Going solo

11 Apr 2024 | Written by Marina O'Shea

The Joy Club member Josephine Baker writes this poem that reflects on the emotional and practical challenges faced by widows adjusting to life alone after the loss of their husbands, grappling with feelings of loneliness, grief and the need to navigate a new existence without their partners….

Going solo

So many widows left alone with broken hearts,
Living a ‘sort of’ life without their husbands.

Coming to terms with a new future, a different life, solo,
Crying themselves to sleep, not how they’d envisaged old age.

They’d planned holidays together, sharing new experiences,
Visiting exotic locations or just Devon or The Lakes.

Enjoying meals with a glass of wine together, safe, secure,
Laughing at that TV programme, vying over quiz shows.

Sinking into bed as one, warm, comfortable, comforting,
Loving the familiar touch, welcoming the loving kiss.

Knowing what each was thinking, finishing sentences,
Providing the elusive word, being part of a double act.

Looking forward to a gentle retirement, supportive,
Not having to put on an act after years of coupledom.

She knew his needs, his foibles too,
She made allowances, as he did for her.

Now she was one, on her own,
‘Just me’ she’d say, ‘there’s only me’, when asked.

Her status gone, she was treated differently now,
No one to share old memories of when the children were young.

Nobody to say ‘remember when’ or hold hands with,
To enjoy doing nothing with – ever again.

Now she had to be bold, resolute, pull her socks up,
Determine to be happy; she had to make her own way.

Simple tasks like hanging a picture, painting a room,
Choosing what to cook for dinner – hardly worth the effort.

But it had to be done, life must be endured;
She had friends and family, but her man had gone.

People tried to help and she knew they meant well,
But resented their good intentions, hated being the loser.

Poor woman, a victim of life, the erstwhile wife,
She’d had a good run for her money, now she was bereft.

How could he leave her when she wasn’t ready,
Was unprepared, didn’t know how to do widowhood?

She should join a club, meet a pal, have people round,
Join a dating site – ha ha – as if – no way!

She had to learn to be different,
She was still her, but was treated differently.
Because now she was a widow, and she must accept it!

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