Friday, May 6, 2011

kinship

Photo from here....
Nine months after Jeff died, my beloved grandfather joined him in the great fishing grounds in the sky. My grandmother was, understandably bereft. She asked me, "Does it ever begin to feel any better?" In that moment, I was struck by one thing. We were now not only linked by blood and family, but by the kinship of grieving our spouse.
Marriage always ends. Either by divorce or death. I am unaware of a "sister/brotherhood of divorcees" as, fortunately, I have not had to endure this. But I have definitely become part of the fraternity know as "widowed".
I am so very often struck by the kinship and kindness that runs through this group. The nods of understanding and the gentle acknowledgement of each other's pain. Whether 20 or 80, we understand. The details are always different, but the pain of loss is always the same.
Us widows? We have each other's backs. We stand up for each other. We support each other. And we assist each other.
If I have to be part of either group, although I hate what has brought me here, I am glad to share it all of you. Thank you for holding my hand, laughing with me through hysterics, helping me to jump my hurdles and lending an ear.
Let's all remember to be empathetic and sensitive to each other. Because at times, we are the only ones who understand. And I want each and everyone of you to know how much you are appreciated.

8 comments:

  1. I too am grateful for this site, to come here everyday and be able to relate to what is written here is so comforting. I find now that in my every day life there is not much I can relate to anymore. Too much has changed. I am more isolated and protective of my time and energy and where I choose to spend it.

    This week I have made a decision to end a friendship. I am sad by it but it has become necessary for me to do it. We were friends "before" and it was a different life for me then. Our "after" friendship is hard because I am not able (nor do I really want) to help her like I used to. And truthfully, I am hurt that she continues to ask me, she does not see the change that has occured. Because the material things in my life are unchanged, she is not able to see the change that has occured deep inside of me.

    I can't really explain this decision to many because I am not certain anyone else would "get it" but I know I can come here and you guys would know what I am talking about.

    The change we all go through after losing so much may not be obvious to others, we may appear and act ok, but all of us here know the truth.

    I absolutely cherish this website and all the people who share their truths and realities. Thank you to all of you!!!!

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  2. About 2 weeks after my husband suddenly died from a stroke, I found this website and continue to follow each and everyday. I, too, am very appreciative to the writers and also those that respond. None of us asked to be here and none of us deserve to be here. But we're here and making the best of it. Most importantly we understand each other, never judge each other, and absolutely have each others' back. That is a huge comfort!

    Thank you Jackie for your honesty and support. You have definitely touched my life in a very profound way.

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  3. I am so grateful for SSLF, the Widow's Voice Blog Team, Widowed Village, Camp Widow ... you provide the support we need when we're faced with the challenges of widowhood. I have changed in the 7 months since my husband died - and some of those are really good changes, helped along by that widowed "fraternity" you mentioned. The friendships I've developed through Widville are very important to me and I can't wait to meet some of my cyber buddies at my first Camp Widow in August. My sincere thanks!

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  4. To Anonymous #1:
    Though I don't know you, I am proud of you. And grateful for you. Grateful that you had the strength to know that you needed to end that friendship. And then had even more strength to actually do it. I know that it was very difficult for you to do, but it was something that you HAD to do for your own survival, both emotionally and physically (because we all know how much our emotional status affects us physically).
    I know that you will be a source of encouragement and strength for others here who also need to make this decision.
    From all of us .... thank you.

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  5. Beautifully said Jackie. I have an elderly Aunt who lost her husband of 50+ years about 6 months before I lost Jeff. Here she was at my husband's funeral (I hadn't seen her since her husband died because I live out of state). She simply walked up to me and said "there are no words" and hugged me long and hard. I don't remember much from the funeral, but I'll never forget that hug or her words. That's why I come here every day...for my hug. Thank you all for that.

    Lyn

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  6. Re: the post about ending a friendship. Apparently this is an expected phenomenon for those in bereavement, as alot of time in my grief therapy was devoted to this. We do change because of our loss, and our friendships don't always survive it. In my experience, people sense vulnerability and want to take advantage of it, so they cross boundaries they would not have crossed if our spouses were still with us and expect us to put up with it...poor, lonely us, who will tolerate anything so not to be alone. Not me. I'd rather be alone than to be disrespected or mistreated, as a few of my inner circle have discovered. I've had to end a friendship or two, and have some that are struggling, but I'll find my way through, as you are doing. I'm proud of you too. As Dr. Phil always says "we teach people how to treat us." So true.

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  7. from anon #1: thanks so much for the reassurance. I have posted once before in recent months about this problem with my friend and, Janine, you validated me then and made me feel so much better. And here you are again, helping me feel better about my decision. I appreciate it so much!
    I have tried over the past three months to redefine this relationship with my friend, trying to maintain our friendship without the element of me taking her kids for her all the time.
    I tried explaining to her how I am trying to keep my life as hectic and chaotic-free as possible, not easy since I have four young children with very active social lives! :)
    So I am sad to do it, but also relieved at the same time.
    Thanks for both comments yesterday and for having my back! I really needed it! xxxooo

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