me an awkward smile and insist that I’m not a fat widow. 

I am and I own it.

I give other widowed people a bad name. I shatter the image of the grief-ridden widow/widower by eating and actually enjoying it.  And I’ve been doing this for nearly three years now.  I feel guilty not just because I should have better eating habits to begin with but because somewhere in my subconscious, I believe that I should have lost interest in anything food related when I became a widow.  This seems to be the norm for others I know.  

And some still have trouble eating even after a couple of years.  Who are these people?!  I know.  They are the ones who insist they are full after eating half an apple.  I apologize if you are one of them but I need a minute to be truly confounded by you.

Don’t all widows drastically lose weight in the beginning of the grief process?  For the love of chocolate peanut butter ice cream, why didn’t I? 

As someone who has struggled with weight issues for a good number of years, I must confess that a small part of me searched for the silver lining when Chris died.  I thought I would for sure lose my appetite and shrink down a few sizes.  Never did I think that my new normal would include 40 extra pounds. 

To be fair to myself, I had just had a baby when Chris died and I knew I needed to eat because I was nursing a newborn.  I don’t recall the pediatrician or any of the baby books suggesting that I eat several meals a day of chocolate products to ensure proper nutrition for Claire.  But I do remember feeling like nothing in the world made me feel better than snuggling up with a candy bar late at night once my kids were in bed.

What this all comes down to is that I’ve realized I have been judging myself and others on this one particular aspect of widowhood.  

Skinny = proper widow/widower for grieving correctly by not being able to eat.

Fat = widow/widower who must not have cared enough about their spouse since they indulge in whatever food is pushed in front of them (and sometimes even aggressively go after it).

Our community is often outraged at the unreasonable judgments that those who’ve never walked in our shoes cast upon us.  And yet, here I am casting those same judgments not only on my peers but upon myself.  I think I need to give our community and myself a break.  Because defining what is an appropriate widow is, um, a weighty issue.  

At this point in my grief journey, I am actively working on being healthier (with some stumbling along the way).  But I’m also working on letting go of the stereotypes that are holding me back.  Now if I could only let go of the chocolate bars too, I’ll really be on my way.


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