Maybe it's because so many guys have called me "courageous," but as soon as I utter the word "widow," I sense I'm being seen as a living saint and that my marriage was flawless, which of course isn't true."You must have really loved him," a few men have said in awe.Other men, once they learned of my history, avoided me altogether.As soon as I'd get comfortable enough with them to talk about it, usually after a few dates, they'd pull away--no more e-mails or calls.Well, yes, of course I loved him, but our marriage was like most: It had highs and lows.
Some guys have even turned my widowhood into a weird power struggle, a game of "Whose life is harder?ONE MARCH AFTERNOON IN 2010, I logged on to Facebook and glanced at my relationship status.My 42-year-old husband, Frank, had been dead for a month, but it still said "Married." Then, in a surreal, only-in-the-21st-century moment, I changed it to "Widowed." I hesitated, but I had to do it: No word but So, at age 39, after seven years of marriage, I was no longer married; I was a widow.And this, the only appropriate designation, felt hard-earned.Frank's sickness and death belonged to him, but they had changed my life, too, making demands and requiring sacrifices.