Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Widows: Are We Just One Weird Hair-Do Away From Being A Cult?

Okay.  You guys are going to think I’m crazy (how many blogs have I started this way???), but I always really think about the comments I make on the Facebook page and the responses that I email back to people. Because, sometimes, the thing that I initially write sounds…well….


I am lucky enough to be in touch with a lot of you. I love that you trust me enough, as a friend you’ve never met, to share your stories of loss and triumph. It makes me so grateful when new people join the page and make a comment introducing themselves, telling us why they’re with us. And I love how we all rally around each other, offering support, laughing through our tears, and sometimes throwing out the odd sick joke.

But sometimes when I’m writing a comment or corresponding with someone, I’ll catch myself right before I hit “send” and change what I’ve written. Because when I read, “We’re so glad that you’re with us,” sometimes I wonder if the person on the other end is envisioning some cult leader who is ready to make them sign over their mortgages and adopt 50 cats (our chosen God).

I catch myself, especially, when I’m responding to someone on Open to Hope or Hello Grief (two wonderful websites who occasionally publish what I’ve written). Because usually when someone writes how heartbroken they are about their loss and how they don’t know who to turn to, I’ll want to say, “Come join us. We’re here waiting for you.”

Now seriously. Look at my picture. Imagine me with my eyes popping out saying that. See? It IS creepy!

We have our own language (how many people do you know type (((hugs))) on a regular basis?). We recognize people who are not “one of us.” We’re ready to take on the world if it means defending one of our fellow grievers.

Throw in a crazy dress code and we’re just itching for a compound in the mountains somewhere.

Now, don’t get me wrong. I kind of like all of these things about us. We’ve formed a group and a bond that will probably never be broken. Thanks to the wonders of technology, I can now say that I have people all over the world supporting me unconditionally. And so do you.

Awhile back on the Widow Chick page, we did kind of come up with a wacky scenario about what would happen if we all lived together. If you haven’t checked it out, you really should:


Okay…now doesn’t that sound fabulous? I mean who wouldn’t want all of those perks? I bet if we really set that up, we’d be beating widows away with a stick.

Well, maybe not. We’re really not that kind of a crowd.

I guess, the point is…if we’re turning into some weird, Kleenex-carrying, chocolate-munching, wine-drinking cult, I guess I’m okay with it. I’ll still try and keep what I think of as creepy comments to a minimum, so as not to freak out the new people. And if we ever do all get together someday, I can promise you one thing.

I won’t make you eat a live chicken and burn down the compound. ‘Cause that would just be taking things a little too far.


  1. I'm ok with it being a cult. If there's ever a time to belong - especially encouraging "as you are" behavior - its now. Its nice to hear someone telling you welcome, and its nice to hear the "requirements" of Ben & Jerry's and elastic waistbands. Sometimes you need others to stick up for you and to tell you to just shut up and grieve! Thats what I've found fellow widows to be for me.

  2. Back in the Victorian Era, you really could tell someone was a widow or widower by their dress...Or so Arthur Conan Doyle said in one of the Sherlock Holmes stories. (I would have bookmarked it, but it wasn't my book.)
    Ah, a little sleuthing and I found it. It's in the short story "The Greek Interpreter." http://www.skoletorget.no/abb/eng/sherl/sh_greek1.html
    "Then, of course, his complete mourning shows that he has lost someone very dear. The fact that he is doing his own shopping looks as though it were his wife. He has been buying things for children, you perceive. There is a rattle, which shows that one of them is very young. The wife probably died in childbed. The fact that he has a picture-book under his arm shows that there is another child to be thought of."

  3. you had me at chocolate and wine

  4. I just found my way over hear from hellogrief.org and this post made me really want to meet you... because sometimes I feel just the same way.

  5. I actually cut my own hair recently (badly) I feel like I’ve crossed the line completely into the cult!