PLEASE NOTE: Even though this blog is now dormant there are many useful, insightful posts. Scroll back from the end or forward from the beginning. Also, check out my writer's blog. Periodically I will add posts here if they provide additional information about living well with Dementia / Alzheimer's Disease.

Saturday, October 24, 2015

Widow, The Term "Dead," and The Grief of Others

It seems the "Gay" thing to be a "Widow" instead of a "Widower." But that is just me:-) This realization shocked me. I knew (and hoped) that Gregory would die before I did, if only because of the odds set up by his Dementia/ Alzheimer's. But never thought that would mean that I would get a new title. "Widow."

In some ways I do not need or want to hold on to that label. I am just me. Michael. Whose life long partner, Gregory, person I loved more than life and still do, has died. And now I go on to decide who I am without a partner to accompany me through life. Title, label not necessary.

I am pretty well "defined" if only because Gregory and I lived, grew, and loved on parallel tracks that converged more often than not. We had our own unique interests, our own unique activities, and our own unique friends and those interests, activities, and friends crossed over often and we enjoyed learning from each other and experiencing life through each other's eyes. But none-the-less, I am still needing to redefine myself, yet again, now that Gregory has died.

I wrote a "kitty story" about one of our pets who died many years ago. It ends with and the title is: "My Kitty is a Memory Now." It is still painful as I continue to get used to saying and realizing that Gregory is dead. I prefer that to "passed," or "left us," or "gone," or "is an angel now." While those comments might make Gregory's death easier to talk about, the use of the word death, died, dead ... helps make the reality of the situation easier for me to learn to live with.

Based on a post from my friend Pat, who was one of Gregory's champions and who visited him very often, always to Gregory's delight, I realized that I am not the only one who is grieving his death. Click here to see "Pat Remembers Part 1" and Pat Remembers Part 2 (Both open in a new window.)

The following can be said by many people about Gregory's death:
     "I have a good friend who recently died."
     "I have a loving uncle who recently died."
     "I have a dear great uncle who recently died."
     "I have a brother who recently died."
     "I have a brother-in-law who recently died."
     "I have a colleague who recently died."
     "I have a good neighbor who recently died."
     "I have a wonderful college chum who recently died."

I was so wrapped up in my own grief, in planning for Gregory's cremation and his memorial at the condo and the one at the Lieberman Center, that I didn't stop to think how many other people would people would be grieving Gregory's death. He was loved by so many people. When a person dies, you get to hear about how they touched so many people's lives and so it is with Gregory. He will live on for a long, long time in the minds, and hearts, and memories of many.


  1. Some weeks after her beloved Bo died, friend Betty told me that she looked in the mirror one morning and realized, "I'm a widow!" She said out loud, "I didn't WANT to be a widow!" Then she said to herself, "I certainly didn't want to be an itty bitty redheaded widow with a wide rear!" [spoken as 'itty bitty wed headed widow with a wide wear'] Sweet Betty was able to laugh at herself.

    1. Funny that you sent this quote along. The other day I had the same realization. I said outloud, "I am a widow." It was painful to hear and a surprise that it was true. Then I realized the humor in that. Rightfully I should be a "widower" NOT a "widow." But I prefer the term widow so that is what I use.

  2. Since you shall not use it in the legal sense, I see nothing wrong in your choice of terms. You could be a vidua, but only those familiar with Samuel Beckett would have a clue.


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