Some feel unacknowledged and struggle to face the aftermath of their partners’ deaths in an endless health crisis.
“It was really difficult for me because I felt, man, I was all alone,” said Pamela Addison, 37, a teacher in Waldwick, New Jersey. Her husband Martin, a speech pathologist who worked in a hospital, died of the virus in April. “If Covid wasn’t here, all of our husbands would still be here.”
Ms. Addison ended up looking for other Covid-19 widows to speak to, and other women have managed to find each other by joining Facebook grief groups, which are also open to men. They have forged relationships similar to those of other groups of women whose husbands died unexpectedly and prematurely, including military spouses or widows of the 9/11 terrorist attacks. The women on the July Zoom call who live in the Chicago area have since become friends, meeting for dinner and checking in daily with short texts.
Coronavirus widows reported painful similarities: the experience of frantically caring for their husbands when they got sick, worrying about when to be taken to hospital, and feeling haunted by the images of their partners who to die without loved ones next to them.
“The generation I’m from, we took care of our husbands – that’s how we grew up,” said Mary Smith of Pekin, Illinois, who lost her 64-year-old husband Mike to the virus. “That was our job to be their cheerleader. They are used to it and suddenly you are no longer there. “
After her husband died, she flipped through his phone and found the lonely pictures he’d shot from his hospital bed. His food in a cardboard container. The oxygen machines. A selfie while wearing a breathing apparatus.