Dating after being a young widow
Well-meaning people would say things like, "Well, you don't look like a widow." Even friends that I saw on a regular basis, would say things like, "Oh, I expected you to look different." It was as if people thought widowhood would transform me into an old hag. I wore my wedding ring for years -- partially because I didn't want potential suitors to think I was back on the market, but mostly because it just felt right. I knew none of them wanted to see me suffer and they couldn't do anything to lessen the pain.
But that ring on my finger led to plenty of awkward conversations. Sometimes -- plenty of times -- people said the "wrong" thing.
So while my pals were busy planning weddings or preparing to have kids, I was setting up a scholarship fund in my husband's memory and trying to figure out what to do with his clothes.
I'd occasionally meet elderly widows -- my grandmother's friends mostly.
At large social gatherings people asked questions like, "What does your husband do for work? " I dreaded the look on their face when I explained I was a widow. They'd unintentionally offer words that hurt more than they helped.
They'd always apologize profusely, while I reassured them it was okay. My favorite was when people would say things like, "You'll marry again someday," as if finding another husband was just like replacing an old car. After a few years, people tried to set me up on dates.
And I have no-one to discuss the big decisions with - which nursery, which school.
Knowing Matthew wants me to carry on and make a life for myself and the children is what keeps me going. I told him the doctors couldn't make him better and he'd gone to Heaven.
Ross is now three, and sometimes he forgets and says, "Where’s Daddy? "But if we didn't talk about him, it would be denying him.
People didn't know what to say to me, and they were grieving for him, too.
The biggest difficulty is feeling I've been robbed of the rest of my life.