Look. I get it. I’m sure it’s SUPER irritating watching your husband devote hours of couch time with buddies during football season or [whatever sport you’d like to insert here]. Sure, it’d be annoying to know that even if you walked right in front of the screen with a brand new nightie on, he’d probably lean to the right to look around you. Yeah, it’s probably frustrating to feel like you give up every weekend to either hosting his buddies in your living room or spend those weekends alone because he got season tickets. “Thanks, brother-in-law, for the awesome tickets, yay,” you said through a fake smile on Christmas Day.

I get it. It’s irritating. Annoying. Frustrating. Lonely, even. So much so that you may say to your friend in exasperation, “I’m basically a football widow.”

And that’s where I stop you.

Nope.

No matter how you feel about those guys in uniform and cleats who stole your husband, the word “widow” shouldn’t even be on your radar. Please, for the love of God, don’t even associate yourself with it if you don’t have to.

Because lots of us have to.

I have to.

Widows have to explain to their kids why their daddy came home in a box that now sits on the shelf in Mommy’s closet.

In the wake of their spouses’ deaths, widows spend hours and days calling companies to change over bills into your name, closing bank accounts, handing out death certificates like Oprah hands out her favorite things: And you get a death certificate, credit card company! And you get one, banker! And you get one, mortgage lender. You, you and you. You get one too! You all get death certificates!

Widows take a number and sit all day long in the Social Security Office to apply for benefits for their kids (and maybe themselves, if they’re lucky) because Daddy doesn’t bring home a paycheck anymore, where they hand out yet another—you guessed it—death certificate.

A widow comes home every night to an empty living room, an empty couch, and a blank television screen. She’s flooded with memories of Super Bowl celebrations, movie nights and game nights spent on that couch every time she sees it. She probably has taken up sleeping on that couch anyway, because it may just be too hard to sleep in that bed they shared.

A widow may wonder why her husband’s buddies just stopped coming around after the funeral, even if they said they’d be there for her and the kids when she needed it.

Taking the kids to their own sports games has now become an exhausting, near-impossible task as she sits on the bleachers alone listening to the other moms complain about how they’re “basically a single mom now” because their husbands left on business trips or camping trips or whatever else trips.

Nope. Don’t go there, wives.

If you have a breathing, living husband parked on that couch, grab some dip and sit with him, even if you hate every second of the ball-throwing game you aren’t even following.

Or don’t.

Go for a walk. Spend time with a friend. Read a book. And if the sports season is just that irritating and you feel neglected, you have a real, live human to talk to about it, even fight with about it—believe me, so many widows miss even the quarrels. I know I do.

I don’t know how you handle it. I don’t know because I’m a widow with three young kids. Complaining about sports and hunting and camping are not even a blip on my radar at the moment. I don’t know how frustrating and annoying it is, but you certainly have no idea what single or widowed motherhood is even like—and I pray to God you never have to.

I get it. Not ALL wives and husbands have this issue or family dynamic, so don’t take this as a sweeping generalization. But, just in case it does fit your situation or that phrase has slipped out of your mouth, just do me a favor: this season, omit the phrase.

You don’t need it and you DEFINITELY don’t want it.

You may also like:

I’m His Widow, But I’m So Much More Than That

The Lonely Days as a Widow

Nicole Hastings

Nicole is a is a widowed mom to three children. With a background in journalism and a sudden need to “figure out what to do,” she turned to writing about her experience with a husband with cancer, caregiving and widowed parenting and overcoming the aloneness of all of the above. She believes the art of storytelling brings people out of the dark into the light together to share in joy, humor, suffering and pain in life. She hopes that by sharing her story with transparency and heart will bring others hope and empower them to share their own stories.
 
Facebook: @JustAMomNicoleHastings