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The Scarlet W: An Introduction

Michele Kennedy

Guest Blogger


What does a widow look like.
Does it look like me.

Can you see the scarlet W on my chest or in my eyes when we meet.

Do I look different.
Once you know.

I took our 11 year-old daughter to try out a new riding barn on that warm, sunny Saturday morning. Before we left, I told my husband. I can’t go on like this.

The barn was unorganized.
Chaotic.
My daughter rode a horse.
With spurs.

I turned my phone off at the barn. I was so spent. He hadn’t slept for months and was up for a job promotion. He was also warding off a family conflict. The kind that involves lawyers.

I didn’t get the call. My daughter was using my phone to play Subway Surfers. When we arrived home, there were policemen gathered on our sidewalk. I knew immediately what had happened but my brain tried to tell me that something terrible had happened to my cat instead.

Tragic things. X-rated things. Sad. Sexy. Unthinkable things. They are all in my mind. I thought they would stay there. Forever safe. However.

Things have escaped.

Sometimes, when I type them up on the page, I have to look away. Fuuuuuuuck.
Is it legal to let them out like that. For everyone to see. Including me.

It’s been over 4 years since that most terrifying day and things are different now. I’m a different person. Adjusting to life as a single mom has been a challenge. Adjusting to life as a single mom during a pandemic has been my second greatest challenge. WTF.

Yet. I’m so lucky. My family, my friends. My new hobbies that have carried my through - including writing creative non-fiction about all of the wild and weird snapshots of life that have happened. Frankly. I’m entertained.

Most of all, I’ve learned how to take care of myself. And sometimes taking care of myself means leaning on someone else. Mentally, emotionally, physically.

My husband of 20 years died by suicide in July of 2018.

Hey. My name is Michele. And I’m that widow.
The one with the (slowly fading)
Scarlet W.

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