For most of us, the term widow evokes visions of an older, even elderly, woman, left to live out her days without her long-time love. A natural, albeit devastating, part of life – after all, someone has to go first.
For some women, though, sudden loss of love comes much earlier than expected, bringing with it a host of surprising challenges alongside the tragedy of a young life lost.
“As a widow you’re suddenly thrown into a new world,” says Cynthia Tainui, spokesperson for Young Widows, a community support group for people who have lost their spouses at a younger age. “There are things you have never had to deal with before, things your spouse would be responsible for in the relationship, decisions you now need to make on your own.”
Young widows are often under tougher scrutiny from loved ones than those who lose their spouse in the later stages of life, she says, particularly in regard to how quickly they “move on” with their lives.