Wednesday, February 6, 2013
People Are ......
To say the least.
I've been reading the posts over the past week and have been struck by the number of you who've been hurt or felt pressured by "friends".
"Friends" who have not been widowed.
Very, very interesting, doncha think?
I think that most of the things people say aren't meant to hurt or offend us. Friends are mostly well-meaning and think they're being helpful.
I've probably said something I thought was helpful ..... back in my "before" ...... when I really had no idea.
Friends can't be blamed for trying to be helpful. They just want us to stop hurting, even though that's impossible. They feel helpless and just want to make the pain stop.
I'm sure we all wish they could.
But I've heard stories of "friends" who knew exactly what they were saying when they said it. Anyone who pressures a person to "move on" needs to be told that he/she is the person who needs to move on.
Any person who criticizes the way we're grieving needs to be told ...... well, I'm not sure what they need to be told, because I find that too shocking for words.
And that's exactly how I felt when it happened to me. Shocked beyond words.
I was told, only last summer, that I "had grieved wrongly". I was told that I "had been selfish in my grief".
And that I "had been a very bad mother", in my "after".
Fortunately these words were said over the phone, and not to my face. Fortunately, because I'm not sure how I would've reacted, face to face.
These words, these hateful, ugly, spiteful words that were intended to do as much damage as possible, were uttered by a "friend". A very, very close "friend". Or so I thought.
A "close friend" who is still with her very alive husband.
I'm still not sure why she said what she said, other than most likely because of jealousy. Some people need to have the spotlight on them. All of the time.
When you're next to a widowed person, you stand in the shadows. Though I'm sure every single one of us would love to have that light shine elsewhere ...... so that we could stand in the shadows.
And even though it sounds, and is, very, very sick ...... I think jealousy is behind many of the comments we sometimes get from a "friend".
My response was to say that I didn't receive any guide book for grieving my husband. Nor did I receive a guidebook for helping my children grieve while I grieved. And I said that those words were lies.
Then I said the last words that I will ever say to this "friend": don't ever call, text, email or contact me again. Ever.
But before I hung up I told her one more thing: I said that I sincerely hoped that she never has to grieve her husband, but if she does, I hope no one ever, EVER judges the way she does it.
We have not spoken since.
She has made comments on my personal blog, anonymously of course, and I've calmly deleted every one.
I have "moved on" and let go of any anger, hurt or resentment.
Life is too short.
And though I have forgiven her for words that are almost unforgivable, I can no longer have that kind of person in my life.
Because ...... life is way too short.
At the time though, her words had the desired effect ...... for a very brief moment. I felt hurt. Very hurt. She did a good job.
But then I remembered the truth. The truth that buried her lies and any future pain from them forever:
I did the best I could. The very best I could.
I loved Jim fiercely and completely. I have grieved him fiercely and completely.
I did the best I could with what I was given.
It wasn't always pretty. It wasn't neat and orderly. It was never comfortable.
In fact it was downright horrific.
But I'm still here.
Five years later I'm still standing.
Which means I did a good job.
My kids are all mostly happy. They haven't always made the choices I would've chosen for them, but I'm sure they feel the same way about some of mine.
And Jim and I raised our children to grow up and make their own choices, not ours.
Some still struggle with what they really want to be doing.
Some would prefer to be in a better job.
But who hasn't struggled with that?
They are healthy, independent, and strong willed.
And they know without a doubt that they are loved ...... and that someone has their back.
I did a damn good job.
In spite of what I was given.
In spite of words from a "friend".
And while it shocked me to hear those words, I feel even more shocked when I hear that one of you has heard words that hurt. I feel angry, stunned and irate that someone had the nerve to say something hurtful and insensitive to any of you. My blood pressure goes up immediately upon reading those comments.
I want names and numbers!!
I want to call these people and make sure they will never utter words like that to a grieving person again. And I want to give them the name of a good therapist. So that they can learn how to deal with THEIR issues appropriately.
Yes, maybe I need a session or two on anger management.
I just don't want anyone to hurt you ..... you all who are already hurting beyond belief. And so I react.
And yes, I sometimes (ok, many times) wish I could slap the person who hurt you.
But in reality, if I could sit down with that person, I'd love to quietly explain the impact words can have. Words said without (or worse, with) thought. Words uttered by someone who has no idea.
And hopefully never will.
Yes, indeed. People certainly are ...... interesting.
To say the very least.