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It's been a year since Mark died and it's time for me to start the process of figuring out who I am now? I took my kids to a new church on sunday trying to start fresh where the memories of him were not in the pews. It was really good to hear the music and listen to the pastor's words. I only cried once and everyone thought it was because of the message.

Last night as I drove to the new members welcome coffee event, I became very angry. I should be at home sitting on the porch with my husband having a glass of wine and hearing about his day!! Instead I'm scared and lonely and hating the idea of meeting new people. This is a stupid idea and I wanted to crawl under the covers for another month.

I sat in the parking lot for an extra 5 minutes wondering if I would be the first or only person to show. When I peaked in the door there were over thirty women! Wow! Suddenly I had a bit more confidence and even excitement that I wouldn't stand out as the widow in the room. After introductions they asked us to interview three people in ten minutes and get to know them and something significant to share about their life. I wanted to avoid the whole widow topic. I talked about my kids, my love of cooking and the great outdoors. I was more than just a widow, no one need know. Then the person I was interviewing told me she had two kids and was happliy married for 20 years. I suddely realized she assumed I was a single, divorced women. A failure at keeping my marriage intact! I quickly pointed out that I had been married for 17 wonderful years that I had lost my wonderful husband one year ago, that I was a widow. My big secret was out. The look on her face was shock and sadness. I've already lost most of my friends because they don't know what to do with me and here I've gone and blown it with the first person I meet!

As I drove home I realized that even though I don't want to be difined as a widow I don't want people to assume I'm divorced. My marraige was so strong and healthy, I shouldn't be ignoring it! Who am I now? And how will new people view me if I'm honest? This new life really sucks!

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I has been 1 year and 6 months that I have been a widow and I, like you, don't acknowledge that very often. I still think I am married even though I know he is gone. I think I am married because I cannot think of life without him. I keep busy every day but somedays I still don't believe I lost him so suddenly. I push myself each and every day but feel like I am just filling in the time because I still don't know what my path is. I said to my son just a few days ago that somedays I just don't believe it,...he said he feels the same way but is quiet about his grief. It is his Birthday next week and my heart goes out to him because his father should be celebrating his birthday. We find it hard to celebrate anything...we just acknowledge his loss on those days that should be special. I told someone today that my husband passed away and it was like they didn't even hear me....they said nothing. I too have lost many friends who don't know what to do with me but I feel fortunate because I have made new friends and they accept me as the person I am today. So I urge you to continue with your new path of meeting new people....it works for me...........I am sorry for your loss.

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Oh Cheryl, that was so brave of you! But it sounds as if you also need to find some people with whom you have more in common. I'm wondering: Have you found your way to other young widows online, via some of the fantastic blogs (Web logs) you will find there? I think just reading some of the posts (and the comments left there by other widows and widowers as well) will help you feel less isolated and alone. Here are just a few of the ones I follow, and would highly recommend to you:

Widow's Voice

Widow Chick

Boo's Journey through Widowhood

Fresh Widow - This one includes a list of other bloggers, by year: "If you're grieving, you may be validated and cheered to discover writings by folks who've been there -- and some who are even through. You might even find your 'widowhood twin.'"

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My attitude right now is that though I choose the time to tell people about being a widow (if it feels appropriate), I really don't give a flying you know what if they can't handle it. I am blessed to have many friends and family who can and do handle it, and aren't afraid to talk about Scott with me.

I do believe that I am a strong and capable mother and widow, thanks in large part to my soulmate (I miss you!), but I too hate to think that those who do not know my situation may judge either myself, or worse, Scott. And widow notwithstanding, I will ALWAYS be Scott's wife

You are strong and it sounds like you already believe in yourself - go girl!

Korina

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Cheryl,

I think you handled it wonderfully! You are NOT defined merely as a widow...you let them know the other aspects of you, but you're right, you really don't want people to assume you're divorced, so letting them know you are widowed is probably best. I think if you try to remain upbeat (at least until you get to know someone in a familiar way), they will want to be with you. You say you lost your old friends, that is common...when the see the jarring affect such loss causes, they often want to run! But these new people are not seeing that, they're seeing you a year later, someone who has a lot to offer as a person, someone who is a survivor, I'm sure they see you as a positive person they'd like to know. Her look of shock and sadness was probably in thinking perhaps she'd blundered. If YOU are comfortable talking about it, SHE will be more comfortable too. I'd encourage you to go back and continue trying to make friends, it sounds like a good place to be!

Kay

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