Sunday, March 3, 2013

The Past vs. Support

A friend posted this on facebook. The sad part is, I see it to be true.

I often forget that a lot of people in my life now, have never met my husband.

I will randomly bring up a memory, to someone that has never met Seth, and will get the look along with “Aw, I never met him, remember?” Which gives me a major case of whiplash.

Trying to blend the before life and after life, is a hellish experience and major chore.

I wish everyone could have met Seth. So they could have seen how funny, compassionate and dorky he was. I wish everyone could have met this amazing man, that I grieve over daily.

I wish I could bring him back, just long enough to have a “come meet my dead husband party” so everyone could meet him.

There has been so many times, even on a date with a guy, that I have said “I wish you could have met my husband”. Sure, if he wouldn't have died, I wouldn't be on a date, but I still wish everyone could have met him.

It pains me that my nephew has no memory of Uncle Seth. It pains me that my husband will not make memories with my nephew, and hell, he will never learn about the new me.

Because of his death, I am the new me, but I wish he was here to see it.

Through his death, I have met amazing people. Some of my best friends are widows. If Seth wouldn't have died, they would not be in my life… as we started out as widow support for each other, and became best friends. Without his death, I wouldn't have those friends.

Through my journey, there are things that I am glad he hasn't been here to witness though.

Things like his family blaming me for his death, accusing me of homicide in court, and trying to take his estate from me. As horrible as that was, I’m glad he did not have to witness his family treating me that way. I can only imagine what his reaction would have been.

I am also glad he doesn't have to witness people telling me I’m grieving wrong, that I should be over this by now, it’s time to move on, and yada yada.

I admit, I have grieved wrong. For the first year after his death, I was drowning myself in alcohol. That for me, was grieving wrong. But that doesn't mean it’s wrong for everyone. It just wasn't working for me.

I’m glad he doesn't see the pain that people cause me by telling me I should be over that by now. I’m glad he doesn't witness me fighting the internal battle over my grief.

You see, when someone tells me I should be at x, y and z in my grief, it leaves me second guessing myself. It leaves me hurt, feeling unsupported and that I’m not trying hard enough (Yes, someone told me I wasn't trying hard enough, ironically on the one year anniversary).

When someone criticizes my grief, I feel like they put unfair expectations on me. Expectations that I most likely can’t live up to. When I know I can’t live up to someone else expectations it makes me angry and makes me second guess why they are even in my life to begin with.

What bothers me the most, is that people think I can get over this. That I can forget my husband.

While some days it would be easier if I did forget my husband, it’s something that will never happen. I will never forget my husband, and I will never get over this.

Grief is my lifelong disease. I will always have to take care of it, just like a diabetic has to take insulin. But instead of checking my blood sugar levels, I have to check my grief levels. With high grief levels, I have to admit myself back to my personal intensive care unit.

This will be a lifelong process that I will always have to check on and take care of.

If you are reading this, and are not widowed, please be supportive of those that are. There are not many ways to grieve wrong, and by telling someone they are grieving wrong, you are damaging the person emotionally and damaging the relationship you have with this person.

If you don’t know how to support a widowed friend, then don’t say anything. Just listen.

All we really want is someone to listen. Doesn't matter if you can relate or think grieving should go in a certain order, we just want you to listen and care.

I always remember what my mom taught me growing up. “If you have nothing nice to say, then say nothing at all.” 


  1. I always tell people grief is not something you get over, but something you must learn to live with. It gets easier, but never goes away. I too often wish people could have known my husband and understand why I was attracted to him This to me would nelp them understand me and my loss.

  2. Melinda,
    Please try to remember this: anyone who criticizes your grieving ..... has never grieved. So they don't know what they're talking about. They have no idea. None.
    So they're words should fall off of you like water on a duck's back. Don't hear them.
    You know what grief is.
    You will grieve the way you grieve for as long as you grieve.

  3. I love how you parallel grief to an illness needing "level checks" ; kind of like my high blood pressure issues; I monitor it regularly and then plan and adjust accordingly. I can relate to this. Great word picture for me.
    I think we as a society at large are in a hurry; there is even a loose "diagnosis" called "Hurry Sickness" for the way everyone is running around; so really, though dismayed and disappointed, I'm not really surprised when people think I should be better "because after all it's been two years...." The way I feel is my Marty was my husband...I will NEVER forget him....I will always talk about him when I need to and he will be woven into conversation as it is fitting....if you are uncomfortable with that, this relationship prob won't go anywhere bc I will have to be a fake, and remain above the water line level with you....and one of the few things I promised to my dead husband on his sudden death bed was 1) I will honor your forever and 2) I will be true to myself.
    As Marty would tell me "Mary, put on your teflon underwear, let it slide off and keep walking."
    Great post.

  4. A much-needed post, Melinda. Thank you. May those who haven't yet known grief heed your words of "just listen".
    I really connected with your comment that "Grief is my lifelong disease." Regardless of how others think I am doing I need to understand that this is MY disease, MY grief, MY healing and I will do it the way it needs to be done for ME.