Beautiful, Beautiful, Beautiful Widows

By Emma Pearson

July 16, 2024

Photos from Soaring Spirits International

3 December 2021

I got my first Christmas card two days ago. Not quite in November, but almost. It stunned me in myriad ways.

Firstly, I am staggered I even receive Christmas cards anymore. I don’t send any. I used to, in the life before, but I don’t now. Or only a small handful, keeping on a tradition for people in our lives that Mike and I really wanted to say something important to. Like one another and our children. Don’t get me wrong. I love receiving Christmas cards, but I just can’t get around to writing them anymore. Time is precious. And the carbon footprint is undeniably high.  

Secondly, the card was a physical card. Beautiful thick card. Quality stuff. Having said what I just said about carbon footprint, I still prefer physical cards over e-cards. And puh-lease – no jingly jangly sing song cards with Santa’s helpers dancing around your face for me.

Thirdly, the card was from Soaring Spirits International. I feel honoured. I am a long way from their HQ in California. Nine time zones away. A different country and continent. And I am touched that someone went to figure out what that meant in terms of postage. I know I am one of Soaring Spirit’s weekly writers, and perhaps that deserves a nod of acknowledgement from time to time. AND I am sincerely touched. There’s always a lot going on in Soaring Spirits – not to mention a gazillion new each year who need support. And yet, someone makes time to send out a card to us.

Fourthly, the pictures on the card are of stunningly beautiful people. I keep on picking up the card and looking at them all. Trying to find someone who looks like the archetypal But I can’t find one. No-one wearing black. No-one looking like a misery-guts. Barely even a one with grey hair, let alone white. (Though perhaps they dye it, as I dye mine. My hair is now totally white, so Vanessa, my hair-dresser tells me. She told me this a few months after Mike died. “You were grey here and there, and now you are white. Totally white”. Thank golly for good hair colour).

Which just goes to bust a few myths about what a widow looks like. I just google imaged “Widow” and as it happens, all I got was super sexy pictures of Scarlett Johansson and Florence Pugh in the Marvel film “Black Widow”. Hmm – broke my theory. But if I type in “Widower”, then indeed I get lots of pictures of sad-looking elderly men sitting stooped and broken in a chair.

Which is not to say that being widowed is a game of laughs. And I do sit hunched and broken at my kitchen table, in my bed, on the sofa. I do crumple on to the ground and lie there. I do sob and choke in my car. And more.

And so do these beautiful people on this card. And they also smile and dance and laugh and experience and express joy and gratitude.

I know I am preaching to the choir, but sometimes it’s worth reminding ourselves that we are not an anomaly.

Not an isolated statistic.

Not a quirk of fate.

Not an aberration.

But fully human.

And beautiful.

Thank you, Soaring Spirits. I still wish we hadn’t met, and I am glad we did.

About Emma Pearson

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