I’m only listing five, because most people NEVER EVER EVER want to say something that would make someone feel worse. I’ve realized that everyone means well, and even if some have a strange idea of what “means well” actually means; no one wants to cause more pain.

You Will Get Over This With Time. WHY DO PEOPLE SAY THIS? My first instinct is because they can’t stand to see a widow in so much emotional pain. Because they can’t stand it, they have to say something that will comfort THEM. This person will eventually be ok. This person will eventually be just like they were before, because time heals all wounds and then I won’t have to feel so bad for them anymoreThe Facts: Widows/ers and other people going through grief after death or sudden death will NEVER GET OVER IT WITH TIME. Time is not a healer…but it does serve a purpose. It separates the worst moment of our lives from the present, with each passing day. Eventually, that will help. But we will never get over it. We may even be sad for a very very long time. Telling a widow that she’ll get over it with time is like tell her that she as only so many hours of actual grieving allowance before she’s not allowed to grieve anymore. And if she goes past those hours of allowed grieving time, she’ll have to pay a fine. Or worse, get told to “Get over it already!”

You’re Young; You Have a Lot of Life Left! This is usually given by someone older, who has lived a much longer life. In their experience, they know that life is a cycle. It starts over after a long Winter, and the Spring always brings forth fruit. It’s the way God intended it to be. This is also sometimes spoken by someone younger, who can’t imagine a life without companionship, sexual gratification or the next party. It’s incredibly insensitive because it implies that our spouses were simply a “phase” or “moment” in our lives. Logically, that may seem true to some people. But the reality is that our spouses made a vow before witnesses, God and us. They bound themselves to us on the human plane, and death breaks that vow without our consent. It leaves our bonds TORN and BROKEN, without closure or peace. In this way, our spouses become the defining moment in our lives. It is their deaths that make us realize all that we lose, and all that we had. We will never be the same, and regardless of how much longer we live after they die, we always live with what we had, and don’t have. It doesn’t change. Some people remarry and restart. That is ok. But they ALWAYS remember the first spouse as if they never left. It doesn’t fade into the wallpaper or into a past we can’t recall. To this day, I remember my FIRST marriage, and my ex is not even dead. Jon will ALWAYS be a part of my life. And if I live to be 100 years old, I will remember every moment with him. No matter what I do with my life, Jon’s part of it was significant enough to impact me forever. And that will never change. He is not replaceable, and starting over isn’t only subject to the young and widowed. It happens for everyone, at their own pace.

SEGUEWAY!

I Know How You Feel – I’m Recently Divorced! NO. NO. NO. NO. and one more time for emphasis: NO!!! Aside from the fact that a divorce is NOT a death, it is also a CHOICE! A CHOICE!!!!! No one puts a gun to your head and makes you sign a paper. Your spouse CAN be seen alive, walking around and eating, laughing and generally LIVING. WHY IN THE WORLD TO PEOPLE COMPARE THE TWO? Yes, they both are painful and YES, they both cause us to grieve. But the grieving is VASTLY different. You can always CALL your ex and tear them a new one, if you really want to. But I cannot even hear my spouses voice responding to anything I say. I did not CHOOSE to be without him, and until you look death in the face and realise that the grip they have on your loved one is BEYOND YOUR POWER, you cannot fathom what it is like. And having gone through a painful divorce and THEN a spousal death, I know the difference first hand. It is nothing like a divorce. Don’t even try to go there.

You Were Lucky To Have That Love! I’ve Never Had That!! So what does this make me now? Unlucky? Did I do something wrong to lose it? Am I alone because I really didn’t deserve the love I had in the first place? Millions of people all over the globe find love and enjoy it. They get married, have kids and live their lives. Some people have happy marriages, filled with ups and downs. Some people have bad marriages and thanks to our society, they get rid of those bad marriages. The thing is, all of those relationships, good or bad, are potentially loving, wonderful and “lucky” relationships. And when a spouse dies, it is often during a period of happiness in a marriage, than a period of sadness, or discontent. I’m not saying that is ALWAYS the case, but most people do not want to lose their spouse when they do.  This is what I mean when I say that it’s not like a divorce. It’s not something we terminate. It’s something that is terminated, by God or whatever. When our spouses die, it is never our choice, (unless we kill them – in which case, none of this applies :X ) Telling a widow that they’re “lucky” to have such a love is like telling them, “but good for you anyway…even though you lost everything and your life really sucks now – you STILL have it better than I ever did!”

And for the record, I hate Aflred Lord Tennyson’s poem. Having love, and losing isn’t any better or worse than not having it.

You are AMAZING! I Can’t Imagine Going Through What You’re Going Through! – Brothers and Sisters in Christ, please forgive me for the next thing I type: HEY STUPID – YOU’RE NOT GOING THROUGH IT, SO WHAT ARE YOU COMPARING TO MY AMAZING “AMAZINGNESS” ????? When people say things like this, I realize that they’re trying to be supportive and remind us that we’re surviving. What they DON’T realize is that we don’t feel amazing, strong or that we’re doing anything special to get through our circumstances. When people say this, they don’t realize that we ARE just winging it. That this is what EVERYONE does when a spouse dies. They freak out, then they get it together. Back and forth and back and forth. Most of these people don’t see us when we break down, or notice that we don’t eat, or drink too much. They don’t want to see that we’re not genuinely smiling, or that we’re faking it for the sake of avoiding unsolicited advice by people who don’t understand or being avoided by people who don’t know what to say.  Even if a person THINKS they’re being positive and being supportive, what they’re doing is putting undue pressure on the grieving person, to be strong and pretend like we’re handling this crisis better then people expect us to. Deep down inside, widows and other grieving persons don’t feel strong, don’t want to act strong, and really wish they could be accepted just as much for being weak, sad, depressed and tired. It’s incredibly exhausting to have to keep up appearances for the rest of the world, let alone our friends. Try not to emphasize how great you think we’re handling things. Instead, ask how TODAY is. You’d be surprised at the answer you get.

There are people who disagree with me, and they are widows. They believe that God keeps them from being depressed and feeling grief. They live in their own Denial, and THAT IS OK!!! Denial is a gift for the grieving widow/er or mother/father. It helps us cope with the day to day reality that we lost what everyone else seems to get to keep. 

But I am not one of those people.

I hate denial. I experience it, and I indulge in it on occasion, but I am so direct with my feelings and my thoughts that being in denial is like lying to myself. For me, I am not strong, and I am not weak. I am just surviving. And I hate having to put on appearances for my friends and my family. There are moments when I laugh and when I smile. There are lots of them, too. But I spend a lot of time crying, weeping, praying and missing Jon so much, that hours can pass by and I don’t know where I have driven to, or what I was doing before.

I only know that I accept grief as a process. It hurts tremendously. It takes YEARS to integrate it into our lives and it takes years go accept. It’s cruel and kind at the same time. It causes us to remember our loved ones with striking clarity, and yet, we miss them all the more. It leaves scars, but they’re cherished, because of what they remind us of. And it alters our character to be refined for the work God has for us. Yes. No matter what you think, God HAS A PLAN! Submitting to it is a whole ‘nother post altogether.

 

God Bless you, and remember to think before you speak.

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