Author Topic: My mom won't let me call myself a widow  (Read 3471 times)


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Re: My mom won't let me call myself a widow
« Reply #15 on: May 07, 2017, 11:02:26 AM »
This has much more to do with your mom's hang ups about your situation than you specifically. I would not take it personally. If you have a good relationship with your mom, I'd tell her that her behavior is hurting you.

I was married, but only for a short time, and I hadn't had a chance to change my name legally (but I went by my husband's last name socially). My mom addressed every single correspondence to me (any cards etc) with my legal name on it, and still does. I explained to her why it was hurtful, but I didn't change her behavior. I decided it wasn't worth it for me to fight with her over something she wasn't willing to change.

Best of luck as you navigate your journey.
Gone but not Squish.

Miss you forever baby girl, my Pru!


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Re: My mom won't let me call myself a widow
« Reply #16 on: May 16, 2017, 10:39:07 AM »
Monique: I'm so sorry you have to go through that in addition to the terrible loss you have experienced. Very unjust!

You are a widow just as much as the next person who lost their loved one. Legalities in this day and age are only blast from the past that at least in my country are being fixed/made more just to the various forms of partnership. I've had this discussion with many non-married widows and it's heartbreaking everytime. This is a peer support group for widows which does in my mind include non-married widows.

If a widow/widower comes and slaps that "you are not a widow because you weren't married", I'd be shocked. That would be the worst insult ever. From a non-widow I do understand the ignorance and bad manners but from a fellow widow/widower, never and quite frankly at least here, I've never seen it and I'd rather not see it.

Having read Mizpahs story and knowing what I felt about widow -term, I started to think that could it be a form of denial based on legalities to make it easier to take also for your mother? The Mizpah's example person refuses to be called a widow based on legalities, I didn't want to be called a widow even we were married, so could it be that seeing you in pain is too much for you mother so she takes the easy road (and hurtful one) of denying the term from you because it hurts her (and no! I am not defending her. This is just my thinking)

Big hugs to you Monique and good (yet I'm sorry that you had to) that you found us. Someone once said this is the greatest group of people you never wanted to meet.


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Re: My mom won't let me call myself a widow
« Reply #17 on: May 16, 2017, 12:04:04 PM »

If a widow/widower comes and slaps that "you are not a widow because you weren't married", I'd be shocked.

Tweety - prepare to be shocked.

You are absolutely correct that this forum is for all that have lost someone close, no matter what the legal status. That is the right of the owners of the site. They can make this whatever they want it to be. They pay the freight - they make the rules.

But that was not what the original poster was concerned with. She asked about her mother and, if we look at this issue with a little larger scope, we can extrapolate it to general society.

General society does not view the words we use here to describe ourselves to have the same 'definition' as this site does. I'll give you a similar example - In general society, the word 'veteran', when used to describe a former member of the armed services, has a specific, unbending meaning. It does not, and can not, be used to describe folks that are closely aligned to the Navy (for example) or any civilian support groups. Hell, they may even be working in a combat zone alongside Marines. Living, eating, sleeping, fighting as the Marines but they are not veterans. To claim otherwise would be to start a monumental fight with the troops.

Words have specific meanings.  But, posters here are allowed to call themselves whatever they want. No one said otherwise and no one is trying to minimize anyone's hurt.

But to try it on the 'outside' is asking for further hurt.

I can call myself a cheese sandwich - that doesn't make me one.

Best wishes - Mike
The one who blesses others is abundantly blessed; those who help others are helped. (Proverbs 11:25)


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Re: My mom won't let me call myself a widow
« Reply #18 on: May 16, 2017, 12:46:38 PM »
They've welcomed me as one of their own and have made it clear that they will always see me as their daughter/ sister.

 My mom, on the other hand, seems insistent on pointing out repeatedly that I WASN'T married, I'm NOT a real widow, and I have no legal rights. My entire family have been very supportive in other ways, but I just can't seem to make my mom understand that saying these things does nothing but hurt me and make this harder. I'm not trying to discount the sufferings of widows who WERE married and had many more years with their husbands/wives than I did with Sam, but my loss is still significant and life-changing for me, and if it helps me even a little bit to use this label, is there really any harm in it?

I see two very separate things going on here. The support you are getting from your late fiances family is encouraging, and the fact that they view you as family is wonderful.

What your mom is saying is correct, by definition, you would not be afforded any legal rights. It doesn't make your loss any less than if he had been taken from you a few weeks later. It is certainly significant and life-changing for you. If she is trying to minimize your loss, well, maybe that is the real issue. By pointing it out repeatedly, when you have made it clear that it hurts you, seems, well, hurtful. I sincerely hope that she is supportive of you in every other way.

I tend to agree with Portside. Labels do mean something. My brother has a life partner who he is not, and for their own reasons, never will be married to. I view them as life partners. I do not like to refer to her as my sister-in-law because she isn't related to me by law. But I would never make a big deal out of it and say to her that her relationship is less than a marriage. It just is what it is.

For what it is worth, in the beginning it is hard not to define yourself as a widow/widower because your whole world is upended by this set of events. For me, at 5 years, I now say that I "was widowed" instead of "am a widow". It is still a significant part of who I am, but I am so much more now than a widow although who I am is forever changed because I was widowed.  I hope that makes some kind of sense.

I am very sorry you are going through such pain and hope you will continue to be comforted by your extended family.
If you can't explain it simply, you don't understand it well enough.      ~ A. Einstein


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Re: My mom won't let me call myself a widow
« Reply #19 on: May 18, 2017, 03:42:01 PM »
I can call myself a cheese sandwich - that doesn't make me one.

I think it's less like a human calling himself a cheese sandwich and more like an open-faced sandwich calling itself a sandwich.  Not technically a sandwich, because nothing is sandwiched between two pieces of bread, because there's only one piece of bread.  Yet it's close enough that no one wants to go through the rigmarole of saying, "It's a piece of bread with cheese on top but there is no second slice of bread." 

I was at lunch with a work colleague a couple weeks ago, and she was talking about a woman she knows who she called a widow.  Another person asked how long they'd been married when he died, and the woman went on to explain that they were actually just engaged and he died before they got married, and said how long they'd been together.  The responses?  "How horrible."  "So sad."  "Poor girl."  None of this parsing and correcting or, "Oh, well, she's actually not a widow then, is she?" 

I will say, though, that I take a critical view sometimes myself.  I call NG a widower even though she was "just" his fiancee.  (Like I said in an earlier response, DH and I called each other husband and wife, as did our friends and family, we wore wedding bands with each other's names engraved, and I changed my name legally.  NG and his fiancee called each other fiance and fiancee.)  But he's called her his wife a few times in conversation with me, and it *does* (against all of my opinions) rankle me.  I continue to call DH husband because I don't want to short thrift him in death from what I gave him in life, but to change the nomenclature after death, I don't know, it does bother me.  I don't know why.  It's silly.  He knows the truth.  I know the truth. 

It's complicated.  Our language lacks a word for this.  We do our best. 
widowed 2011 (DH 28)


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Re: My mom won't let me call myself a widow
« Reply #20 on: July 09, 2017, 05:53:24 AM »
I am a widow. I recognize you as a widow. You are feeling all the same feelings of loss and grief as I did. For me, it is not the legal definition, but the emotional experience.
"When you are sorrowful look again in your heart, and you shall see that in truth you are weeping for that which has been your delight." Kahlil Gibran


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Re: My mom won't let me call myself a widow
« Reply #21 on: August 15, 2017, 03:18:03 PM »
Your mom is a Statist and believes that the State is god and that their paperwork is gospel.

According to ancient, unbroken tradition a husband and wife were sexually and otherwise committed to one another. A marriage began with sex and ended only in death. Sex is sacred and should not be shared with strangers (according to the same traditions). These traditions have a common origin indeed, but they predate even the civilizations that archaeologists try to tell us actually existed.

You were married to him if you were already behaving like it. I can list the practices that study energy and how it works as examples of proof but I don't think those kinds of things would be healthy to list on a grieving help board.

Your mom needs to stop worshiping the flag and trying to enforce the State's corporate codes and policies and try to acknowledge the truth. You are an authentic widow.


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Re: My mom won't let me call myself a widow
« Reply #22 on: January 03, 2018, 09:06:51 PM »
I was reading through old posts and thought I'd chime in with the dictionary definition of widow from Webster's:

"1 a : a woman who has lost her spouse OR PARTNER [emphasis mine] by death and usually has not remarried"

I don't think it gets any more straightforward than that.

And anyway, as others have so eloquently stated, this is a matter of the heart.  :(


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Re: My mom won't let me call myself a widow
« Reply #23 on: January 07, 2018, 02:37:43 PM »
I have been told the same thing by those who are my age - 55 or older. I asked my younger sorority sisters and friends. They said yes I am a widow. At first, I was uncomfortable saying it, but when a very supportive poster on this site told me that I saw Minh thru the hospitalization and thru death, doing that made me a widow. It didn't matter it was just 9 months after we met and 6 weeks after I moved in, it was the loving relationship that we both told other was long term and permanent that counts. 

I have started not let what others say effect me. I am a widow in my heart, soul, and body. Modern idea of one, but isn't the younger generations getting the world more correct for everyone, not just the select few.

I am now comfortable telling people I am a widow of almost 3 months. If others have a problem with that, it is their problem. Please take a hug from me and me telling you, yes you are his widow.
Minh's Sweetie


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Re: My mom won't let me call myself a widow
« Reply #24 on: February 27, 2018, 06:39:01 AM »
You Are Allowed To Be Whomever You Want To Be

That said, I suspect your mother, or others, are very literal people. And of course, technically the only way to be a widow is to have been wed. If you and your partner had lived together for 25 years, I'm guessing your mother would still take issue with the term "widow."

As someone who was married for 17 years (and with my partner for 18) I take no offense at whatever you wish to call yourself. It's not a competition.
Hoping my experiences can help