If I was living during those times, I’d formally be starting my second mourning period on the 18th of this month and as strange as it might sound to those who haven’t gone through losing a spouse, it seems nature and appropriate to call it that. There is a discernible shift in emotions after getting through all the ‘firsts’ that take place in the first year of wearing the widow label but you’re far from be healed inside. Sadly, our modern world no longer acknowledges this second mourning period. Get over it and move on with your life! widows are told. Well, duh! What do you think we’re trying to do? In widows’ circles, though, this second year that no longer has a formal name is still recognized instinctively by most women as a time to start rebuilding our lives. It's a nine month void in between heart-wrenching grief and finding a way to add color back into our lives. At least I hope it works that way for me. And I can't keep wondering why the Victorians picked nine months for the second mourning period and not eight, ten or twelve. All I can come up with in my musing is that it somehow ties into how long it takes to grow a life in the womb. Victorians were big on symbolism.
Shortly after my mother died in 1983 Don bought me an antique, second mourning period cameo and I’ve worn or carried it to every funeral I’ve been to since. Now that Don has passed, too, I have a dilemma in the jewelry department. If I wear all of my memorial jewelry to the next funeral I go to I’ll look like a Boy Scout with a chest full of badges. I’ll have my black cameo, my silver urn ash locket, a beaded necklace with Don’s wedding ring incorporated and my widow’s Word of the Year courage necklace. Oh, my! Take a memo, world: No one I know better die soon because this jewelry dilemma of what to wear to the funeral is not a choice I am ready to face yet.