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NO TEARS FOR THE WIDOW

I never saw my mother cry until the night my father died --
Married nearly thirty years and the dying had been hard.
I remember how the family came to share the grief, the tears, the pain,
And how her friends all gathered round, and all the black-rimmed cards.

The funeral was a large affair. The civic fathers all were there,
And mother held up stoically. She never shed a tear.
But everyone there understood that she had entered widowhood
And life would never be the same. Her status now was clear.

And there were tears for the widow, tears for the widow,
For the woman who had lost her love and must carry on alone,
And mother now writes 'widow' in the space on all the forms.
It's part of her identity, like her grey hair and her name.

My friend Amelia lost her love to cancer's slow and painful glove.
The dying was no easier than my father's was back then.
No black-rimmed cards came to her door, her grief and anguish all ignored,
Except, of course, for closest friends who tried to understand.

Her lover was described by all as a single woman living well,
A tragic loss for family, taken well before her time.
When Amy left the funeral home, she travelled to their house alone
And sat among familiar things and wept into the night.

And there were no tears for the widow, no tears for the widow,
For the woman who had lost her love and must carry on alone.
And Amy still writes 'single' in the space on all the forms,
But she rages at the lie it tells and the loss that it ignores.

And who can tell how many women live their lives in shadows,
Unrecognised, unsympathised, unseen and disallowed,
Who've lost not only lovers, but often hearth and home,
For 'marriage' is a special word and only meant for some.

And there are no tears for the widows, no tears for the widows,
For the women who've lost lovers and must carry on alone.
And life goes on, but for them, there is no space on any form.
Yes, 'marriage' is a special word and only meant for some.

As sung by Judy Small on "Let The Rainbow Shine," 1999.
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