One calendar month since I lost my husband…

 and became that dreaded “W” word.  WIDOW… Sigh.  I never thought I’d be a widow at 33 years of age. 

From as it applies to me…




1.   a woman who has lost her husband by death and has not remarried.
It makes it sounds so matter of fact… so un-emotional…
My connotation of widows are little old grey haired ladies.  Not me… not with a son who’s only a year old.  Not somebody who until a few months ago, was married to a very strong, very healthy man.  Whenever John went to see a new doctor or went to the hospital he was asked a barriage of medical questions… including the did you smoke?  “NEVER”; do you drink? “NO”; do you have any other health problems?  “A picture of health, except for this cancer” was his typical answer.  I wonder what went through the doctor’s minds when they saw him skinny as a rail, or full of edema, or barely able to walk when he said that. 
Throughout it all, John always kept his sense of humor.  That’s one of the things that I’ll miss the most… not everybody got it… not everybody got to witness it.  I don’t even know how to describe it, but if I’d have to sum it up I’d probably say– dry… intelligent… smart assed… When we started our relationship, John was by far the bigger smart ass… however, he trained me well… sometimes, I think I surpassed him… however, he’d still say he was top. 
They say… sometimes, you become more like your spouse.  Usually, that isn’t meant as a compliament… in my case, I’d consider it to be one. 
Anyway… I just got a little side tracked with my John memory… back to the topic- that dreaded “W” word…

A few days ago, I received a call from the dentist’s office trying to straighten up an insurance fiasco.  She called me a widow.  It was the first time that I’d actually been called one out loud.  Inside I wanted to cry.  On the outside, I held it together and finished the call professionally and politely and took care of business… after all I am a widow. 

I remember filling out paperwork at the eye doctor’s office.  It was a week after John had passed away.  I had to circle “W” for the first time.  I took a deep breath, bit my lip, and drew my circle.  Then it came to “Responsible party.”  I left it blank.  Who do I put?  My responsible party is gone.  Nathaniel is too young.  At 33 years old, I dont’ want to put my parents… plus they live states away.  Is there anybody out there who really would want to be bothered in an emergency?  Who would leave work to pick up my sorry butt if I needed it?  I’ve also found that a lot of people say that they’ll “be there,” but the number of people who really “are there” don’t match up. 

The doctor didn’t press me to fill out that blank.  Dr. Stottlemeyer is awesome.  John & I were both very impressed with him, John never used him personally, but he’d gone to some of my appointments and we always loved how he seemed to know who I was without looking at my chart, even if I hadn’t been there for a few years.  Dr. Stottlemeyer impressed me again in the way that he compassionately expressed his sympathy and truly did remember John.  He told me that he’d lost a relative to melanoma and when I told him about the rainbow with a shaky voice, he told me that he knew the rainbow was a sign from John for me.  (Later, I was talking about my “responsible party delimna.”  My cousin volunteered herself.  So, I have that issue solved.) 

I imagine that some people go through the same emotions when they circle divorced for the first time.  But I’ve never been there. 

Ironic thing is that a lot of my favorites are “W” words- Winston, my beloved stallion; Willow, my dear mare buddy; Wilson, my little buddy (yeah, 3 “W” horses, what the Hell was I thinking… I’m forever calling Winston & Wilson by the wrong names… but when Willow & Winston had a foal together, it just needed a “W” name, too.  I have a friend that actually forbid me from naming Nathaniel something that started with a “W”); Winnie, my dear house cat.

So, in the course of a month, my world has been thrown completely upside down and it will never be the same, but life goes on.  I no longer fear death like I used to.  I certainly hope that it will be many, many, many more years before I encounter death, but when it does come, I look forward to the rainbow bridge & re-uniting with John.  I’ll never look at rainbows the same way ever again.  Mourning doves are no longer “stupid birds.”  I’ve been to church.   I’m worried about money… I’m worried about losing the house… I’m worried about losing my horses, but I’m ready to fight.  I did come up with a list of “stay” & “may have to go.”  The “stay” list even includes one “will die here.”  Nathaniel & I have been having fun… he now says “doggie” & “kitty” and has a classification system… of course everything in the air is a “bird”, “kitty” is a normal sized cat.  Anything larger than a normal sized cat is “doggie” that includes Rascal, the horses, and of course, dogs.  Nathaniel has gotten his first haircut, first pair of shoes, & is walking pretty well (except when I tell friends & relatives that he walks… he then makes a liar out of me- DORK!!)  I’ve even been to a Ravens game.

Or I could have summed up with what I posted on our website….

It is with great saddness that I report that John passed away July 21, 2009. If love could cure cancer, he’d be alive and well, but sadly that is not the case. John embodied “LiveStrong.” He was a fighter till the end and like everything in life he gave it his all. John was also a very simple man, when asked about his cancer he’d often say, “it is what it is.” Throughout his illness, he never lost his sense of humor and he was always concerned for Nathaniel and myself. He will be greatly missed by everybody who knew and loved him. My life will never be the same, but I’m a much better person for having known him and he’ll always be the love of my life.

About Mary K. Smith

I was widowed in July 2009, when I lost my beloved husband, John, to melanoma. Cancer SUCKS. We have a young son who was just a year old when his father died. I live on a small farm in Maryland which is home to horses, cats, and a dog. I started this blog as a way for me to heal, a way to remember my husband, and eventually I'd like to share it with our son so he can see the love that his father had for him, the love that we had for each other, what a great person his father was, and how hard his father fought to live.
This entry was posted in Cats, Horses, John, Leaky Creek, Nathaniel, Pre-stage IV, Stage IV and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to One calendar month since I lost my husband…

  1. carla says:

    Hello,I was reading your story and like you I lost my husband to melanoma on april 19 2009 our battle started when our baby was 7 months old when he was diagnosed feb 2004. we fought with everything we had to keep him here with us but nothing worked. It still seems like he will just come back from a trip or something.I like you have to be the one to make sure everyone and everything is taken care of it is a real heavy load but I hear it will get easier.I dont like to think of being a widow either as I am only 44 years old and he just turned 49 10 days before he passed. we have a 5 year old and a 10 year old .I will keep you in our prayers and god bless.

  2. Angel says:

    I understand the coldness in the word..
    widow, I also became alone at the age of 34, and it was devestating to be called that for the first time, and actually every time after that as well…
    Embellish the memories in your heart breathe in breathe out everyday knowing that you have love in your life, and now it is all encompasing. Love beams straight from heaven, a place more glorious then here, a place where God promises glory+*+**+

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s