Five years a widow

Five years ago I became a widow as Matt lost his battle with cancer.  This was the first club I joined that I really didn't want to - the young widow's club.  It's funny how so many people define you by your relationship status or whether or not you have kids.  They're seemingly innocent enough questions but incredibly loaded and it's up to you whether you tell the truth and see their discomfort in the reality of the answer or if you manage the situation and tailor your answer to something inane.

Just after Matt passed I took myself off for some me time.  On the plane back to the UK I sat next to a lady who clearly wanted to chat - two ladies travelling by themselves.  Then she spotted my wedding ring and said something along the lines of "you're lucky to have a husband who's happy for you to go off by yourself".  If only she knew.  With a long flight ahead, I couldn't bring myself to tell her that I was a very raw and recent widow and cope with all the questions that would follow.  I just put my headphones on and pretended to sleep.

Then there's the dating.  You find yourself single again, but not by choice.  At my age, everyone has their baggage, but being a widow, that's not your usual baggage.  It's a tricky one to broach on a date.  When do you bring it up - first date, third date?  Again, it's managing other people's reactions - will they want to talk about it or block it out - and do I have the stamina to manage those reactions right now, when I'm super nervous about being on a date.

So it is, five years on - as is now tradition - on Matt's anniversary I meet up with Matt's uni mates, his mates who have seen me through the ups and downs of married and widowed life, and we pour Matt a half pint and put it in the girliest glass, penance for leaving us early, and we eat, drink and talk bullshit, remembering a life well lived.  Having a tradition to look forward to helps ease the sorrow around the anniversary but sadly doesn't ease the hangover.

Cheers Matt

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