A Conversation With A Widow


I decided I wanted to sit and talk with today. Not because you need it but because I wanted you to know I’m thinking about you. In fact, you're on my mind a lot. I know what this time of year means to you. Don't look surprised...I am your friend.

So tell me, how are things? What have you been up to?

I don’t want to hear "nothing" and “everything’s fine.” We both know that's utter crap.

You’ve had a very rough go of it, haven’t you? Talk to me, tell me how you’re doing.

Ah. I saw that. People offered to be there for you and help you when you need it. They disappeared, didn’t they? You’ve forced yourself to do it all and I’m sorry for that. I’m here for you, dearest me.

All those promises made you angry, didn’t they? I’m sorry about that. But I’m very impressed that you were able to shrug that off and find some actual support. You found some true friends...and your widow tribe! That makes me so happy.

So what else is going on? Go on, I’m listening.

What about the boys? How are they? Anthony is still angry and still trying to find his way? Yes, you knew that would be hard for him. He had more time with his dad and he’s hurt because Dad is gone. Just be patient with him and support him as best you can. Alexander is your special baby and still keeps you up even when you’re low? Good. Just don’t rely on him for that all the time. He may have a negative reaction to his father’s death someday, or not. Just be vigilant...like I know you are.

I remember you told me about a conversation you had with Tony during your first pregnancy about bringing Black boys into the world and how Tony promised to be there no matter what? I would say this is the "no matter what." Tony is there keeping an eye on them. Is it obvious?

Your boys are great young men, images of their father. They will make him proud. Don't worry.

Again, how are you? Stop talking about everything else.

I realize it's been four years plus. You think you should be “better”? You should be “over it?” Who is saying that to you?

Your own self?

Hold up, there, sister. Think about what you are saying. You knew and loved Tony for nearly 25 years. What in the world makes you think that you can “get over “ that, let alone be “over it?” Love never dies, even if we do. Your sweet baboo was your love and you will never forget that,

Do you remember when you first called him “Sweet Baboo?” I do. The day you knew he was for you and there was no changing your mind about it. Bet he still answers to that!

So, think on this. Why would God gift you with such a strong love and then expect you to forget it because Tony’s body gave out? We don’t just love the body...we love the spirit too. As you already know, Tony’s spirit was very strong.

As for not feeling him with you anymore...he is always there. ALWAYS. He’s never left you. He protected you in life, so why would he stop now? God assigned you a special guardian angel...he just so happens to be the love of your life. This way he’s always protecting you whether you realize it or not.

I remember you told me once you were in your feelings one day driving to work. You looked at a truck in front of you and it said “Barnes Transport” with a pair of wings in the logo. You said your heart just jumped because you knew he was watching.

That kind of thing may not have happened lately but he is still looking out for you. Stop being so busy and just look for him.

Also, I know you aren’t getting out very much. Maybe try doing things you liked to do before, like going to the beach or taking short road trips. It's unhealthy to be to yourself so much. If I have to drag you out, I will.

Or, try something new you've always wanted to do...dancing maybe. Take a dance class. Be daring. Put yourself out there. Tony would expect that from you.

Also, keep writing. Keep trying. Keep doing what you love. Never give up on life or yourself.

Just my thoughts on things. Something to consider.

It's okay to feel sad. It's okay to miss him. It's okay to cry like your heart is breaking. Keep wearing his ring, or not. Whatever you need, just do it. Do what you need to do to grieve. It's no one's business but yours.

It's also okay to find new friends and love again, if you choose. Give yourself permission to do you. No one else has the right, and no one knows you better to be able to tell you otherwise.

My sister...never forget your strength. Never forget your power. You've been navigating this path all on your own. No one knows it better than you, and no one can do it, except you. I am so proud of you for picking yourself up every single day and handling your business like the Queen you are.

Love you, Sister.

Cheryl Barnes

Cheryl Barnes was born in Atlanta, Georgia and works as a bookkeeper at an association management company. She attended college at Indiana University Bloomington, majoring in Public and Environmental Affairs Management. While in college, she met Martin “Tony” Barnes. They became inseparable and were married December 24, 1991. After five years of marriage, their first son, Malcolm, was born on New Year’s Eve, 1991. ​ After Tony obtained his Master’s Degree in Social Work, the family moved to Orlando, Florida where she was employed by her dream job, Walt Disney World. Two years later, their second son was born. Cheryl later left Disney and accepted a job in accounting with a property management company. After the death of her husband in 2014, and as a way to work through her grief, she started writing, at first, only for herself. But, being encouraged by others, she began publishing her blog, “Widowness and Light.” Additionally, she is also the founder of Black and Widowed: A Unique Journey Private Facebook group and a contributing author of the book, Widowed But Not Wounded: The Hustle and Flow of 13 Resilient Black Widowed Women, blogger for Hope For Widows Foundation and lead blogger for Black Women Widows Empowered. Her hobbies include reading, attending Orlando Magic games, yoga, going to the beach, making jewelry, and spending time with her boys. She currently plans to return to school to obtain a Master’s Degree in Social Work so that she can help other widowed persons cope with their loss. Contact: You can reach Cheryl through her public Facebook page, Widowness and Light, which is based on her widowed journey.

#CherylBarnes #widow

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