An Open Letter to the Mayor, My Fellow Widow

In case nobody told you today, I want you to know that I see you. Grief sucks, widowhood sucks, and being in the public eye during all of it sucks, too. I’m so sorry you have to experience this. While our situations are very different, we both know the pain of losing a spouse, the person you loved more than anything in this world. It’s soul-crushingly lonely, and regardless of how either of our people died, I see you, and I understand.

During my college era, I spent several years as a server for Mahogany Prime Steakhouse, where I had the privilege of waiting on you and your husband quite frequently. You both were always wonderfully kind and considerate, never forgetting to stop and listen or say please and thank you. I remember one weeknight, in particular, you took the time to ask me about my life and studies. I commented on how stressed I was for an upcoming thesis presentation in my final weeks as an undergrad. Some time went by, and you and Joe returned yet again to a table in my section. You greeted me by my name and both made a point to ask me how my presentation went. You remembered.

It was at that point that solidified to me the kind of humans you two were, especially together. Here I was, a simple waitress working her way through college, waiting on the actual Mayor of Omaha and her doctor husband, the trauma surgeon, and you cared to know about my life. I know it probably didn’t mean much to you, and you may not even remember your regular waitress at your local 5-star steakhouse, but I will never forget that. I will never forget both his and your kindness to me. Thank you for that.

I don’t know how it feels to lose a husband to suicide. I don’t, and I’m so sorry that you do.

However, I do know exactly how it feels to lose a husband quite unexpectedly and unfairly. So believe me when I tell you that this pain you feel is excruciating and unlike anything most people can comprehend, but it does lessen. Not because time magically heals you or you’ll read a book that cures grief (don’t we wish), but because one day you will realize how much strength and love you have inside of you, the kind that can change the world.

But in the meantime, I want you to know that somebody sees you. I see you.

I see your bravery for going back to work even though it still hurts to breathe.

I see your strength for ignoring the opinions and ignorant comments of citizens that will never understand what it takes to be you.

I see your courage to get out of bed, even after rolling over to an untouched side.

I see your pain that you fight through every minute of every day, not for you, but for everyone else around you.

I see the amazing mother that you still are to your children, holding their grief before your own to try and lessen their pain.

I see how hard it is to stop the tears when something reminds you of him, or a song comes on that only he would play for you.

I see the fear of upcoming holidays and milestones that will feel totally different without him.

I see you choosing to keep going, to keep leading, and to keep breathing.

I see you.

You may never read this, and that’s perfectly okay with me, but just in case you do…I hope you know that you aren’t alone. Widowhood is a club that nobody ever wants to join, but I will tell you that you have a community of people that will always get it. Speaking from two-years out, the support of other widows has been invaluable.

Sending you the best hug I can give from behind a computer screen.

With love,

The Now 27 Year-Old Widow…Jayme

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