"Hi Michelle, how are you?"
Is it just me, or is this a dumb question to ask a
eight week old widow?
Got it in an e-mail this morning and I really don't have the
wherewithal to answer.
Do you have a standard reply that you use? Is it
different when the question is asked in person, in
a phone call, in an e-mail?
I'd have an easier time answering in person or in
a phone call. I think I'll just reply to the e-mail
with, "It's too complicated to address in an e-mail."
I had a tough night last night, so no doubt my "grief
"hangover" is coloring my mood. So glad I have you all
to bounce this off of. Thanks for being here...
I always reply with "Well, I'm still a widow." because it seems to include the loss and the pain are still present...which even after 7 yrs are still very real and very present. The pain and challenge of widowhood does not get softer in my opinion but life and grief change. Not better not worse just changed.
Communicating with people usually means using words. Sometimes it is easier to just grab someone and hug them and cry with them, or nod your head and look reassuringly at them. Words will never suffice to make someone who has had a great loss feel better. Only someone else who has had a great loss can understand that.
When someone asks "How are you?" or "How are your coping?" or anything else like that, it's because they kind of want to know how you are doing (up to a point- they really don't want you to sit them down and tell them how miserable you are and how you really can't cope, and nothing means anythng anymore) but they are trying,-- in their own uninvolved way, they are trying to befriend you. Try, hard as it seems, try to accept it as a kindness to you and to them.
MishyB I think we all ask dumb questions when we don't know what to say..we don't mean harm, just want to communicate and help....but depending on one's mood it will hit us differently.
I always thought that question was dumb anytime but what else does one say ...so the other day I was feeling mischievous and while I went to the doctor and shopping, every time anyone asked how I was I would say I'm tired (which I actually was)..they often were surprised and quickly said ..I am sorry ...then I said isn't it funny how we always say we are fine even though we may not be....everyone agreed and laughed with me ...it was more fun than always saying 'fine' :)
English is just a language of words. In times of real trouble, words are often inadequate. Sometimes a hug, or a shrug of the shoulders, or some other physical gesture is more expressive and says more than words. I would rather someone takes my hand, or hugs me or pats my back or in some physical way communicates rather than using words.
I am guilty of this as well, and yet, I feel I should know better.
I have found that listening, without saying a word, eye contact, being there is the most effective.
When I have been hurting, what has helped me is having a person be silent as I suffer. Words don't help. That being said, one time, a person responded, "Damn, that sucks!"
Refreshing because it was real.
reply to soulmate:
Maybe you're right. That exactly expresses my view: "Damn, that sucks!" Maybe the crappy words that wouldn't be used in a "feel better" card says what we are feeling better than pretty words.