Have your heard of it? I didn't. Not when the United Nations ratified it in 2015, not when it was petitioned for over 10 years. I didn't hear much about widows....and I was a widow!
This vitally important day of raising awareness for the needs of widows worldwide receives little recognition in the media. Instead, as we are coming through the tail end (fingers crossed) and out of this isolating quarantined, pandemic days... we know more about the TV sitcom FRIENDS reunion and football draft than we know what's available at our own local places of worship and cities for widowed women and their families!! How do we change this?
This is shocking to me since COVID-19 has been a WIDOW MAKING MACHINE. It's estimated that over 2 million new widows were created since more men have died in the age range of married stage of life. I can tell you at Modern Widows Club, we are seeing this happen in our organization at alarming rates. The even more shocking part is how little attention we are getting from donors or foundations who do not seem to recognize this reality happening. Widows organizations need your support to survive, so please donate a little or a lot- every dollar serves a widow. That's the truth.
Days like International Widows Day are supposed to be days of great awareness and hopefully, funding and supporting those worthy causes. Yet, widows have fallen into a grey area of despair and invisibility- the great sin of omission - in every sector of our societal systems- religious, political and social.
Don't believe me- think about who is the biggest widow advocate in your place of worship? Whose the biggest author defending the cause of the widow? Whose the most active politician rallying for widow causes and injustices? Where would you send your wife, mother, daughter if she suddenly today became a widow?
Not knowing instantly the answers to these questions shows how forgotten widows are in culture and society. We aren't even given an opportunity to speak in these arenas or to be heard. And why is this?
I have a theory.... and a video asking strangers at the Orlando Farmers Market.
Because it's easy to forget people who are truly suffering when so many do not understand what true suffering is at the highest degree. Losing a spouse is the most stressful life event, it's 100 units of stress (second highest is divorce at 73 points, having a baby 39 points).
Widowhood isn't a choice.
To be married is a choice. To be divorced is a choice. To have a baby is a choice. To be widowed is not a choice.
So widowhood is experienced with a sense of abrupt ending, shock and uncertainty when one moment you belong to another and the next, that other is gone forever and you belong to you. It's like nothing I've ever experienced. It's why I needed widow mentors, community, physicians who understood the biological impact on the homeostasis of my body, counselors who were experienced in severe trauma therapy, spiritual advisors who were compassionate about the struggles of daily reality and friends/ family that were supported in understanding me as a widow instead of me having the responsibility to teach them in my grief.
The moment right after becoming widowed- the moment right after I fell to the ground in a primal scream in trauma ICU - the moment right after I donate his real heart on Valentine's Day - the moment right after I told my little daughters 2 and 4 that daddy wouldn't ever come home again - the moment right after our company partners kicked me out of my own company - the moment right after I was left alone two weeks after the funeral - the moment right after all of this....I realized I was not in control of anything in my life except my choices to seek hope, heal, grow and somehow lead a life I didn't even know how to start. I felt like an alien on earth.
And when someone who works hard for their whole 37 years of life to get to where they are and suddenly, in one less breathe, much of that is gone. The appropriate response is shock, emotional pain and distress. No woman should do this alone....yet, that is the experience of millions around the world and it needs to stop.
That is why we have an International Widows Day of Awareness. Please, if you want to learn more, first go talk to any widow in your life and ask them to 'Tell You More" about the reality of widowhood and ask them if they know about this day of awareness for them to be honored and heard.
Just doing those two things changes everything everywhere. It always starts with small actions for big causes. You are so important in this process and only you can make change happen. I hope you will do your part.
If you want to learn more, go to Modern Widows Club Revolutionizing Widowhood pdf and video presentation. These two solutions chart a future course for modern widows club, outlining our history, our successes, and presenting a vision for international growth. Learn for yourself the impact it's having on building resilience for families and communities and for generations to come.
Someone asked me once "Why it Matters in 3 Questions"
Be a voice for the voiceless on International Widows Day June 23. Share your story with the world on this day of awareness. Invisible Women, Invisible Problems un.org/en/events/widowsday/
1- Why do we need an International Widows Day.
2- What are the daily hardships of being a widow?
3- What can those who aren't widowed do to help the widowed community?