Tuesday, February 8, 2011

The Importance of Being Frank

(image from istockphoto.com)

It's funny how life changes you. I'm sure part of it is just age, but I know lots of people my age who haven't "turned out" the way I have. What I wonder is: am I really different now, or am I really just getting to know myself?

I think my experience of widowhood has made me less tolerant of bullshit. I know it has. Life is too short to beat around the bush or hope things get resolved. This doesn't mean that I'm totally without tact. It does mean that I have a lot less patience and I'm a lot more likely to start a difficult conversation or ask the question no one else in the room wants to voice. I am "direct" - whatever that means. I guess it's better than being indirect? I hope it's a good thing, because I don't seem to be capable of much else.

I think I was this way before widowhood, but honestly I can't remember. I seem to recall that I was a bit more reserved back then. Maybe some of you remember? Regardless, the "new" me is fun. I like being the one to speak out. I like the thought that people might occassionally think: "I wonder what Dippel will say about that?" I like being that girl.

This is one of the gifts widowhood has brought to me. I'd rather have learned the lesson a different way, but I'm grateful for it nonetheless.
Happy Tuesday!


  1. I know exactly what you mean, Michelle. I have absolutely become less bullshit tolerant and a lot more direct. I've mellowed out a little as the years have gone by, but after my husband first died, I became so much more direct about everything. My mother liked to joke that I had a "pass" to say or do anything I wanted to - from things as small as telling my grandfather he should lose the toupee, to not returning phonecalls from a particularly toxic person. I must say that pass was extraordinarly freeing, and letting go of what other people think and being true to myself is a gift that widowhood gave to me.

  2. Me too. A guy friend asked me when I had changed and became the less tolerant person I am today. Guess it was when my husband died and I had to deal with all the stuff he used to deal with. Yes, it does change us for sure. Probaby why he is dead and I will be before to long! Stress can do than to ya sometimes.

  3. I hear you. I'm a widow in my second year and I'm so much better now at saying no when I don't want to do something.

    I have a question for the blog authors. How can I e-mail you?

  4. I think widowhood does make you more direct. I know I am tired of the bull from people too. I think it is because there is so many little things people complain about that is so insignificant compared to losing your husband. I think this is the same reason why as people we actually appreciate more of the little stuff,people do for us - especailly coming from the people who are real. we realize that life could end tomorrow why spend time beating around the bush!

  5. I agree with all of you. This perspective is very much in sync with what I have worked on in therapy. I was still struggling with certain relationships with "friends" because I tend to analyze everything too much. The therapist opened my eyes to the realization that I had nothing to give, physically, emotionally, spiritually, in any way, because I was completly drained. I learned to say "no" to relationships with takers, or with those who would try to minimize my grief. I have not felt any guilt about saying no to anyone for any reason. If there is any time in our lives when we deserve "a pass" it is now, and maybe for two or three or five years past the time of our loss. It is also the best thing we can do, because it takes a long time to heal from the psychic wound, which is enormous. Thank you God for grief therapy.

  6. I lost my mom 3 years ago just before my 20th birthday, and noticed a change in myself as well. I think it's because, like your husband did for you, she carried a lot of my load for me and shared in my struggles and triumphs. Losing her, took away the companion I had. I think this made me more direct as well, but also made me insanely compassionate in time (as it's doing to you by allowing yourself to spare someone's day! haha). I like the woman I am today more than the girl I used to be. But I also wish that the reason for the change was different.