One of the things I hated most about being a widower was the occasional awkward situations that inevitably arose in the months following her death. For example, a couple of times I ran into someone who hand’t heard about Krista’s death. As we caught up he or she would eventually ask how Krista was doing and there’d be that brief moment where my heart would stop and I’d have to tell them what happened. In my mind I can still see the embarrassed and uncomfortable look on their faces which, for a brief moment, made the situation even worse. I always tried to make them feel better by smiling and acting like it was no big deal. I’m not sure how successful I was at it but hopefully it was something they didn’t feel bad about knowing for long.
I was reminded of this tonight when I heard that Kathie Lee Gifford asked Martin Short, in a live interview on Today, “the secret to his great marriage to wife Nancy, including how they still make each other laugh.” For those who don’t know, Nancy died in 2010 after a battle with cancer. You can watch the entire interview below. If you don’t want to watch the entire thing, the awkward moment starts at 3:30 into the interview.
The one thing I have to give Martin Short credit for is the way he handled the situation. There’s a lot of (bad) ways he could have responded but he just answered the questions and moved on to the next part of the interview. Apparently someone told Kathie Lee about her mistake and if you watch the end she does apologize for the mistake. (No word if the producer, assistant, and/or intern who wrote the question for her has been fired.)
My question for GOWs, WOWs, and widowers is have you had similar awkward moments and how have you dealt with them?
Me and Marathon Girl spent the morning signing the paperwork to officially sell our home, making us temporarily homeless until our other home closes. As a result I haven’t had much of a chance to write out or even think about a Widower Wednesday column this week. (I promise to have a regular post next week.)
So what I want to do this week is follow-up on an email I received this morning asking me if I could recommend some movies about widowers. To be honest, I don’t go out actively looking for movies about widowers, grief, or moving on. If I happen to watch a movie that’s about a widower it’s more chance than choice. But I do see how such a list could be valuable to GOWs, WOWs, and widowers. I’d even be happy to watch some of the most loved or hated movies and see
So what I’d like from you are widower-themed movies that you (or your widower) have loved or hated and the reason why it was such a great or horrible movie. To contribute, just leave a comment below. I’ll compile a list and publish it in a future column.
And for the record, the best movie I’ve seen about widowers so far was UP. I thought the movie did “a great job of dealing with the subjects of death, grief, and moving on better than any other film in recent memory.” Read my full review here.
Thanks in advance and I look forward to seeing what movies you’d like to see on the list.
Well, it’s official. We sold our home and are now living with the in-laws for about six weeks until the short sale we hope to buy closes
Heaven help all of us.
Don’t get me wrong. I love my in-laws. I couldn’t have married into a better family. We all love each other and have a great relationship. This is why I want to make our stay at their home as short as possible.
The hardest thing about temporarily moving in with them is that I no longer feel independent and self-sufficient. I shouldn’t feel this way considering that I’m otherwise supporting myself and my family and have done so without a problem ever since Marathon Girl and I tied the knot.
It’s just that if given the choice between living in a cardboard box and moving in with someone, I’d take the cardboard box every time. But my kids would probably have a hard time with living-in-a-box thing.
Ever since I created the “Dating a Widower” Facebook group, I’ve always been asked when I’m going to create a similar group for widowers who are dating again. I’ve always been hesitant to do so seeing how men are less likely to participate in such a group but have finally decided to create a group called Widowers Dating Again. The purpose of the group is to give widowers a chance to vent, ask questions, or discuss dating and relationships the second time around.
So if you’re a widower who meet the qualifications below, feel free to join. If you’re dating a widower, feel free to tell them about this group.
One challenge many GOWs, WOWs, and widowers have to face are friends and family members who are less than thrilled that the widower is starting a new chapter in his life. Even though you and the widower and are more than ready to tie the knot and start a new life together, others may not be so enthusiastic that their father/friend/son-in-law/brother is taking this step. Lately it seems I’ve got a lot of frustrated emails wondering why some people don’t “get it” or at the very least pretend to be happy that the widower is moving on with his life.
It’s a natural reaction to get upset at those who don’t share our excitement about a new relationship or other life event but sometimes it helps to take a step back and see things from their perspective. Just because a widower has moved on and is ready to start a new chapter in his life doesn’t mean everyone else feels the same. Those who may be struggling with the news of an engagement or steady girlfriend are probably still grieving and probably haven’t had time to even thing widower falling in love with someone else. Change can be hard for people to deal with and if they’re still reeling from the death of a loved one, seeing someone move on can be a shock to the system.
Back when Marathon Girl and I were dating, sometimes I had to tread carefully when discussing our relationship with certain friends and family members. I did this because I could tell that many of them were still struggling with my decision to date and remarry so soon after Krista’s death. I didn’t downplay the relationship or my love for Marathon Girl but simply knew it was a better to discuss something other than our latest date or wedding plans. Yes, it was hard to know that some people weren’t as thrilled about Marathon Girl as I was but I shrugged it off and figured they’d eventually come around once they had a chance to grieve and move on. Eventually everyone did.
I’m not advocating that you spend time a lot of time with people who are negative or are having a hard time with you and the Ws relationship. Rather, I’m just asking that you take a moment and try to understand why they might be acting they way they are. Instead of getting upset or frustrated with them, count your blessings and look forward to a new life together. Maybe they don’t “get it” now but most of the time they’ll eventually accept life’s changes and move on. It just may not be as quick or as soon as you or the widower was able to do it.
I’m currently upgrading the look and feel of the website so you might notice some changes over the next three or four days. If you notice anything not working or functioning, please shoot me a quick email.
Throughout my Widower Wednesday columns I’ve always suggested you tread carefully when talking about the late wife. For example, when talking about redecorating the widower’s home so it feels like yours instead of theirs, I strongly suggest you avoid criticizing the late wife’s taste in furniture, carpet, dishes, paint colors, or anything else when asking for changes. Rather, a better approach is to figure out what you can or can’t live with and work with the widower to update the things in the home you’d like changed. If the widower says something that makes you feel second best in comparison with the late wife, it’s better to simply remind the widower that you’re not the late wife instead of responding with something that puts the late wife down.
Recently a GOW send me an email and brought up a couple of situations that had recently come up with her W. She asked if there was a time when it was okay to say something less than positive about the late wife. The answer is NO. There’s never a good time to say something bad about the late wife. Ever. Criticizing her tastes, the way she kept house, raised her kids, or anything else about her is a battle you’ll never win. Even if your comments and observations are 100 percent accurate you run the risk of looking petty, jealous, and getting on the widower’s bad side. Widowers are well aware of his late wife’s faults but like any man doesn’t enjoy having a woman he loves criticized—even if the criticism comes from someone he loves just as much.
Refraining from criticism doesn’t mean you think the late wife was a saint or that you should only say nice things about her. Sometimes it’s better to simply bite your tongue and say nothing rather than say something that could damage your relationship with the widower. I can’t recall any time in our relationship that Marathon Girl has said anything bad about Krista even though she’s well aware of Krista’s failures and shortcomings. When Krista does come up in conversation instead of criticizing, she frames things in such a way that lets me make the call. For example, she might ask, “Didn’t Krista do __________?” or “What did Krista do when ________?” and let me make a comment on the subject for better or worse.
So when it comes talking bad about the late wife (or anyone else for that matter) keep your head above the muck and zip your lips. Life’s too short to tear others down. Instead work on strengthening your relationship with the widower and building each other up. Relationships grow when they move forward. Don’t intentionally say things that will set it back.
The photo below are mayonnaise packets from the break room. They are bursting at the seams, just waiting to explode. If I survive the initial explosion, do I taunt death yet again by putting the contents on my sandwich?
I’ll be at the Storymakers 2012 Writers Conference Friday and Saturday. I’ll be presenting a class on building websites as well as assisting with a non-fiction class. Hope to see many of you inspiring writers there.
If you’re not attending but happen to be in the Provo area Friday night, there will be a book signing at the Provo Marriott from 5:00 – 6:45 p.m. that’s open to the public. Lot of authors, including myself, will be participating.
You can read more about the conference and well as see the full schedule of events here.
Hard copies of Marrying a Widowerarrived yesterday. If you pre-ordered a copy, shared your story in the book, or served as a beta reader, your copy was mailed this morning!
From The HuffingtonPost comes the following experience of one woman’s marriage to a widower:
I do not need for my husband to tell me that I’m the love of his life. Which sounds like some dirty hippy swinger talk. But it’s not. It’s being married to a widower talk.
My husband’s first wife, Hannah, died over 12 years ago. She was beautiful, kind and talented. And I’m not just saying that because you can’t say things like “she was bearded, mean and caustic” about the deceased. (Though I’m sure there will be a few of my closest friends summing me up with, “She did go on and on… and my GOD the anger” after I’m gone.) Hannah was an amazing woman and her and David were together for over 10 years and had a son.
The words “WIFE” and “MOTHER” were off limits to me. They were TAKEN. And it’s not David’s fault because I had aggressively advertised myself as a woman who wanted no promises. I’d gone through a divorce and I hated promises. The Fed Ex guy couldn’t even tell me that my package would arrive by 4pm without me pleading… “Please… no. Don’t say that. What happens happens. Let’s just be okay with the mystery.” But I was living with David and Jack and I was a part of their daily lives. I wanted to know where David placed me in his heart.
So I cornered him the bedroom one day while he was putting away his socks. His back was to me as I casually asked him, “Isn’t it odd that if we end up staying together that you’ll go down in history as the love of my life?” He stopped putting his socks away and turned around and stared at me with what looked like sadness in his eyes and said “Awwww. That’s so nice”. He had said it to me like he pitied me. Like he’d turned around and found a little baby bird with hearing aids lying on his bed. At that moment I realized that he couldn’t say it back to me and I was devastated. It took me months to stop telling every friend and taxi driver how I was with a man who would never be able to tell me that I’m the love of his life.
Fretting about where you stand in relationship to the late wife is never a good thing. The widower should be treating you in such a way that there’s no doubt in your mind that he loves you unconditionally. The author is apparently okay with the fact that she’ll never be the love of her husband’s life. While that may work for her, I don’t recommend settling for second place in anyone’s heart.
The human heart has a great capacity for love. Both Krista and Marathon Girl are the loves of my life. Krista was the love of my life back when she was alive. Marathon Girl is the love of my life now. There’s not an order to which one comes first in my heart. But since Marathon Girl is with me now, my love, thoughts, and feelings for her occupy 99.9 percent of my heart and mind. I feel blessed to be married to Marathon Girl have five wonderful kids with her. I wake up every morning grateful to have her lying next to me and I can’t image my life without her. She is the love of my life and will continue to be so long as we’re both alive.