Widower Ed Hersh (Texas) shares a powerful letter he wrote following the passing of his beautiful bride, Shellie. Ed’s letter speaks volumes about the plight of the 2.7 million widowers in America. He has authorized me to share it with you below.
“It was very nice of you to call me yesterday afternoon. You sounded perplexed when I told you that I am still on a roller coaster. I thought that writing might be easier for me to attempt to share what I am going through and how my life has been permanently impacted.
“Loosing Dad and Shellie a month apart of each other has been more than most people can handle, myself included. You know that Dad and I were very close. Shellie and I were married just months short of 25 years—an accomplishment by all standards of today.
“In May, Jonathan graduated college, an event that Shellie had been looking forward to for the last three years. It was one of two goals she set to live for when she was diagnosed in April, 2008. Watching Jonathan march in procession and receive his diploma was both joyful and tearful. The dinner Shellie and I planned in Dallas went on as planned, but not without tears. No way could I have had a party at the house to honor Jonathan having just lost Shellie.
“Life as a single parent is not easy as I’m sure you have heard from Belinda. Being a single parent of children who have lost their mother is even more difficult. We will go through life celebrating more graduations, engagements, weddings, births and bar mitzvahs—all joyous but without their mother who died at a young age.
“After being together for 25 years, I am now without my partner and lost. Marriage is the joining of two halves to make a whole and I am now half again. Who am I and what do I want? I don’t know.
“I am alone, don’t want to burden my sons and am lonely, yet not ready for large social gatherings. I go to shul weekly for Kaddish for Dad and Shellie, yet I leave with an empty and unfilled inner self. I have seen counselors and rabbis. Yet I am unable to truly communicate and receive the words of solace that I seek. Had I only lost one I would have had the other to truly comfort me. Now, there is no one. I am told that it takes time and I’m sure that that is true. My world has turned inside out and I am searching–for what I don’t know, but am told that I will know when I find it. Friends and acquaintances can not understand, not that I expect them to, but they have abandoned me for many reasons: not knowing what to say or my regressing inward or not wanting a single person in the mix or whatever, I don’t know.
“Anyhow, I did appreciate your call and thanks for listening.
THANK YOU Ed for sharing your words with those who turn to the Widower’s Support Network for understanding and comfort.