Someone asked me for this so will post!

 

When our spouses die, the surrounding public seems to think it’s their right…no…their duty to tell us how things should be done.  They watch as we bumble our way into a somewhat normal existence after our lives have been completely turned upside down.  The people we know patiently wait until we “get our acts together” and get back to business as usual.

We get a lot of advice from the people we know about what we should do, how we should live, and the decisions we should be making. Now, realistically speaking…these people usually don’t have a leg to stand on.  Most have never faced the hole that we now find in our lives.

In the face of all of these helpful tips, I’m reminded of some of the best advice I’ve ever gotten from my therapist:  Eliminate the word “should” from your vocabulary. There is no reason why you “should” stop grieving at a certain point, even though some people expect you to.  And there’s no reason why you “should” expect your life to go back to normal when deep down you know it won’t.

Our sense of normal has completely changed.  The way we make decisions has completely changed.  Most of us now make choices with the little voice of our spouse ringing in our ears.  And it’s hard enough to think, “Well, what would he (or she) have wanted me to do if he was here?”  We certainly don’t need the added complication of wondering what everyone else thinks.

I think most of the people we know expect that there will be a time of transition from being married to being widowed.  What most people don’t understand is the change that occurs within us. It would be impossible to go through this kind of loss and come out as the same person.  I personally think that the changes are good.  We become more sympathetic to others and have a better understanding of what they might be going through.  We are (hopefully) less likely to say stupid and thoughtless things just to fill dead air.  And, thanks to the way we have been scrutinized, we are less likely to truly pass judgment on others.

I know that I’m a completely different person than I used to be.  I may walk and talk the same, but my thought processes are completely different.  That girl who would have been completely happy being a homemaker while she watched her husband’s career take off has left the building.  The girl who so deeply cared about what everyone else thinks has taken a permanent vacation.  The girl who couldn’t make a decision before she asked 10 other people their opinions is on a freighter to China, and we’re not really sure when she’ll be back.

That’s right everybody.  That girl that you went to high school with, and college with, or have spent every holiday with since she was born, has changed.  It’s not a bad thing.  I think it’s pretty natural.  Very few people have the opportunity, early in life, to really look at things…where we’re going, what we’re doing, and what the hell the point all of this is anyway…and decide what’s truly important.  Death cracks open a door and gives us a glimpse of what is important in life.  Some people choose to kick the door open and see what’s really possible, and some people just quietly close it so as not to disturb anybody.

Most of the people we know won’t benefit from this kind of self discovery until they’re much older.  Think of it this way…what we have been through, everyone will go through at some point in their lives.  It is impossible to get through life without a taste of tragedy.  We just happen to be overachievers, and have gone through it first.

The good news for all of the people we know is that they’ll have a friend who will not say a word about what they’re doing, when tragedy does happen.

 

Views: 137

Replies to This Discussion

Wow! What a powerful post.  You made my day.  I am sorry for your loss, but this is all so true.  We are not the same as when we were part of a couple.  Some people will not get it until they have walked in these shoes.  Thank you so much!!

Wow! What a powerful post.  You made my day.  I am sorry for your loss, but this is all so true.  We are not the same as when we were part of a couple.  Some people will not get it until they have walked in these shoes.  Thank you so much!!

I want everyone to know that Barb is the person who originally shared this article with all of us.  I received an email today requesting a copy and I did just that.  This is a very powerful statement and I am forever grateful to Barb for offering it to us.  I could not get the web site address to take.  Enjoy, and thank you Barb!

 

Brigitte

Bridgitte, that insight is right on the money.  As a matter of fact I had a moment last week when things had started to pile up on me and I was having a bad day. My sister assumed I was upset by something that happened at work and started to get on me, well she was the one who got the brunt of that bad day and my response basically was i don't care about work or what others think, My problem is my husband and best friend is gone and I want him to come home so if I'm upset don't just assume that it's because of something that no longer really matters to me it's the fact that my life is changing (and I have always hated major changes, it was something my husband used to pick on me about), but I find I stop and give that dollar to the the guy on the corner and I go out of my way to say a kind word to that person in the store that looks like they are having a bad day, because their life may be worse than mine and they may need that little bit of encouragement that so many people are to busy to share. Peace and love to all.

Thanks Kay, I feel the same way and it is good to see other people expressing where they are in this journey of loss.   I want my dear darling John home with me also and sometimes people cannot see where the mood might be coming from and things can escalate.  I wish you peace.

 

Carol

Kay Arcuni said:

Bridgitte, that insight is right on the money.  As a matter of fact I had a moment last week when things had started to pile up on me and I was having a bad day. My sister assumed I was upset by something that happened at work and started to get on me, well she was the one who got the brunt of that bad day and my response basically was i don't care about work or what others think, My problem is my husband and best friend is gone and I want him to come home so if I'm upset don't just assume that it's because of something that no longer really matters to me it's the fact that my life is changing (and I have always hated major changes, it was something my husband used to pick on me about), but I find I stop and give that dollar to the the guy on the corner and I go out of my way to say a kind word to that person in the store that looks like they are having a bad day, because their life may be worse than mine and they may need that little bit of encouragement that so many people are to busy to share. Peace and love to all.

I would give anything to have Douglas back here as well.  The reality is he is gone now and I have to learn to live with that.  It isn't easy, and I struggle every day.  I find that I am more compassionate and this Christmas season I have given to those less fortunate -- and unfortunately, with our economy, there are many.  Others may think I was left lots of funds when Douglas died.  I wasn't.  His illness prevented him from qualifying for any type of life insurance.  But I am very lucky to have a good job and I will continue to work as long as necessary and will also give where it is needed.  Everything I have given this year is in honor of Douglas.  He was a very giving man, warm hearted, and gentle soul.  He is guiding me and I will never forget the love of my life -- may his memory live on!

 

Peace and Merry Christmas to you all!

 

Brigitte

Such great words to try and remember.  We will never be that person again.  You lose so much of yourself when your soul mate dies.  I haven't decided "what" person I am now. Sometimes I just feel like I go through the motions and am empty inside.  Thanks for sharing.   Jan 

Great post and so true.

Thank you so much for this, Bridgette, it is powerful. Took me forever to find this, as am new to this site, hugs, and God Bless

Thank you Bridgette for this wonderful post. I have come in contact with just a few people who have said comments that were insensitive to me, but they probably didnt mean them. They do not have a clue to how it feels. I am no longer a wife, I am no longer a soul mate, I am a widow, and my heart is truly broken.  I am trying to do the right things to make my Ron proud of me, I am  trying  to think of Ron in our happier days and see him healthy, but for now I cant. All I see is his death and his illness for his last 2 months. His death was sudden and unexpected. He was to go to rehab on a Friday and he died on a Tuesday. I just got the report back and it stated he died of an embollism to his lung, ????? How, Why, with a filter in place and meds to stop clots, How? Even the doctor stated the report was vague. SO for

now I am having a difficult time.  Now I the one who is rambling, But thank you all for listening, it does helpto get the words out.

I wish you all Peace and Good Health in the upcoming Holiday season. Keep family and friends close, it does help.  Thinking of you all in my prayers.

Liz

Elizabeth,

 

People will always continue to say "the wrong thing" because we are so sensitive that there is no "right" thing to say to us.  My Douglas was ill for awhile but his death was still a shock -- something I knew was inevitable but never ready to accept.  He is missed by me everyday and the pain in my heart may heal eventually but the missing piece will never be filled.  You are correct in your analogy -- we are no longer a wife or soul mate by society definition-- but in our hearts we will always be both.  And no one can take that away from me.  I NEVER use the term widow -- nope, not going there!  I am temporarily visiting this planet without the company of Douglas, but he and I will be together again.  That I know!

 

Have a blessed Christmas!

 

Hugs,

 

Brigitte

Elizabeth Nonnemacher said:

Thank you Bridgette for this wonderful post. I have come in contact with just a few people who have said comments that were insensitive to me, but they probably didnt mean them. They do not have a clue to how it feels. I am no longer a wife, I am no longer a soul mate, I am a widow, and my heart is truly broken.  I am trying to do the right things to make my Ron proud of me, I am  trying  to think of Ron in our happier days and see him healthy, but for now I cant. All I see is his death and his illness for his last 2 months. His death was sudden and unexpected. He was to go to rehab on a Friday and he died on a Tuesday. I just got the report back and it stated he died of an embollism to his lung, ????? How, Why, with a filter in place and meds to stop clots, How? Even the doctor stated the report was vague. SO for

now I am having a difficult time.  Now I the one who is rambling, But thank you all for listening, it does helpto get the words out.

I wish you all Peace and Good Health in the upcoming Holiday season. Keep family and friends close, it does help.  Thinking of you all in my prayers.

Liz

Thank you Bridgette for allowing me to feel "normal" in our situation. I too am a survivor as I survived Cancer last year, but I, like you, have the same attitude. I mourn not only my husband who died suddenly at 52 years old, but my old life. My normal routines are gone, my thought processes are different and I no longer care who thinks what with what I choose to do with my life or anything else. After being a true survivor in many of lifes major challenges,what matters is that I enjoy my life, be happy with myself and to cherish my blessings. I miss my husband horrendously as we were together since H.S., if I chose not to carry on or become weak, I would be letting not only myself down, but he and my children. After all, they were/are my Cheerleading Team!!!!

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