Wednesday, November 10, 2010

A Dead Husband vs. ....

.... a nice bank account.

That's the issue today.  I originally published the majority of this post (with a different title) on my personal blog on October 27th.  But it seemed to hit home with so many widowed people that I thought I'd write it again (and add to it) here.

"You treat yourself nice." ....

.... someone said to me yesterday, while looking at a pair of boots I was wearing.  (I got them in Spain and they were quite inexpensive, but who cares?  They're from Spain!)
Anyway, this person made this statement with a kind of smirk on their face and I, being a woman, wondered what was really behind it.  So I asked what the statement meant (while refraining from using the correct word, "nicely", thank you very much.  Yes, I can be petty and gracious at the same time.  :)  ).  I was told that it meant nothing, it was just a statement.  Funny, it sounded more like an accusation.
And I've been thinking about it since yesterday.
It's not the first time that I've felt "accused" of not being a "poor widow".

Jim made a good living.  He worked his ass off for 27 years in order to make a good living.  It took a long time and many lean years for our family, but he kept working.
Not only did he work hard, but he also thought ahead.
I had no idea how far ahead he thought.
And because he did, he is still taking care of me/us.

I am blessed and I am constantly aware of that fact.
I am blessed in many, many ways .... not just financially.
I don't have to work, fiscally-speaking, but I do have to work, emotionally-speaking.
I can travel and I can buy inexpensive boots in another country.
I can't go around buying yachts and houses and huge items like that or I will one day really have to work, financially-speaking.
But as long as I'm careful .... I'm good.
I still donate my time as well as my money to charities and to my church and to my alma mater.

Having said all of this ..... if Jim were here .... I'd be far wealthier .... in every aspect of my life.
He was worth far more alive than dead.
To me.
And to my children.

I would give up every penny that I own if it would bring him back.

So when people seem to "accuse" me of having the money to do mostly what I want .... I want to scream.
Because no amount of money is worth the loss of Jim.
No amount of money can replace what I've lost.
No amount of money will buy joy, contentment or lasting happiness.
No amount of money will heal my now half of a heart into a whole one.
No amount of money will bring Jim back from the dead.

Why do some people seem to think that things must be OK if we have money?
Do they think that money, and the spending of it, heals a broken heart?
Does it mean that those of us who don't "have" to work are grieving less than those who do?
Do they entertain the thought, even for one nano-second, that having money makes up for not having a spouse?
Or do they think that because we spend money to try to attain a little happiness (because yes, it is nice to be able to travel, or buy something that's for fun and not for a need sometimes) then we are less of a person who deserves to grieve our loss?

Bottom line:  I don't give a crap what they think.
I know, probably better than they do, that I have no control over what others think. Nor do I have control over what "issues" or "baggage" they might have.
I learned 35 months ago that I really have control of nothing.  I just thought I did.

I would rather be dirt poor .... and still married to Jim.

But I'm not either one of those.
And so I do things to try to catch a bit of happiness here and there.
Does it make my life better?
I don't think so.
Does it make my life easier?
Certainly .... in some ways.
In others .... not so much.

I feel so much empathy for those widows who have to work, and work hard, to make ends meet.
There are far too many of them.
Life is not fair .... ask any one of us.
I want to slap every single alive husband who doesn't have insurance (by his choice).
There.  Is.  No.  Excuse.

But I also refuse to apologize for having a husband who loved me so much that he thought of me even as he thought of his future death.
And I refuse to apologize for living my life the way I want to live it now.

Yes .... I can buy myself something nice when I feel like it.

But .... I wish I had Jim, who would do it instead.


  1. great post! So glad that someone has put this into words. the widows I hang with tip-toe around the $ issue.
    (those who have benefits from life insurance vs. those who are working thier asses off to survive...) It's a sticky thing.
    You explain it beautifully! thanks!

  2. Perfectly said! I would absolutely trade in every material thing I have to be able to talk to my husband again.....just one more time. You are so right that money or lack thereof does not impact the extreme pain of losing someone so incredibly special to us.

  3. I am one of those widows that has to work to make ends meet. Tony had a small insurance policy but at the age of 46, who would have thought he had run out of time to prepare? Just proves that we "never know" when we are to leave our loved ones behind. I on the other hand had and still have more insurance than I need now, as I was thinking that I was the sickly one (medical problems always) so I better prepared for his dealing with the loss of his spouse. With all that being said, Tony gave up his career so I could have mine and he started anew with the same company I work for. In hindsight, that was a blessing and his unknown preparation for me to support myself. Well put and I enjoyed reading your post.

  4. OMG - Janine, so magnificently communicated - money is inanimate - our lost husbands, lost to us forever. Thank you for this post - I too had a husband that made sure for me into the future - on this week, the sixth anniversary of his passing - I would give everything to dance in our kitchen, one more time. Love across miles -xoxox

  5. well said. nothing makes losing my husband worth it...I had money and he did have a plan, but it didn't last forever so now we get by how we can, but never, never would I judge someone this way. It's so hard to walk in the shoes of a matter what earthly things you possess.

  6. I filed a lawsuit and I remember someone saying "you're never going to have to work again". Like it was a good thing. It's not a good thing, it's hideous that he's gone and it's someone's fault. All the money in the world won't bring him back...bastards.

    I've just come to the conclusion that it's not anyones business and I'm not afraid to tell them that. No matter who they are, I'm not going to let anyone make me question myself.

    Thanks for posting this.

  7. I have a friend who said "if I had your money"....I said, I don't have that much money but yes, if I am careful I am okay. She can't travel with me...I have no one to travel with because none of my friends even have the money to go to Laughlin!!!! They are not widows, just poor money managers. I would give everything I have to have Mike back, but having his pension and some extra money does make it better than if I had to struggle. I have a lovely home with a mortgage I can afford, and two cars paid off, and I am not going to apologize for my husband's love for me either.

  8. People do not get, what good is having the money if you have no one to share it with! I am very blessed, but the things I have been able to do with the money are things I looked foward to doing with my husband someday.Those who do not get this, do not get that having this money comes with a price- a low laying type of saddness you live with along with a gratefulness, that sometimes feels like a contridiction!

  9. What none of these people know is the horrible emotional hole we are in. Many of us are still raising children and (eek!) teenagers. I barely have it in me to deal with my daughter's grief plus normal teenage angst on top of my own. I thank God and I thank Greg for planning carefully and thinking the unthinkable. I work part time and am very careful, and I still get the occasional "knowing" smile if I get something perceived as indulgent. Money helps with dignity and independance. It does not replace the father of my child or ease the loss of a my cranky, picky, strong and loving husband. The next person who says/asks "now you just work a few days a week?" is getting an #$& kicking!

  10. Amen to all of the above!!! Money does not, nor will it ever replace or lessen what we have lost. Period.
    One of the most hurtful things that has been said to me about this issue came from the lips of my mother. She gave me a (what I thought was a great) birthday present, and as a sort of apology said "Hope you like it, I didn't know what to buy someone who can buy anything they want."
    If only she knew that money is just money. It does not hold you at night and things do not fill the void.

  11. Why are people so cold, and say such horrible things, if u could buy anything u wanted now that you loss ur husband don't these people realize u would buy your husbands life back. I was amazed the things that even came out of my in-laws mouth but I was semi concious for 4 weeks after my husband passed from shock. I was divorced for 24 yrs and swore I would never ever marry again. I met my husband and I was in awe a month later he asked me to marry him and six months later we exchanged vows, eight and a half years later I lost him suddenly no warning at all, no insurance, no will, but a 9 acre farm that i still work myself. I would give the anything I have to have him back. So no u cant buy anything u want with the money cuz if you could I am sure you me and eveyone else would buy our spouse bsck.

  12. The timing for your post couldn't have been better. I am at 35 months and experiencing a lot of this too! People can be so cold. I want to just tell them unless they have walked a minute in my shoes, down this very dark road then keep your comments to yourself. Thank you for posting, I don't feel so alone.