When you hear the word widow, what images does it conjure up for you?
In my mind a widow is like the old hag giving Snow White the poison apple. She is baron, she's old, grey, her life is gone and theres an ache of sadness, or bitterness that surrounds her.
I searched the word widow on Google and came up with familiar descriptions, with words such as bereft, to 'be empty', derelict or a relic, finding their space in the description, or understanding.
The basic term; a woman who's husband has died.
At 32 years old, with two young daughters, only the odd grey hair and hopefully a whole heap of future ahead of me, I found myself becoming a widow.
I have had to learn to accept that the world has a perception of what this means.
That I was supposed to play a certain role and behave in a way that fit an archetype that everyone else could understand.
Only I don't fit that mould and I wont play to anyones tune.
I wont wear a black veil of mourning and will in fact wear lipstick and get my hair and nails done.
Even though I have and will cry for the loss of my friend and my husband, I will laugh and love and most importantly live.
At 32 I did not want my life to be over just because we had been dealt a rubbish hand.
My husband didn't want mine and my daughters lives to be over, we talked about this topic endlessly.
Grief is nuanced and confusing and riddled with all kinds of societal guilt, that if you allow will eat away at you and swallow you whole.
At times in this fairly new process for me (we are now 18 months in) I have allowed other peoples judgements and misunderstandings of the way I have dealt with my pain seep into my heart and infect my mind.
For those of you out there who have been thrust into a club you didn't seek to be part of and been forced out of a relationship you didn't choose to end then I reach out to you and tell you to LIVE.
Move forward, soak up life, laugh with friends, seek out love, wear bright clothes, dance, sing and for those in the back I shall say it once more, LIVE!
If you have lost someone that you love, then you are acutely aware of the simple fact that LIFE IS SHORT, so what are you wasting time asking for permission for?
We can't change the loss, but we can decide how we want our lives to go moving forward.
That's down to us.
I know this can be hard, because you have to accept that plan A hasn't worked out the way you wanted it to, but once you hit acceptance, focus on being flexible in mindset and deciding to create an amazing life for yourself.
Who knows what road this will take you down, but as an eternal optimist, I think that (even if you cry sometimes along the way,) you will be very happy and you don't have to wear the black veil and give Snow White the deadly apple either.