It occurred to me this week, as I stretched my mind awkwardly to a place it had never gone before, that as a widow and full-time working mummy, and probably for the first time in my life, I have almost no single male friends (well, in Sydney anyway). And for someone who has such an inappropriate sense of humour and perhaps a little more testosterone than most ladies do, I’ve got to say that it feels a little weird.

Of course I have lovely male friends who are married or the partners of my female friends, and the many inspiring men that I work with, but for all that they are in my life, they are not the ones I can call to see a movie, share a ridiculously inappropriate joke with, or ask to come help me fix something that I have NO idea how to tackle. And let’s be honest: if I asked your husband out for dinner, independent of you, because I felt like hanging out with a dude, it would seem a little odd, right?

It feels a self-indulgent thing to whine about when there are so many special people in my life, but somehow very necessary to bring attention to because I never imagined myself here. I never envisioned that I’d be still walking around with a heavy heart and the ever-present conundrum of how to be solely responsible for my two delicious little cubs, and that I would now have to not only deal with what it means to be a widow, but so too the less compassionate status of ‘single female.’ And whilst this post may be brushing up against ‘poor me’ territory, it is more about acknowledging this bizarre and unexpected place that I, and I imagine so many others, find myself at.

However, given my absolute commitment to manifesting the aspects of my life that have me feel whole,  I decided to consciously get out there and make new male friends, regardless of how utterly challenging the prospect seemed.

So a little while back, I attempted to set up a play date for my son after ‘the guys’ had shared a great time skating, but I found out pretty quickly that we all have different rules about what is and isn’t appropriate once you have transitioned from the ’how sad, she lost her husband’ widow to the predatory ‘black’ widow, which I hadn’t realised but apparently, whilst very much unspoken, has an ever-so-clear date of transition.

I’ll just also add here, with my less consciously aware hat on and at  the risk of throwing an emotional grenade into your living room, I do wonder why it is that widowers (men who have sadly lost their wives) are consistently treated with compassion and the perspective that holds them in a place of being utterly trustworthy in the role of platonic relationships with the opposite sex. And yet as a widow, it seems there is a specific time where, without realising it, you transition from the victim into the deviant on the prowl.

Anyway, after my attempt to organize the skate date, I received a ranting call from an apparently NOT happily divorced woman, which was delivered so loudly that I actually had to hold the phone away from my ear, and which would have filled a cursing jar with enough change to buy dinner for two! I won’t relay the entire rather one-sided conversation, but it went something like this:

‘You****ing ______ – - – - -!!!!. Go find your own —— to – - – -!!!!**************  you —-*****!!!!!! —- you ***!!!!!!!

Whilst this poor frantic woman shrieked at me, I had a tremendous reality check happen: in the very apparent sadness, anger and fury that circled this existing relationship, I was reminded once again of how just lucky I am to be living the life I do and that despite the way I have been viewing this current chapter that has me feeling a little friend and companionless, I am very much here for a reason.

And no sooner had I put the phone down, almost only a few seconds after the irate call had ended, little Indi tapped me on the shoulder in her joyful little way and said.

Mummy…when can we have a new daddy? And can I call him dada, cause I really like that and my friend calls her dad that?’

However, as children often do in that very present way they exist, living life moment to moment, it was with a quick shake of her curls and a spring in her step that she bounced as quickly out of her thoughts as she had momentarily bounced in.

So whilst this piece is more pondering than poetic or inspiring, it is a post that attempts to bring awareness to this rather awkward  stage that you, I or we may find ourselves at. Where out of the blue and unexpectedly, we have found ourselves hurdled back into the school of life, where the playground is far from co-ed!

So dear community, in my commitment to share the ups and downs, the living, learning and loving of my life, I leave you with my favourite quote of the moment, which was sent to me by my own coach, the wonderful John Dashfield, after enduring another 60 minutes of me whining self-indulgently about a bunch of negative thoughts that I have been choosing to contextualise my life with.

“In my experience, we don’t make thoughts appear, they just appear. One day, I noticed that their appearance just wasn’t personal. Noticing that really makes it simpler to inquire….

…Life is simple. Everything happens for you, not to you. Everything happens at exactly the right moment, neither too soon nor too late. You don’t have to like it… it’s just easier if you do….

 I am a lover of what is, not because I’m a spiritual person, but because it hurts when I argue with reality.”

Byron Katie

  • spice

    I’m with you girl:) that cougar is roaring to get out,get you some young meat,lol.I am turning 38 today and my husband is 10 years younger than me,keeps me on my toes.We have two kids together and i have 3 others from a previous marriage.We have a lot of fun,we balance each other out.there are times for seriousness and of coarse time to play :) guy friends are a must. I prefer guy friends than girl friends sometimes I just don’t get them.plus guys are fun to challenge,and hang out with.I’m full of life and free spirited.I like to get up and go,the term too old will not work,still so much life to live.take care girl,and unleash yourself,let go preferably on some hot meat ;) sorry if to explicit its cougar time :)

  • Lucky 7 Tattoo Tahoe, Ca.

    Happy to come down to Oz for a holiday – teach that broad who shreeked at you on the telephone some “manners”. Wink wink

  • Valli

    Love what is and what will be. Go out and find those single men. Love is out there. Find somebody to love like the Queen song screams out find me somebody to love. Get those friends to find you single people they know. The Hunt is on.
    Valli

  • Eve.h

    Hi Vashti, it must have been unpleasant and funny at the same time. Anyway I wish you all the best and love. You deserve somebody great!
    Greetings from the Czech republic

  • Susan_Mangan

    Hi Vashti,
    I can totally relate to this one. I also have great male friends who are not single but, like you, no-one to be able to ring up for a spontaneous beer or trip to the cinema.
    And I have also noticed that when you’re single at a certain age you suddenly become “the predator”. Everyone thinks you want their man – as if – the state of some of them!! hee hee!
    But in relation to the unhinged woman on the phone i’ve come to the conclusion that maybe that’s not such a bad reaction. Wouldn’t it be worse if you weren’t seen as a threat. At least this way you know you still got it!!!
    Love the quote by the way x

  • Phillis-USA

    I have been in this similar situation after my divorce. My divorce broke my heart and soul. I too have 2 children. At that time my male friends were “our mutual friends”. Mostly all married. I did in their eyes become a sex starved predator, LOL! Quite the contrary. I did manage to have one male friend who was single and could be called upon to fix a leaky pipe. I decided to network with friends to introduce me to men. Not for my next husband but for companionship. I have never had the relationship you had with Andy. I am open to such.

    What caused me sadness was your child asking when will there be another daddy? My children as well wanted the same. So hard to deal with your own pain and sadness and to help your children with theirs. I’d like to share with you one of my favorite prayers that I have on my refrigerator that I love:

    May today there be peace within you.
    May you trust that you are exactly where you are meant to be.
    May you not forget the infinite possibilities that are born of faith.
    May you use those gifts that you have received and pass on the love that has been given to you.
    May you be confident knowing you are a child of God.
    Let his presence settle into your bones and allow your soul the freedom to sing, dance, praise, and love.
    It is there for each and every one of us.

    I wish you peace and love.

  • Teresa B

    You know I cant imagine being where you are and how hard that would be Vashti… Your circumstaces are so much more than the heartbreak of being a widow. The fact that you and Andy are both so well known, the fact that your a very strong smart and beautiful woman, which in itself makes for finding a companion who appreciates that, and is not threatened or jealous of such, alone is hard to do, not to mention all the other I just spoke of. Do we need to manage those things in a specific amount of time or worry about that Vashti? Im thinking you take all the time you want or need! My heart just goes out to! You know what I love… When I get up having one of those thoughts about the day ahead, how do I do this and how do I get through this( topic for another day!)
    There is one of your posts from maybemcqueen to take my mind off of all of it and get lost as always in your heart felt words! Thank you Vashti for always being there for us ” to whine to you”!! Much love and respect from AZ. Have a great day hon and NOW I will to!!

  • GiGi Holbrook

    Ahaha! So good! So good! Not a single, but I certainly feel you, because you write from your heart and it’s easy to connect with your words. Much love!

  • Beth F.

    I completely understand you wanting single male friends to hang out with in a platonic way, so you can joke around with in ‘inappropriately’ and have the best time doing it! I regularly hang out with my boyfriend and his single construction buddies, all dudes but me. It’s a blast! I have a little more testosterone than most women do too ;-) I wish you lived close, because I’d LOVE for you to come and hang out with them. However, I do see how challenging it could be for a single female in general to hang out with dudes. It’s not you as much as the insecurities of other females (the irate divorcee). Apparently they may not trust their significant other or had issues in the past. On the flip-side, you being a beautiful and desirable woman, you may have a difficult time finding straight men without history (as in long time male friends in the U.K.) who want to hang out with you without hoping for a ‘hook up’ one day. It’s more about the men than you! You can find some good dudes to hang out with though. Don’t worry about what other people think about you, people will think what they want no matter what you do! YOU know your intentions and they are innocent and that’s all that matters! xx

  • Penny Douglas

    My dear Vashti, I have thought of this matter about you alot. I know how hard it is. There is much I could share with you just about my own life, but my circumstances are a bit different from yours. I have been married twice. My first husband died, after 10 years of marriage and my 2nd husband was an abusive monster. I do have alot of faith and I just asked God to get let my son and I finally be rid of this evil nightmare and I have been single ever since. I am 50 years old now and my health is so bad that I am not looking for a man, but don’t get me wrong I know a fine looking man when I see one. I am currently smitten over Chris Hemsworth, and I can oooh and ahhh at the tv screen at him but that is as far as I go with it. When it comes to you, beautiful lady, you are still very young and vivacious, spirited, and beautiful and I do think that you will find love and companionship some day soon. I know that you will choose a great man because you chose Andy. It doesn’t get much better than him, so the bar is quite high and whomever wants to be with you is gonna have to be a good one. I have a feeling in my heart that you will find that special man, just take it slow and make sure it is right for you and the cubs! Do I miss out on certain things that a loving companion could give, but I figure that I have had two bad marriages and am not trying for a 3rd. I had to learn a long time how to accept that and go on. I hope that helps some my dear. Love to you and the babies. You are all so special to me and in my heart always. Love, Penny <3

  • Lizl

    I feel you and understand you. Single but not a mother, like the song of Alanis Morissette: I’m a bitch, I’m a lover…Wish you love and happinez

  • Claire

    I’m the same, Vashti – not a single male friend I can call upon for anything. Not that many female ones either, truth be told….and sometimes my dear, we NEED to ‘whine self-indulgently’ to just get the feelings out there so we can deal with them.
    I sometimes envy you the love you had with Andy, Vashti…I’ve never had that with anybody, and I’m almost the same age as you. To experience those deep feelings, and have them reciprocated….what must that be like :(
    And oh, how like Andy young Jesse is :)

  • Mai Parks

    Vashti ,
    My mother in law was widowed about a year , when she heard of a club for single, divorced , and widowed. Her good friend Sheila , who is married , went along with her. She was amazed at the number of people who just wanted someone of the opposite sex for something as normal as going to the theatre or opera or just a movie. The fact that 5yrs later, she still has some male and female friends from that group. It helps if , like you , she is intelligent, well read and jolly good company!
    Sickeningly , she’s 76 and looks late 50′s early 60′s!
    Get out there girl ! What will be , will be.
    Much love mama Lioness and love to your gorgeous cubs !

  • Alexis

    The answer is parked right out side or in your garage as the case may be. Your bike is the key. Men who ride can be the best of friends and often even if they are in a relationship, they ride alone and make the most awesome buddies.

  • Kristin

    That is a great story. One that brings a smile to someone who knows exactly where you’re coming from. No one really knows the ups and downs of single motherhood unless your a single mother. I think that’s why your story tickled me. Thanks for sharing it! Rock on.

  • Rivke

    I find I more converse with males than females. Ive always been a tomboy with a tough, no nonsense, competitive, aggressive attitude. I have noticed that now that I am older the amount of men I am friends with has dwindled due to them becoming husbands and fathers. It often makes me sad because I dont know many women with the same perspective on life as I have and can’t really stand spending time with them talking about celebrities and other gossipy nonsense. But I dont know how to make friends with guys in a platonic, just friends kind of way now because they generally seem to get the wrong idea. LOL!

    I think Beth F hit it pretty much on the head though.

    It is nice to know other women out there have similar issues.

    Blessings to you all!

  • Sally T.

    Everything happens FOR you. What an amazing way for us to look at our lives. It’s so much more empowering than the default position of ‘this and this and this happened and so I can’t.’ We can, and when we choose to, we will. Wonderful share, Vashti.

  • jeanette f

    I truly enjoyed reading this:-) Thank you Vashti.

  • Michelle Hutchings

    Dear Mrs Whitfield

    My name is Michelle (chelly). I am writing to you to see if you may be able to be a spokeswoman for adults with Leukemia. I realise that it may not be a subject you want to approach right this moment, but i hope, given time that you may.

    I found out that I have CML about 2 yrs ago, about the same time i happened upon Spartacus. The violence in the show helped me to deal with my own anger towards my own leukemia. At that time i had no idea who Andy Whitfield was or that he was a very sick man. I fell in love with the show & ended up buying the DVD’s. Then i found out that your husband had passed from his Non Hodgkin s Lymphoma. I was gobsmacked, he made that series & did all of the exercising while having his Cancer & i cannot even begin to tell you how much that effected me with my own cancer. It gave me a right kick in the behind, because i was sad, angry & just plain defeated mentally until i re-watched the series, this time paying more attention to the amount of energy & strength your amazing husband had to utilise to make this something for me to be entertained. Your husband was an amazing man & has since become both my idol & my inspiration.

    It effected me so much that i stopped sitting in the house crying & got out, found a case managers course & I am now undertaking the course in the hope that I too, can be a positive influence to newly diagnosed cancer patients & their families. It occurred to me just how little there is out there for adult cancer patients, as a society we have the child patients & their families covered but, for me, there was nothing & no one. I couldn’t utilise the cancer council as I don’t have a solid cancer & for the most part the leukemia foundation here is basically a fundraising organisation. I did call the Leukemia Foundation only to have the apparent social worker put me on hold & then the call dropped out. When I recalled the number I was informed that he had gone on holidays, I was gutted. How on earth can you put someone on hold when they are sobbing their heart out & looking for the help they need? This same person has never once called to see if i am OK nor would he know whether or not i had taken my life. It was just a really bad scenario & one i hope no one will ever have to endure again ( well not when i have gained my qualifications anyway) As an adult patient i obviously fell through the cracks. I guess my real reason for writing this to you is in the hope that you could possibly be a spokesperson for the adults out there who have little or no support system. I do also realise that you are struggling as a single mother & i appreciate that too,but, for me, as an adult patient i really don’t know who to access to gain the attention needed for adult patients, nor the people to speak to so that i can create a place where new patients & their families feel supported in their time of need. My Hematologist says that i am very sweet wanting to do this & perhaps i am, or maybe i just don’t want to see another person go through what i have. Maybe i am being a little selfish in my desire to assist others, whatever the case may be I would dearly love to know that i have done something good in this life before its too late.

    Hoping that you will be able to put me on the right path

    Yours sincerely

    Chelly

  • Marie Yateman

    Oh Vashti I read this and was bursting to tell you. I have
    not had the pleasure of a male friend for almost 20 years. Admittedly my
    relationship was short and we parted amicably but the only good thing to come
    out of it was my son so, I put all my energy into looking after him, giving him
    the best schooling money could buy and so forth, but what I did notice was that
    I no longer had any female friends. I no longer was invited to a dinner or a
    drink or barbecue on a warm day. I found myself alone. Play dates; what were
    they? I tried my hardest to make play dates for my son but somehow they never
    came about and I wondered whether or not this would affect him as an adult.
    Thank goodness it didn’t. He mixed very well with his school mates. I didn’t miss
    my female friends as it was obvious that they thought I could not be trusted
    around their men now that I was single, but I did miss having a male friend.
    This played havoc on my mind for so long I think I’ve become a v….. again. I won’t
    say the word as I know your kiddies read your blog. Now my son has grown up and
    engaged. I on the other hand, am a lonely fool who goes to the cinema and
    theatre alone. You get out there and find male friends platonic or not. I
    suspect it’s because you’re a looker that worries these women – I know I was.

  • anna young

    Hi Vashti

  • michelle from vancouver canada

    Ever since I came across your website 2.5 (approx) years ago, I have become addicted to reading your posts. I have only left 2-3 comments in all that time because honestly what you write is what I would write due to us living parallel lives. I lost my ‘beautiful man’ in Aug 2011 and have a 3.5 year old son (5.5 months at time of his fathers death), he died suddenly while out of town so I didn’t get to say goodbye until his funeral but anyways other than the circumstances regarding how he died we have very similar lives. There are times when I have read your posts where I think I wish I was at the stage you seem to be – happy – lol, and then the reality of your loss seems to sneak its way back into whatever you have accomplished to remind you its still there – grief – and you write a post that makes me again feel as though indeed you are still a widow that I identify with regardless of being some what famous, rather than myself who is a mirror image of all that you feel inside but not so much on your outside daily living. I know exactly what you experience with the black widow label although what I get labeled is that I should be more “over it” by now and stop pulling out the widow card whenever someone feels like it is an excuse for ‘whatever it is’ they don’t agree with me. It half pisses me off and part of me silently wishes that they will suffer my loss soon just so they can be taught how insulting and infuriating that is to say to a genuinely grieving widow – news flash this is forever people not a card i pull out when i need a good excuse – and the other half of me wants to laugh and feel sorry for their lack of intelligence and character. Anyway I too am single and its totally strange to not even have someone to flirt with or to want to accidentally bump into looking beautiful because that’s just how i look kinda thing. I’m starting to consider just dating and marrying a woman whom i could adore but not necessarily sleep with lol. I need the companionship and support of a partner and will find the lust much easier if it didn’t feel like every guy i meet has to pass the potential new dad
    test.

  • anna young

    hello Vashti – a couple of years ago you wrote about meeting a young man who was travelling the same road as you – he too had lost his wife and was trying to look after his young children – what happened to him? can he not be your friend? maybe he is just as lonely as everyone needs someone to share some happy times and also to console each other on bad days – a coffee and a chat always helps one feel not so alone
    i wish you the best
    anna

  • Sandy

    Sweet Vashti; It is interesting that I Sandy have never known or met you and your beautiful Andy;
    I caught him in Spartacus about a month ago, Long after he stepped over the edge. But I now carry
    a tattoo on my right arm. We are all connected somehow. I have walked in your shoes of sorrow and
    the coming back to life. I lost my dear beautiful man in 1999. I still feel him at times. I am old enough to
    be your mum but I would love to be your friend.

  • Sandy

    Even Andy getting the part of Spartacus had it’s reason. I watch it quite often
    and see that when he got his diagnosis later the words he spoke in the show
    would have come back to give him even more meaning.

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