“So-and-so lost their spouse years ago and they’re STILL not over it”

This is insanely depressing. Surprisingly, some widows say it to new widows. You’d think they’d know better.

Perhaps it is meant to pose the question, “What is with you widows and flogging this whole grief thing? Why on earth are you still talking about it?” I’m not sure. But if it’s said to a widow within a short time, let’s be conservative and say a year, it’s horrifying.

I met several other young widows after John’s death. Those who were most helpful acknowledged how badly I was hurting and instead of yet another aphorism about Time Healing All Wounds, acknowledged the seismic life change. Some sent me books that had helped them to get through, for which I was deeply grateful. Most just nodded and listened.

The ones that Did Not Help were those who outlined in detail the agony they were still going through. I think that would be easier for me to take now, a year out from the loss, but did these people completely forget what it was like to be newly widowed? Have they forgotten the intensity of feeling  you’ll never come up out of this crushing grief? That hope is lost?

I got “fixed up” with one widow a week or so after the funeral. She spent our hour together detailing every moment of her husband’s death. Once she had finished with that, she mournfully spoke about how empty and lonely her life continued to be without the husband. Even her daughters were of little comfort and nothing had changed for her since his death—and it was five years after his death. I could barely stand upright. By the time I escaped it took me days to even consider talking to someone else again.

So I offer up this little prayer:

Dear God-of-my-choice.

Please don’t let me do this to someone who is experiencing a new loss. Please help me to offer comfort. Please let new widows know that the bone-crushing grief will get easier to handle although it will not disappear. Help them bear the struggle one small step at a time. Please let me—and others in grief—learn to keep moving forward and embrace love in all its forms. And please let the Mariners have a winning season this year.

Love,

The Practical Widow

Born in 1961. Married in 1990. Widowed in 2007. Blogging in 2009.

2 comments On “So-and-so lost their spouse years ago and they’re STILL not over it”

  • Thank you. A girl I used to work with lost her disabled son this time last year. She’d been so strong for so long I didn’t know what to say or do, especially as I had two happy healthy toddlers. She woke up yesterday to find that her “30 something” husband had died during the night. I want to let her know that we care but had no idea how. Your blog has given me confidence to try. Thank you.

  • So glad to hear that. Just trying to reach out is all someone needs at times. Even though it may not be accepted at the time, please know that your kindness will resonate far longer than you think. She is lucky to have a friend like you.

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One more thing…

How else do I know what hurts and what helps? Because not only were they done to me… I learned through this process that I am certain to have done the very same "Don't" things to others at some point along the way. If you're one of them, I am genuinely sorry. I'm trying to learn.