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Widowhood

  • A widow is a fascinating being with the flavor of maturity, the spice of experience, the piquancy of novelty, the tang of practised coquetry, and the halo of one man's approval.

  • ... the final lesson of learning to be independent — widowhood ... is the hardest lesson of all.

  • ... what she didn't know was the loss of self when a husband dies. What she didn't know was the cold side of the bed, the side that would never be warm again. What she didn't know was the hollowness of the halls of her home. Where was the deep voice, the heavy walk?

  • Widows must look for ways to keep busy, something has to get us up mornings. And keep us from taking naps afternoons.

  • ... I have lost the one who makes me own / the memory of pain with which I am obsessed. / Gone are the days of joy I once possessed. / With poison herbs my hard terrain is sewn. / I am a widow, robed in black, alone.

    • Christine de Pisan,
    • 1390, in Aliki Barnstone and Willis Barnstone, eds., A Book of Women Poets From Antiquity to Now ()
  • Anybody can become a widow. There aren't any special qualifications. It happens in less time than it takes to draw a breath. It doesn't require the planning, for example, that it takes to become a wife or a mother or any of the other ritual roles of womanhood.

  • Widowhood provided Mama with a higher form of being. In refusing to recover from my father's death she had discovered that her life was endowed with a seriousness her years in the kitchen had denied her. She remained devoted to this seriousness for thirty years. She never tired of it, never grew bored or restless in its company, found new ways to keep alive the interest it deserved and had so undeniably earned.