Thursday, January 6, 2011
As a widow, even a veteran of more than five years, I often feel sorry for myself. Why did this happen to me? Why do I have to trudge on alone? No one to run out for a last-minute dinner with, cuddle in front of the fire with, plan a weekend getaway with...on and on and on. When the season changes or the year turns, I feel especially lonely.
Then I go to one of the links that comes through my google widowhood alert each day, and I realize that we widows here in America are pretty darn lucky, even though we're unlucky. I've been reading about the plight of many widows in Africa, who are brutalized after their spouse's death. Often they are blamed for the death. They may be forced into a levirate marriage (marriage to the husband's brother); they may be "inherited" along with the dead husband's property. Mourning rituals can include head shaving, being forced to sit on a mat on the floor and engage in ritual crying or screaming, being locked in the house for a year, losing all property and being forced to become beggars or prostitutes. In India thousands of widows sing at temples each day for a pittance of food. These horrors are so far from anything we in America experience that they hardly seem real. But they are, and they rip my heart as I sit in my pleasant suburban house with enough to eat, a job I love, family and friends. I'd give anything to run time backwards and have Ralph with me again, Of course, I can't, but I can be thankful for the life that I have.
Last summer I read about the Loomba Foundation, created to aid widows around the world. You can check them out at www.theloombafoundation.org
And if you can, send a donation, no matter how small, to help our sisters around the world.