Losing a spouse is very different from losing a sibling, a parent or a grandparent. The only loss I cannot compare it to is losing a child as I have never experienced that and I hope I never do. I can’t even imagine that kind of pain. When you lose a spouse, there are expectations that are not part of any other loss. Plenty of people try to tell you what to do, when to grieve, how long to grieve, when you can start living again, etc… That doesn’t happen with any other kind of loss. I don’t know why, but it seems society brings a lot of baggage when dealing with this type of grief. I haven’t come to terms with that and I won’t pretend to have the answer as to why. I am still searching…
I understand that we widow(er)s are a lot of work. We are not easy by any stretch of the imagination. From the outside, we can seem distant, reserved, or just plain crazy. One day we can be positive and the very next we can be in a pit so deep that you cannot possibly fathom. You just can’t. You don’t know how it feels to lose the foundation of your life and then while dealing with all of that, you have to find the strength to rebuild it. You don’t know how it feels to have your child come to you crying telling you they cannot remember their mommy’s voice. Or watch your child at a mother daughter/son event look longingly at the other children and ask why did this happen? You cannot feel the depth of our loneliness or what we feel for our children. Not only are we grieving our loss, we are grieving our children’s loss. We have lost our identity. We have lost who we are.
But…because of our loss, because of our experience, widow(er)s can love more deeply than the rest of the world. This might sound very arrogant, but the rest of you cannot even understand what a widow(er) means by the term love and I can’t explain it to you. It’s not your fault. I am placing no blame. But words just do not capture the depth of love that our fraternity understands. So when you think you understand us, let me say this very bluntly: YOU DO NOT! Only those who have suffered our kind of loss can understand our behavior, our emotions, and our depth of love. If you are dealing with a friend, a sibling, etc… who has suffered this kind of loss, be patient. Do not abandon us. Do not judge us. Simply accept. We are worth it because as ironic as it sounds, we have been given a gift. We understand the meaning of love in a way that no other can. We feel this emotion with depth, gratitude, and above all…appreciation. We know life does not owe us love. We know it’s a gift and that at any moment, it can be torn away. You may understand those words, but trust me…unless you are one of us, you don’t understand the meaning.
So why am I writing this entry in my blog? Because I want to say thank you to my “Band of Brothers and Sisters”. I have found comfort in other widows and widowers who understand what I go through. We are part of a fraternity whose bonds run very deep. I am extremely grateful for them. You have helped me more than you know. Just when I think I am crazy, or broken, or a freak, you let me know that I am not. You let me know I am not alone. You do not judge me. You simply accept me. You let me know that I am human and I make mistakes…but most importantly, you let me know that I am still valuable and you help define the new me. You have helped me find myself again. Thank you for that. Thank you for the great advice. Thank you for accepting me as I am. I hope that in some small way, I have helped you in your journey. I hope that 2012 brings us all the happiness, peace, and love we can so deeply appreciate.