A person is not supposed to become a widow (or widower) in their thirties. I thought I would join this club when I was 90, not in my thirties. I thought my husband would grow old with me and not die at 31. I thought my children would have decades with their dad, not lose him when they were 5 and 6. When we think of the widow, we think of someone who is in their 90s', was married for 60 years and has children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren. Yet there are many faces of a widow. No one wants to join this club called widowhood. The initiation is brutal. The journey painful.
I am the face of a widow. When I am taking my children to their doctor appointments, shopping in the store, or on vacation no one would suspect I am a widow. And yet I am. I used to describe myself as a wife, a mother, a teacher, a Christian, a writer. I now add widow to that list. Becoming a widow in your thirties is incredibly uncomfortable because you've entered a season of life far too early. It means that "till death due us part" came decades earlier than you ever imagined. It means that sooner rather than later, the time you are your spouse's widow will be longer than the time you were your spouse's wife (or husband).
Becoming a widow in your thirties is at times a very lonely journey. Most of your peers are married. They haven't experienced the pain of planning a funeral. They don't understand what it is like to look at an empty seat at the dinner table. They don't know what is like to go from co-parent to only parent. They don't understand the pain of never being able to see their spouse again. Becoming a widow in your thirties means you are forced to walk a road the majority of those your age aren't walking.
Becoming a widow changed me. I'm not the same person I was. I experienced the pain of watching the one I was supposed to grow old with pass away. I sat in the room as doctors told me there was no hope. I told my children the news that their dad was going to die. I took care of my husband for the last five months of his life when he became paralyzed, turning him every two hours, feeding him, brushing his teeth, washing his face and yet that wasn't enough to save him. And in one moment I went from his wife to his widow. I am a widow because I lost the one I loved so much. And as painful as that is, at the same time, I am a widow because I was fortunate enough to have been married to Melchor Lira. We only got seven years of marriage, but I am grateful I got seven years of marriage with him. I am thankful that I was the one standing across from him on his wedding day. I am thankful I was the one who got to spend every single day with him for seven years. I am thankful I was his wife and he was my husband. As painful as it was to have to say good-bye to him, my life would have been incomplete had I never met him. I was blessed to have had him as my husband.