Monday, May 31, 2010

Rejoice? O Unwedded Widow...

I've done a lot of connecting with widows online lately, and I'm feeling more and more comfortable self-identifying as such. It's liberating. There's a word for me! I'll just add a modifier. "Unmarried widow." It reminds me of the classic Orthodox hymn, "Rejoice, O Unwedded Bride" (otherwise known as "Agni Parthene" in the Greek). If the Holy Theotokos (God-bearer) and Ever-virgin Mary can be called Unwedded Bride, why can't I be an Unwedded Widow? Not so sure about the "Rejoice" part...But if somebody can write a hymn called "Glory to God in all things" (which is beautiful, by the way) in the Gulag, starving to death in a concentration camp in Siberia, maybe at some point I'll be able to actually rejoice. (How on earth did he DO that? Well, I also wonder how St Gregory the Illuminator of Armenia managed to survive over a decade in a black basalt pit underground without losing his mind...I visited it once...Darkness, dampness, and silence...)

But one thing I can rejoice at: there is a word for me! Widow! Unmarried widow, unwedded widow...Add a modifier, I have a phrase. Xera Animfefte (Greek), Vdova Nenevestnyaya (Russian/Slavonic)*, Unwedded Widow. :)

*If these are totally off, could somebody let me know? Thanks.


  1. It does help to have a word for what you're going through! I'd say congratulations for finding it, but I don't think that's appropriate at all.

  2. @rita--I'll take 'congratulations'...It does so help to have a phrase to call oneself. It's so awkward to be like, "I'm a...I'm a...I need a word!"

  3. Unwedded Widow sounds like the title of a beautiful poem or painting.

    You have one of the saddest stories I've ever read. My thoughts are with you in this time of grief.

  4. It's sort of like when I was diagnosed with chronic fatigue syndrome. It didn't change anything, it didn't help make it better, but finally there was a NAME for what I had.

    Not quite the same thing......

  5. One of my favorite moments was when one of m's friends called to tell me "I want you to know I consider you M's widow. I saw you at the service, and that was my first thought." Deeply strange how being given that - title? - helped me. Far too many people decided, in their grand ignorance, that M and I were not serious because we weren't legally married. Hearing "widow" was a gift. Following sudden, accidental, incomprehensible death, well - good gifts are really good.

  6. @Rita--No, it is kind of the same thing.

    @yellowcat--Thank you!

    @megan--Yes, absolutely! Having a title helps. Having a word, a phrase, to call oneself. You are M's widow. Those of us in our situation...we need to band together...We are not alone! ((((HUGS))))