The Merry Widows of Smith Valley |

The Merry Widows of Smith Valley

Ada, Louise and Marie are Charter Members of the Merry Widows, an extraordinary group of ladies in Smith Valley. Ada is a retired Apple employee. Guy, her husband, passed away suddenly a year and nine months ago. They were talking on the telephone when a mysterious ailment took him.

Louise and Walt had been married for 53 years. “He was a get-out-to-the-kitchen-and-make-biscuits guy, but by the time our third child came along he was a different man. One night, as he was going off to bed, he turned around and blew me a kiss, and down he went and that was it,” Louise says.

Just three months ago, Marie’s husband passed away. He was on a ladder, fell and hit his head, and after a month in the hospital, died. “We know exactly what she’s feeling, that’s why we’ve taken her under our wing,” Louise says.

Each of the Merry Widows lives on her own, in her own home. Every morning they text each other to make sure everything is OK.

Ada has invited me to her home for this get-together. At first the mood is somber.

“The first holiday, the first birthday, the first time you go shopping alone is hard. It’s so much easier after the first year,” Ada says. “One day I realize, I’m not the person who died. I know a woman who has absolutely destroyed herself her grief is so intense, and prolonged,” Louise says.

I ask if they feel their husband’s presence, and do they talk to them. “The other day I got mad and said, ‘would you please tell me how to fix this sprinkler?’” Louise says with a smile. Marie opens up; “I sometimes cry when I use the computer.” “Or when I’m driving,” another says. “When I’m in a ‘poor me mood,’ I get out and go to the store, or anything, and I feel better. I keep my days very full,” Marie says.

Each Merry Widow agrees, they have a place in their heart for their spouse that will always be there.

“I didn’t even know the person down the street, now I have lots of lady friends” Louise says. With a big smile Ada adds, “Guy wouldn’t let me cut those junipers out in the front yard, but now, I can do what I want.” Marie chirps to life; “Now I can eat when I want too, and go to bed when I want too.” I ask Marie, “Marie do you think you’ll keep your home in San Felipe? I know you and your husband spent half the year there.” “No, we gave it to the kids,” she says. Louise opens up, “Our lives revolved around our husbands, now it’s different.”

Call it love, or call it survival, the Merry Widows are optimistic, happy and have a strong friendship. The harbinger of happiness is facing life, and not running away from it, and by golly, they are experts.

Ron Walker can be reached at