SB and JS Wedding 1974
Picture of Janet


Marriage vs Widowhood

Reading Time: 4 minutes

On this day, 50 years ago, Silent Bob and I married. 

On January 31, 2024, I will have been a widow for 4 years. 

It’s funny the things I miss, the things I have learned in the last 4 years. 

I have a surprisingly fuzzy memory about SB’s temper, for which he is legendary in some circles. It was a frustration for many of us. But the odd thing is that I find myself more often reminiscing about holding his hand. I wish I could do that one more time. SB had nice hands. Strong and warm. When I least expect it my mind will wander to a day when we had taken a walk around the creek by our house. Those woods were a haven for us, all of us, his sons and visitors alike, even my mother. A classic gulf coast watershed creek, the banks were steep dunes of fine sand that had built up over flash flood events. I had trouble scaling one particular bank, the sand giving way beneath my flip-flops. He’d managed the route better and reached his hand down and pulled me up. I remember thinking then as I grabbed it how warm his hands always were, the sureness of his hold as he helped a woman who he knew to be more independent than even she realized. 

I barely recall his insistence to reread the never changing Popeye’s menu before he would make a choice, but weekly I think how much I loved hearing the TWACK of his driver on contact with the little white ball and what it was like to caddy for him. SB was who he was meant to be on the golf course. I liked everything about spending that time with him, hearing him logic through his course management strategies and well, yes, manage his temper. Hmmm.. well mostly…  I remember the excitement he had for the game, the pure way he played it. I even liked watching him put his golf shoes on, checking the cleats as he leaned against his car. Golf was a passion for him. I am glad that is one of the last things he and I did. 

I remember the first time, he and I in bed, as he wrapped his legs around mine, how different they felt. I had only slept with my mother when I was younger and her mostly shaved legs, slightly stubbled, were much different than a man’s. Young and with the world ahead of us, we were novices at selflessness, just learning what it meant to put another first. I remember each time with SB as our sons were born. He was proud to be the father to those three. But I also remember the difficult times we had before our family, two young people who were very different in backgrounds and expectations, who barely knew each other. I find myself with regret.  I wish I had gotten wiser before he was gone. I would not have held him accountable for the stupid things we all do when we are young and learning to navigate a covenant relationship. 

I miss having someone who after many years knew who I was and was okay with that or at least loved me enough to make that a true statement in their heart. I miss having someone to come home to. I miss SB bringing me my coffee on cold mornings and buying two of everything on my grocery list. I miss not being able to make up for some of the things I didn’t do right.

I am trying to say something to you. To anyone who loves someone and is trying to make a relationship work or is tired of trying. I don’t wish loss for you. But unfortunately, loss teaches you things. So learn from my loss. 

Committed relationships are difficult. Full stop. 

If you are just starting out, talk honestly about what each of you believe is important. Don’t judge when it’s your turn to listen. And listen, I mean like actually hear what they are saying. Don’t give up on the things that will make your bond stronger, but don’t hold on to hurts if an apology was truly given. If its not going to work, get out. But don’t think that there is someone perfect. Commitments are beautiful and they are worth it, but they aren’t guarantees. They are promises to be strong for each other in the good and the bad, and were never meant to provide idyllic companionship. There is no such thing.

If you’ve been together a medium amount of time, know this: your partner is as irritated with you as you are with them. They get as tired of some things about you as you do about them. Step back and take perspective. It’s easy to get caught up in a negative viewpoint. You will lose the truth of who that person is. Odds are, they have nice warm hands even if it drives you crazy that every time they go to Popeyes its choose your new adventure. You are the only one to balance your viewpoint. Do that consciously and continuously.

If you manage being together a long time, one of you is likely to be a caretaker of the other, or one will live without the other. 

It’s almost 2024. Age doesn’t affect the necessity for relationship. We are hardwired for them. Find one if you don’t have one. Cherish every day starting now. Don’t spend a lot of time in what happened or what might happen. The hard work, the faith required, will always be worth investing your time and heart in loving someone. Weather the storms, pray a lot, find joy wherever it is, and I pray you are like me and count on something after this where love is everlasting. 

Then when you get old like me, you will look back and think, despite it all, I was rich beyond measure,  blessed in all the ways that matter. 

Love, Janet



33 Responses

  1. Thank you Janet. As you may recall, I lost Leonard to brain cancer when he was 39 years old. I have Trey and Madison, though and now my first grandchild named for Leonard and me. Unfortunately, my second husband has a malignant brain tumor too. It’s not as aggressive as Leonard’s was but still…
    Life is strange at times. I loved this beautiful post today. Feel my hug. Nora

    1. I am sorry for those awful brain tumors. Nora, I am sure you are the best, most loving grandmother. God bless you!

  2. Janet, thank you for your openness. David & & I were married 50 years this past May. All the things you shared are so true!! I treasure SO much about this precious man God gave me &’the wisdom & patience he has shown over all these years.

  3. Janet, so true. Thanks for your candor and your gifted ability to express things correctly.
    I love and appreciate you.

  4. Janet, this was a beautiful post, with so much wisdom. It made me cry…you hit the mark. Hope it helps the young couples. Love you❤️

  5. Thank you, Janet, for your words of wisdom to all ears that possibly needed to hear these words.
    I have been married 50 years soon to the love of my life and we are best friends. I agree that we need to look at each positive quality in our spouse and cherish the one who God made possible to have and to hold. You know the other side, and you have wisdom that we cannot see yet, but we need to be aware to appreciate more each day!
    Thank you, Janet

  6. Thank you for sharing. Laura and I will soon hit year 47 of marraige, and your words ring true. Especially the part where you said, if you can’t make it work, leave. You see, this is the second marraige for both of us! I’m very glad that we found each other. I didn’t know SB, but I think I would have liked him. I think you chose well.

  7. So true Janet. James has been gone one year this week. We were married 51 years.
    I hope newly married couples will listen to the lesson here.
    Listen to each other, share your thoughts with each other and over look the petty things that irritate you.
    Being a widow is hard. You miss so many little things that you took for granted. Enjoy every moment you have together.

  8. Oh, Janet, your words made my eyes misty. What heartfelt emotion you shared about SB and yourself. Max and I have been married 54 years and I cannot imagine life without him. However, I have also learned that loss is a good (even though severe) teacher for us all. You have managed to remind us to not take our loved ones for granted but also to not worry over our regrets. God ( and our spouses) know our hearts and we will, eventually, be united in an eternal place that surpasses even the best of times on earth.

  9. Janet, I hear your heart in these words of wisdom that remind me to fully embrace and enjoy the simple pleasures I am given in life with my loved ones. Your words ring true and inspire me to make the moments I have right now count because one day I will be without any more moments …
    I’m thankful for you being in my life!

  10. Janet,
    Thanks so much for sharing. You are always authentic and your wisdom keeps maturing like a fine wine. Your words hit home for me. One of my biggest fears is losing my Bill after 40 years. He and I are as different as they come. He is strong when I am weak, and I know I complement him in some ways too. We also have other differences that we overcome in one way or another. Thanks for sharing from the other side. The weight of picky things dissolves over time. The important part is the love we have shared for a long long time. The way we reach to hold hands even when we’re asleep. The consistent morning hugs. Being there for each other. Your message makes me pause in gratitude for all of it. So sorry for your pain, Janet. It’s a tough teacher, and you are growing as an even more beautiful soul. Love you Janet.

    1. Ann, you have always been good to support my writing. And I thank God for your Bill and your marriage. SB really liked Bill. love to you all.

    1. You have always been a friend, the kind that one can always count on. Blessings on you and yours, Maia. I am glad we are friends.

  11. Beautiful words, Janet. I experienced so many of those feelings as well when I lost Wayne after 44 years together. l also found the heart can expand and have found love again. One thing is sure – as Scott Fitzgerald said – “There are all kinds of love in this world, but never the same love twice”. Memories are a beautiful thing. Thank you for sharing your journey.

    1. Christi, I think of you often. We had some great times together as couples. I am happy for your new love. That is real blessings!

  12. Hi Janet,
    I read your post this first day of the new year.
    Steve & I will be married 50 years next month, so your words were especially meaningful to me.
    We take so much for granted. Thank you for reminding me what is really important!
    Sending much love to you❤️

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