Widows Can Be Happy, Too

My husband and I had shared many plans, many dreams… we had so many things we looked forward to doing in our future together. But the future is not set in stone. And that future is something you can plan and hope and want, but it is never guaranteed. Our future together came to a very sudden end on the night I lost him. He was torn from my life when life was ripped from his body. It’s been more than two years since then and I feel like that was another lifetime ago, and in a way it was. I am not the me that planned all those plans and dreamed all those dreams. I am not the me that kissed him goodbye that night. The me that lives on today is a lot like that girl that I knew, but I am so vastly different. 

My daughter and I are in England on a trip to visit my mom. As much as I wanted to come over here to visit my mom, I had a hard time wanting to make this trip because this was supposed to be the three of us. I had visited here before a few times, but never with Matt. I wanted to make this trip with him. I wanted to see the sights and experience the culture with him. And now he’s not here and I can’t do those things with him.

I realize that those plans that we planned will never happen… for him. And for us. But some of them can still happen for me and for my daughter. Life has changed, everything is different. But here I am in England giving my daughter this experience that he will never have, doing things he will never do with us. I am heartbroken that he isn’t with us, but I am glad that I can give this to her. I am sad that I will never have the memories that I wanted to make with him, but I am happy that I get to make memories with my daughter, the little girl he gave me.

My life will never be the same. I am now a widowed mom to a three year old and a nanny, which means that everything falls on me all the time. I do not share the responsibility of caring for my daughter with a daycare or school or another parent. It is on me every moment of every single day. I do not get a break. I’m tired and stressed, I’m sad and broken. But I’m happy. I am happy because I owe it to my husband to look around and appreciate the things that I have that he is now missing. I am happy because of my daughter. She will never know her daddy, not really. She will never miss him or grieve him. One day she will start to grieve the parent she missed out on having, and that will be an easier loss for her to handle than the loss many children have to grieve. 

I am happy because I owe it to my husband to be happy. I want to live up to the person he saw when he looked at me. I need to be the mother he believed I would be. I need to be a happy mom for my daughter, and so I work at it. It’s not always easy to be happy. Sometimes it’s hard work just to push past all the reasons I want to give up on happy. But I’ve been working at it for two years now and I’ve gotten the hang of it. My daughter is a happy child. She lost her father at 13 months old and for the last two years she’s been raised by a grieving widow… and she’s happy. So I can’t help but think I must be doing something right.

I hope I am making my husband proud. I think I am. And I know that she will be ok, because I will be ok. We will both do fine because I have decided that happiness is a choice that I get to make, and I will continue to make it. 


Published by

Becky Nolan

I a widowed mom to my young daughter. I lost my husband suddenly at the age of 29, leaving me with a one year old child to raise on my own. I live in Connecticut, where I met, married, and lost the man that I am still proud to call my husband. Every day I struggle. Every day I learn. Every day I am grateful for the time I had with him, and for the little girl he gave me before he left. I have found comfort and healing in writing. I have found purpose in sharing my story, knowing that so many others have been through it, too. Knowing that everyone has experienced loss and struggle. Words can be healing when they come from that deeply honest place within the soul. Grief is too lonely a road to walk alone, so I aim to give comfort and company on that lonely road.

2 thoughts on “Widows Can Be Happy, Too”

  1. Well said. Life as a widow and as a widowed parent is so bittersweet. I am excited to see my two year old grow and change and learn things but I always feel the emptiness that my husband is not here.

    Liked by 1 person

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