I dislike labels. They are confining and prescriptive.

A friend referred to me as ‘single’ the other day. It shocked me. I understand that I am alone now but in my heart I am still very much committed to the boy. ‘Single’ is not a word I would use to describe myself. It has connotations. It suggests you are available. Or that you haven’t settled into a committed relationship.

And then I started thinking – if not single, then what? A widow? It’s more accurate but even more jarring. Widow says ‘old’ to me, and ‘frail’. It suggests you have lost your position as a self-sufficient adult and have become dependent on the goodwill of others.

Neither word feels right to me. If I had to choose, ‘single’ makes me squirm less. I am too young to opt out of life and retreat into my memories. There’s a long road still ahead of me.

I wish there was a less loaded term for the state I find myself in. Surely there is a way to express that you have lost someone without re-defining yourself.

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