The top seven things you should never say to a widow.

 Isn’t it great to have the bed and/or bathroom all to yourself?

Yes, sure.  It’s certainly is not a glaring reminder that your significant other is dead.  People have actually said this to me.  Yes, I hated it when Peter would take up the whole bed.  Yes, I hated it when Peter would forget to put his C-Pap machine on at night (Peter had such a loud snore I was once asked by a flight attendant to keep him awake at all costs).  Of course I hated tripping on Peters dirty underwear as I walked into the bathroom, that is a given.  But you know what sucks even more than all of those little marital annoyances?  Having a dead husband.

What do you do with your time now that you don’t have a husband?

Again, these are real, words that have fallen out of people’s mouths.  What do I do…What do I do…Let’s see.  I raise our children.  The profession of homemaker has always been underrated.  Even though people claim to support the people on the front lines of home bound child-rearing, it never fails. If you say that you are a homemaker at a party most people look at you with pity in their eyes and walk away. Now back to what do I do.  Oh yes.  Cry at varying, inopportune times, usually with a crowd of people in my presence.  Take naps of the long and short variety, trying to assuage my grief.  Mostly I pray, to whatever God I believe in that day, that my children do not end up in a clock tower looking through the scope of an AK and trying to kill their “mommy” by hurting innocent bystanders.

It has been over a year, do you still think about him?

I can honestly say that as time passes my family and I probably think about my deceased husband more than ever.  The perception is that when you don’t see someone every day the thoughts fade.  In my experience the opposite is true.  I see Peter in the mundane and the miraculous.  I see Peter when my daughter exits a room, unfortunately she has his flat ass (the running joke in my house was that Peter didn’t have a butt, he had a back with a crack).  I see Peter in the way my son looks at me, trying to relay his disdain for something I have said or done.  I see Peter in the stars at night, knowing he is now a part of them, realizing that he shines almost as bright.

Do your kids miss him and what have you told them?

The short answer is yes, my kids know he is dead and yes, they miss him. I have no concrete proof of this but I suspect they always will or at the very least feel some sense of loss.  As much as I want to perpetrate the fraud of Peter being on a business trip, I find that the work to maintain such a farce is exhausting.   So when you ask a Porath child about where their dad is, and someone always does, don’t be surprised when that Porath child answers “ Oh…My dad…He’s dead.”

How much money did you get when he died?

I almost want to take a pass on this one because I am sure that I have asked some super inappropriate questions such as this one.  My only defense is I try to preface such a question with “May I ask you something personal?”  Still no excuse for my rudeness.

 I understand how you feel my dog/Great grandma/alpaca died too.

People want to relate.  People want to be part of the conversation, understandably.  But if another goddamned person tells me that they understand how I feel because their dog died, I will be the one on the watch tower, trying to kill “mommy”. Believe me, I understand you were sad when your Great grandma died at one-hundred and twelve years young, but really, saying that out loud to someone who has just lost their husband?  No one should ever compare grief. Except me.  It’s not the fucking same as losing your spouse.  It just isn’t and it never will be.  Trust me, I have lost all of the above, except an alpaca, there is no comparison.

Don’t worry, you’re young, you’ll fall in love again.

This is a particularly hard one to address for me because I have indeed fallen in love again.  Over and over and over.  I have fallen in love with the tall, dark haired, boy who manages my favorite restaurant.  I have fallen in love with the computer nerd who buys me hot chocolate and ice cream upon our first date.  I fell in love with the boy who kisses my neck and makes my knees weak.  I fall all the time.  The trouble is getting back up.  My heart can no longer distinguish what true love is.  My heart is cracked open and the ugly parts are exposed.  So if you’re a boy and you are the slightest bit decorous, BEWARE!  I will fall in love with you and hopefully a part of you will fall for me too.

Now that you have committed this list of no-no’s to memory, printed it out and stuck it on your refrigerator with that magnet from your chiropractor’s office and dedicated yourself to the betterment of widows everywhere, disregard it, forget it, toss it out.  The truth is some people, like myself, don’t really care what you ask them about their dead spouse.  Some widows, like myself, will promptly and truthfully answer any question or add to any statement you make about their life, or should I say death, situation and some won’t.  To create such a list is ridiculous in nature.  To assume all widows or widowers are the same is to assume other fallacies like all black people know each other, we do not or that because I am black I am an amazingly talented dancer, I am.   However, as my son pointed out, we do all give each other the “nod” but I’ll leave the social significance of  “the nod” to sociologists and my 15 year old son to scrutinize.  As for me I’ll stick to creating then breaking lists of do’s and don’ts.

5 thoughts on “The top seven things you should never say to a widow.

  1. This is the first blog of yours that I read. I can not comprehend how you get yourself up and face the day while grieving let alone answer the sometimes inappropriate curiosity of friends – that takes some pretty amazing strength. Hope you and yours continue to do well, Tanisha. Great blog! Anna


  2. This is the 1st time I have read your blog Tanisha and I know this feeling all to well. Even though I wasn’t married anymore Charlie anymore we have a son together. I see my late ex-husband in my son everyday. No one will ever know what widows/ers are feeling until they unfortunately have to go through it. People have asked me “how do you do it” just like everyone else does I parent my child like I did when his father was here, I miss him more then I did when he was alive because I miss co-parenting with him – I think I took him for granted but these are the cards that my son and I were dealt and we make it work! Great Job T XOXOX


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