The Making of a Widow

Monday, August 18, 2008  - Calgary, Alberta  Calgary Lawyer, and dual-U.S.-Canadian citizen, Gerald Chipeur in his office on Monday, August 18, 2008. Chipeur the former head of Republicans Abroad Canada displays a photo of himself and Senator John McCain. Chipeur has a long history representing right-of-centre political parties and groups (the Reform, the Alliance, the Conservatives, Focus on the Family, etc.) and is not unknown to U.S. conservative political circles.  Photo by CHRIS BOLIN for Macleans Magazine
(Photo by Chris Bolin)


It’s very weird being a widow at age 44. It’s even weirder when people refer to me as ‘a widow.’

For context, I would rather be called the dreaded ‘ma’am’ than ‘widow.’ The ladies out there will know the horror of first hearing themselves referred to as ‘ma’am.’ It is unsettling and icky. It’s as if you cross an invisible threshold into old age. Inside, you may feel like your 20-something self, but your actual, outside 3o-plus-plus self isn’t fooling anyone. That’s how ‘widow’ feels too. It stings.

The truth is I don’t feel 44 and I don’t feel like a widow. I feel married and 80-years-old. In the past four years, I have aged tremendously, both physically, emotionally and mentally. And in my mind, I am still married.

Mike has just been gone a little more than a month. All his clothes remain in the closet and his jackets still hang at the front door. Some mornings, I catch myself thinking he’ll be coming down the stairs to join me for coffee.

Cancer changed me. My hair is greyer, my waistline is thicker and I have permanent dark circles under my eyes. Add a perpetual lack of sleep and a lot less energy and I am a perfect shadow of my former self.

Emotionally, I am hollowed out. Cancer took so much from me, besides Mike. My spirit is heavier. I feel wiser and stronger, sure, but it came at a very big cost. I have depression. It is under control according to me, my doctor and my CancerCare therapist.

Mentally, I am impaired. My brain is mushy and if I didn’t know better, I’d think I had dementia. My  therapist assures me I am not losing my mind. It’s just temporarily misplaced. A year from now I won’t remember a stitch of what I am going through right now. Grief and trauma messes with minds. So, until my synapses start firing properly again, I write everything down. My day timer has become my diary and my to-do list. This blog becomes a record of my life. (Keep on reading, I promise lighter posts are coming soon.)

Even with all that, I try not to dwell on all the things cancer has tried to take away from Mike, Will and I.  In time, my spirit will be lighter, my mind will be sharper and I will be happy. Who knows, maybe love will find me again.

But please, please, until then, don’t call me ‘widow.’ Or ‘ma’am.’

7 thoughts on “The Making of a Widow

  1. ‘kay. I’ll just call you Hot Mama then. Which you TOTALLY are!
    Love you. I’ve also started to realize my synapses will never fire properly again…so we will get along just fine. 🙂

  2. I really appreciate that you are continuing this blog and all that you are sharing and your honesty. Thank you.

  3. I’m afraid you won’t have to worry about widow or ma’am from us. You’ll always be Summer Robinfield in our minds.

  4. No widow from me. I love that you are writing the blog. It gives a lovely sense of continuity. Just be as you are, that is the perfect thing. Inch by inch it’s a cinch.

  5. You are emotionally and physically exhausted at this time. You need to giver yourself time to heal and recharge, probably a year to get back to feeling sorta normal. I’m sure it’s harder and easier with a little one to take care of. I will keep you in my prayers and hope that healing energy will come your way and only good and happy things will enter your life.

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