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33 Days a Young Widow: How I Told My Kids

In the midst of the grief, she managed to discover that God still had a wonderful plan for her life. When tragedy strikes—be it on a national scale like Hurricane Harvey or a personal one like a death in the family—it can be difficult to see past the fog of the pain and sorrow. September 29, started like any other day for Brooker and her brood.

She remembers kissing him goodbye and going about her day, which included a trip to Bible study with her boys, but that afternoon she received a phone call that would change her life forever: her healthy, year-old husband had suffered a heart attack and died. One particular evening, Brooker recalled a message she received from God that reaffirmed her belief that everything would be okay.

Honestly, there were moments when I felt finished, that life as the happy full of life woman I used to be was gone forever. How could I dream again, when the person who was in those dreams was gone?

The world of the widow: grappling with loneliness and misunderstanding

I remember crying out to God one night saying, God what do you have for me? How can I still have life ahead of me after this?

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I am not finished with you yet. Another found love in a grief group, only to find out that the man was horribly demeaning and all they really shared was the incredible bad luck that brought them to the group.

‘God’s Not Done with You Yet’: Widow Shares Her Family’s Journey from Grief to Joy

But when I look at my digital options, I feel overwhelmed by even the seemingly small issues that arise all the time. Most of the formerly married people I see online are divorced.

While I am of course okay with dating a divorced man, I have found that widows and divorcees have different points of view about the past. Divorce — even one that was amicable — severs a relationship with some degree of clarity and purpose. The death of a spouse is more complicated. The issue remains that my past relationship is not gone because either of us chose it. I guess that encapsulates why it is so difficult to date a widow, especially a young one like me whose loss is so new.

Shawn lingers over my life like a fog.

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Though I see his continuing presence in my life as a beautiful morning mist that surrounds me with love, I worry that my potential dates will see it as a murky haze that makes real communication impossible. Maybe the real problem is that any affection I might feel for another man would always be shared, at least in some way. A widower would understand this. But most of the men in my potential dating pool are not widowed, and thus, it can feel impossible to explain how I might be able to move forward with someone new while also keeping a piece of my heart with my late husband.


So the dilemma remains. A few days after setting up my online profiles, I decided to take them down. As I dried my tears, I thought about Shawn. It was true.

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Before we started dating, Shawn was my friend, and he used to offer me dating advice. Marjorie Brimley is a high school teacher and mother of three. She spends her nights replaying the weird encounters that go along with being a recent widow and blogging about them at DCwidow. You can also find her on Facebook and Twitter.

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