A community of peers created by the Soaring Spirits Loss Foundation
I was recently reading a forum on a dating website specific to concerns of widows and widowers when dating. I found myself kind of "irked" when I read several posts of those who were divorced comparing their grief. I wrote the following post...and realized it was kind of a good vent for me so I thought I would share it here. But having never been divorced...I cannot really compare. I know I watched my best friend tear her kids (my godchildren) apart when going through hers. She is no longer the same person and we are no longer friends...
I hope the read maybe makes some one feel they are not alone...and If you have been divorced and I am totally out of line...please check me on it...and realize it is not my intention to lessen the pain of one's divorce.
Here's the post:
I was married for 23 years and we were together 26. I would not call my husband my soul mate... I don't really believe in that. We were best friends in a lot of ways. We just got along...Most everything about our relationship was easy we were good at getting along. The tough things were work and money...tough for every marriage, but I guess we were in for the long haul. We were a great team. He then became very ill with serous heart failure. He deteriorated slowly over ten years. We worked hard to put things in place so that I would be okay if he died. We grieved a lot together when we would get a diagnosis. I worked and he was disabled...and he did everything he could to make my life as breadwinner as easy as possible. For the last three years he would sleep a lot. Sometimes late into the day. Countless days I would come home from work and the house was dark and I thought the worst. One day this came true for me...
I thought I was prepared...I thought it would be tough, but I was strong. I was strong, but the grief took over...the sadness and loneliness were the most intense I have ever felt. We were not divorced...things did not "not work out", there was no cheating or affair...he was gone. I could not call and yell at him on the phone. I could not communicate to him through my attorney...I could not put my kids in the middle to relay messages. He was gone. I could not ask him where he put the titles to the cars. I could not ask him how to adjust the satellite tv. He IS gone. Please don't compare my experience to your divorce.
I do not expect men I date to replace my husband. I do not think there is "nobody better than he was." I know if there was a new man in my life...he would not be competing with my late husband, but he sure as heck would have to respect that my late husband was a huge part of my life and should not feel jealous about it. It is life. The term "I'm finding it hard to meet...and the long lists of wants and don't wants on the dating profiles amaze me sometimes." I do not know what I am looking for. I am not really "looking" Just finding companionship and those with similar interests... or sometimes not...I just reach out when I am interested. The rest will take care of itself. Let go of the anger every one. One day at a time and be kind to all those you meet. You do not know what goes on in their lives.
I get annoyed by that too. I have been divorced and widowed and believe me, divorce was a cake walk for me compared to being widowed. I think people just don't get it. Not until it happens to them directly. My own brother used to bring up his ex wife almost every time I tried to talk to him about how much pain I was in with my man dead. I finally gave up trying to get through to him. He would always say, "but it FEELS like a death". Well, if you have never had a marriage end in death (he didn't) you can't very well say divorce FEELS like being widowed, can you?
With strangers I just let it slide. Unless the seem genuinely interested in how it is different I don't talk about it anymore.
Thanks for your reply and glad to know that at least one person understands why the hair on the back of my neck raised...I should let it slide...but I guess I had to get it out of my system a little...
I have had years of practice letting it slide. Don't beat yourself up.
yeah got to remember that too. :)
I feel the opposite way. I lost my, well for lack of another term, my better half one month shy of our 28th anniversary, and when I hear of someone getting divorced it tears me up. Philip's death wasn't a failure. We did nothing wrong to bring it about. In fact, by the time the dementia had full hold of him, it was probably blessed release for him.
But divorce is a loss, it is a death of a family. It is admitting that you failed, no matter who's fault it was, and whatever caused it, it grieves me, because a divorcing couple never had what Philip and I had, and that is the saddest thing of all.
Thanks for the different perspective. You are correct. I agree...I think I will begin to think of it this way. It is a way for me to let go of the anger I felt and that I do not want to carry around.
I married my high school sweetheart. We divorced 8 years later. I was a wreck. An absolute shell of what I'd once been. But I recovered and I moved on and I fell in love and married a woman who I was absolutely crazy about. I no longer used the term Soulmate because I realized it had been thrown around casually in my life. We loved so strongly that when she died I thought love had died. It had not. I was 32 and again I struggled to find my feet and did and I was lucky....amazingly lucky and fell in love and married. My wife died recently after 12 years of marriage. Very good strong devoted marriage and a great family and productive prospering kids. I can tell you that for me there is no similarty except that you're grieving loss. But I never have been glad that either of my wive's died. I have often been glad that my first marriage ended because I would never have known the sort of happiness that I have since experienced. I was having lunch yesterday and my friend and coworker said he felt, when his first marriage ended that he was grieving the death of the person she had been because he felt that she had disolved into a pool of greed and self centered materialism in a matter of a year or so. That made sense but I still don't think he has a clue. I didn't feel the need to tell him, just like I don't say anything to people who equate my wife's death their dog or cat dieing. It's usually pointless.
I feel you with the usually pointless thing...
Thanks for your perspective EvilDad...they must be good kids if they think you are evil.
I remember when I divorced my firsst husband. People told me it was like a death. While I had some moments where I missed aspects of our relationship and would cry, I would think it through to the last six months before the divorce. This would snap me back into reality.
My husband's death in June of this year is SO NOT like when I divorced. We were married 8.5 years. This was someone that I loved dearly and I wanted to grow older with. The emotional, physical, spiritual roller coaster is unbelievable. People just don't get it.
I have been divorced once and widowed twice. There is no comparison. When I divorced I had to learn to feel the anger and trust again. I was robbed of my self respect and dignity. I remarried. On the rebound. Not wise. He died before we had been married a year and honestly I would have ended up divorcing him if he hadn't died. That was a different type of grief because I was mourning what the marrage should have been instead of mourning the death of a real person. I had to work my way around to accepting he was not a good person for me. Then I remarried to the right man but he died. We had a good marrage and I would have gladly spent the rest of my life with him. Again it is a different type of grief. This time I am mourning so much more but it is a peaceful grief. I talk to him and feel him still in my heart. I do not think any death is the same or any marrage is the same so being widowed is never the same but the poster who said being widowed is the death of a family is right. This time I feel I will be with my husband again. I feel we are still a family. It is both worse and better.