Why am I doing this?
I’ve been asked a few times why I would want to create a site about widowhood five years after being widowed. The expectation seems to be that I should want to just “move along” and leave it behind. There are two reasons: First, I want to create the website I tried to find during my first two years as a midlife widow.
In my own early days (2011 & 2012), I mostly found two kinds of content. The first, while well-intentioned, was sterile and contained all the same unhelpful, soft-focus but vaguely clinical stuff written by people for whom widowhood is a field of study rather than an experience. It felt oddly cold (despite some of it being written in warm-fuzzy speak) and made me feel like a lab rat.
The other type of content that was most prevalent were the sites I came to think of as the “bitch and wallow” sites. I didn’t need to find someone to tell me being widowed sucked, I knew it for myself. I wanted to read about someone who shared not only their adversity but also how they persevered and gained enough traction to move forward—I wanted proof of life and inspiration!
The second reason I’m building this site is because widowhood at midlife is just awkward and, since it is outside the norm, lonely. You’re too young to just bide your time and too old to easily start from scratch with the attitude that it’s an awesome adventure. You may have logged 20+ years with your deceased spouse and yet are now contemplating spending even longer on your own. Or you might be dating and trying to fathom re-coupling with someone you may spend longer with than your spouse. It’s a pretty tall order all the way around and it can take a long time to process.
So, in a nutshell, what I hope to create on PlanetWidowed.com is a place that acknowledges the pain of widowhood, the hard work that goes into rebuilding your life, and the beautiful scar on your heart that bears witness to love, which never dies.
Why call it PlanetWidowed instead of something more solemn?
The name PlanetWidowed.com is rooted in my own first hours of widowhood.
Driving home from the hospital the day Jerry died, on a route I had driven thousands of times before, the world looked different to me. Trees and traffic lights, cars and houses, people and animals – everything just looked different. I was different. A single exhaled breath had transported me to an alien and terrifying place where I was forced to learn an entirely new way of living. In my journal I often referred to it as “PlanetWidowed” and talked of feeling as though I had a scarlet “W” on my forehead.
In retrospect, the ability to see the situation with a degree of dark humor, was my key to weathering the grief tsunami. Many other widowed people I’ve spoken with have voiced a similar feeling of disconnect so when deciding on a name for this website, PlanetWidowed (with a scarlet “W”) just seemed the natural choice.