Yesterday was my 42nd birthday. I’m unbelievably grateful for the outpouring of celebration especially on social media where so many of us are finding community during a pandemic. I decided that the day should start with a toast to lost loves and no better way than a glass of Veuve Clicquot champagne – The Widow’s Champagne. In the 1700s in France, a woman named Barbe-Nicole Clicquot Ponsardin lost her husband and had to take the winery they built together forward. From her loss, she created a dynasty. Most likely you have seen this bottle but had no idea that it’s origins and the legacy sprung up from the Widowed Clicquot.
Being widowed has all of it’s own difficulties but adding this year take things to a whole new level. Everyone’s grief journey is unique but I can’t imagine what it’s like to be just newly widowed world during this time. At least I was gifted normalcy in my surroundings as I learned to take each new step away into my new future. I could have as many visitors as I wanted. I could travel all I wanted. I could choose to be surrounded or alone. Today that basic human support can be drastically withheld.
I can’t speak for the newly widowed in a pandemic but I can tell you that, even though I’m halfway through widowed year 3, my healing and growth has been greatly hindered. On the other hand, was I staying too busy to actually feel and is this some chapter in a divine plan to teach me a different perspective? What I do know from biology and the movie classic “Jurassic Park” is that life will find a way.
Yesterday I turned 42. To many, 40 is a big deal so really what is 42? For me, 40 was my first birthday without Clayton and 42 was his age. By April 16, 2021, on the fourth anniversary of his death, I will have out lived him. Yes, he was older so chances were that someday I would go through losing him and living on but never expected widowhood to arrive so very early in my life and our relationship. I am now his death age. That is a heavy, strong dose of my own mortality.
I share where I am at in my head and heart each week because I know there are others that feel the same and these topics have historically been kept in quiet closed-door conversations.
“Don’t air your dirty laundry” said someone back in the day.
Had Barbe-Nicole Clicquot Ponsardin not defied what others thought a widowed woman should be then she would never had reached me centuries later. To some it’s just champagne but to me it represents strength, perseverance and, most of all, hope. So I raise a glass, toast our strengths and release us all from the chains of guilted grief. Share your stories so others can find footed grounding and take a step forward. From pain there can be incredible power and hauntingly beautiful healing for you and countless others. Someday someone may read this blog and say “Me too”. In that moment, I will have bent time, broken the rules of death and hold space for the future grieving as they heal. That is widowed legacy…