The Gay Widower: 'Married' on Facebook and in My Heart
by Daniel Cano, M.S.
Facebook does not want to make me a Widower. I tell them I won't hold them accountable for what ever transpires as a result. Hey, I'm already crying a river each night, sometimes enough for three rivers. Recently I learned that Facebook had responded to an avalanche of request from widows about the availability of this designation. Their point being that they have a new identity that has been either placed upon them by circumstance or one that they prefer which best clearly identifies them. I can see their point. As I move along in my short journey with widowhood, I am beginning to take on this identity myself.
When your husband, wife, partner, lover, etc. has died, you suddenly find yourself quite alone. There will be good friends to come to your aid with support, but at some point, sooner than later, you have to face being alone. You will find that the least complicated way of introducing yourself is as a widow, or widower. Other responses bring on more questions, one's you may not feel like responding to at that given moment. Our relationships didn't end by choice. Our relationship didn't go sour, although there is definitely some bitterness that comes along with this. I have chosen to not go with the traditional black attire during this period, so there is little else that would tip off a new acquaintance to my current state of being...grief stricken me.
For now, I don't want to be thought of as suddenly single. I wasn't a big fan of singlehood, I did that scene for far too long. Meeting Michael was the best thing to come my way in a long time. I found him utterly adorable, funny, playful, and sweet on my eyes. He was smart, politically correct in all the right ways. He was well intentioned and a bit adventurous with his affections. He was the total package for me, and I fell hard. I believe I was the first one who made that awkward initial statement, Love's proclamation. It is rarely a moment that is thought out, and with Michael it burst forth from me in a moment of humor and laughter. I just couldn't keep it in any longer, and like the ol' song says "and then I go and spoiled it all by saying something stupid like I love you." (our song)
So, yes, I loved being in a relationship with Michael. We had our ups, we had our downs, we had some drama (me), and we had some stubborn silence (him). It was a full and happy relationship that eventually led to marriage, with the story book wedding. Oh, and yes, we are also gay!
Any way...I digress. I was talking about Facebook. I recently went to the personal details page, and thought I would test drive what it felt like to select 'widowed' as best describing me. But for some reason it kept defaulting to 'single.' This began to frustrate me to no end. I tried again, selected 'widowed,' it said 'single.' I decided I would see what it thought of me as 'In an Open Relationship,' it said fine. I tried 'it's complicated,' and once again it said fine. I even tried 'divorced,' Facebook said okay already, commit to one!
Then it had me wondering, is Facebook telling me that I cannot possibly be widowed because I am gay? Or is Facebook telling me that I cannot possibly be widowed because I am a young man of 50, who was married to a young man of 47, who thought their future together was limitless, with many wonderful adventures ahead, who pictured themselves in the future as old men sitting on the porch enjoying the late afternoon sun.
We had many dreams; he filled many of those in our short time together. I loved being married to Michael. So in defiance of his being taken from me too soon. I will take Facebook's suggestion, and stick to 'married' for now. I stuck to married in good times and in bad. I stuck to married in sickness and in health. And I stuck to married with Michael until death us did part. I am sticking to married.
'Widow married me!'
About Daniel Cano, M.S.:
Daniel Cano has a Masters Degree in family therapy. He writes from the place of being a recent gay widower. His husband, Michael, died September 13, 2009 of a brain tumor. In seeking online support he found there was little out their specifically for gay men. This led him to the decision to chronicle my grieving process through a blog. While there are mostly universal aspects of grief, we often look to support from those that most mirror our experience. Follow Daniel Cano on:
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