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I had a person who was in the throes of divorce tell me that MY loss was "beautiful and romantic." My husband was dying of cancer at the time.

 

I felt sorry for her, and so, she went un-punched.

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They don't know, they can't know, and we can't expect them to know.  "Get over it" and "move on" and "you're stuck" are about them, not you.  They want to stop having to worry about you.  They want to put it out of their minds so they don't have to think "If it happened to her/him, it could happen to me."  I made it a practice to just not internalize the stupid things people say, because to do otherwise, well, that way madness lies.

I think it would be OK to shut down anyone who starts with a "Who had it worse?" by saying, "It's impossible to compare two people's pain and grief, let's not even go there."

Honestly, I think I was too dumbfounded to react.  The background of the relationship I had with her is I was pretty low back then. And I put up with a lot of her bullying.  But when her daughter started/continued to bully mine, I ended the relationship.  I let it go on for too long, trying to give the benefit of the doubt.  But enough was enough.  But none the less,  quite the insensitive thing to say! And helped me move on from that negative energy. 

I get this. It's like a competition  who has it the worst. I see this more so among the divorced people. We widows are grieving the death of our spouses. Divorced people are bitter people full of complaints about their ex spouses. I'm not even going to go there with them.

I haven't spoken to my brother in almost eight months because of his mouth. And true, we are too dumbfounded to say anything because the pain is just too deep for us to respond. He told me that I was going to be alone for the rest of my life. LOL 

Maria, you did the right thing by ending this relationship with a bully. I have a niece that is a minister who went on Facebook blasting me because I wouldn't allow her freeloading butt in my home four months after my husband passed. 

People can be a trip!

I don't know why people think it's a contest.  You know, my husband was often very difficult to live with in the last decade of his life....indeed, from the time of his midlife crisis at age 42 (which may have been when he started having mini-strokes).  There were many times when I honestly felt I could not go on.  An emotional affair, his inability to hold onto a job for more than a year or so, which put added pressure on me, his inability to remember anything I needed him to do...and so on.  I now believe much of this was what was happening in his brain, but I couldn't have known then.

But I never left.  It's not that I got gratification out of living like that.  But I always know that if we split, I'd regret it for the rest of my life.  As tough as being widowed is, I have borne it better than if I'd had to look at him making a new life while I had regrets.  Divorce is a different kind of pain, but it's still painful.

I was only married for three years, but I met my husband when I was 49 years old. He was living the life of a single man when we met. He started getting serious about our relationship about six months later, but he was still rough around the edges. He still had his faults, and I found out after he passed that he was still in contact with both of his exes. The thing that messed with me the most was that I couldn't confirm what was the truth or fiction, and I couldn't confront him. I had to figure this out alone. What I did do though was write a ton of letters to him and I would write answers the way I thought he would answer me back. This was good therapy for me and it helped me spiritually. I got this idea from reading Elizabeth Kubler-Ross' book, On Grief and Grieving. I reached a point and the revelation that he never learned how to deal with either one of these women effectively. He allowed himself to be bullied into situations and then would look for me to put a stop to it. Even after his death, I still found myself getting in the middle and having to let these women know that I was his wife and now I am his widow. They needed to hear that from me. Where the hell he found the time to keep this mess going between multiple hospitalizations, is a mystery to me. With one ex, they had lost a son four years prior our marriage. But when I talked to the ex after Gil died, she told me that she had another boyfriend the same time she got pregnant. She was just so full of herself. This was before the days of DNA testing. So, I wonder if this kid was Gil's son or not. Either way, he took responsibility for his son. The ex-wife divorced him, but for some reason, they were still communicating even though she had remarried a man almost twenty years her senior. I can accept the fact that some couples remain cordial after divorce and break-ups, but I couldn't figure out what all the secrecy was about. Most of what these women were telling me was just plain bs. I finally came to terms with everything this late spring. I was determined not to place any energy into this anymore. I had enough. What is done is done.

I'm twice divorced. At least I know the SOBs are still on the planet earth, but as far as both of those marriages went; good riddance! I don't know where either of them are at this date and time.

I’ve been both divorced and widowed and there is one thing I would like to mention here regarding the difference between the two. It can be especially devastating when you’re unsuspecting and do not want a divorce, but out of the blue, your spouse is requesting one! This happened to me and to a friend of mine years later. After my husband died, she did mention (correlated) her feelings of loss but did acknowledge there was a difference. We both understood each other. Circumstances around divorce vary but it is still considered a major life event.

Someone said here that pain is pain and that’s so true. When your spouse dies, neither one wants to separate. Divorce can break our heart but most people can heal and move on with their lives. Death breaks our heart but also cuts deep into the soul. Healing is slow and probably never complete but we do kind of get used to them not being around. It takes time to find peace but it does come.

My first husband did this too me. He left me for another woman.He filed for the divorce. My daughter had just turned three.  Last I heard he left his third wife of twenty years and is living with a fourth woman. I don't think their divorce is even finalized.

One thing that makes a difference between divorce and death is that if you lose your spouse who was also your soul mate then the loss is even more severe than ever. I had been divorced before to someone I was in love with and I didn't see it coming. Devastating? You bet, yet it was tame compared to losing my wife who was most certainly my soul mate. You know when they are alive and you sure know it when they have left. I realized years after my divorce that that person wasn't at all a soul mate yet there was still love there. Pain is pain yet it has many levels. Like when a doctor asks you "On a scale of one to ten, what is your pain level?" I would say on that one.....11.  Perhaps losing a spouse who you loved but yet was not a soul mate might feel to some quite similar to divorce. You wish those that make that comparison knew what it was really like but I would not wish that pain on anyone.

Well said.  My husband and I were one...so many women compare it to their divorce.  I really feel like half of me died and although I am functioning as the 4 year mark approaches I am not sure I am living.

I know the feeling! I felt the same when my husband died. I'm almost hitting the two year mark on December 1st. I'm beginning to feel a separateness now, so I'm able to maneuver through life a little easier as than before. Although, I still sleep on my side of the bed. I haven't been able to travel as much without him. I do okay with the travel when I have my daughter and grandson with me.  

As I stated earlier, I've been divorced twice, but this widow's journey is no comparison to either of those divorces I've experienced. As one preacher said it; "I've been on both sides of those tracks."

My husband and I were always together.

You’re so right katpilot. But it is hard to rate pain on a scale from 1-10 when that pain (divorce) is the worst you’ve felt your entire life. You would almost need something to compare it to. That is why I measure in depth. Ex. After a very shocking and painful divorce, two years later I felt ready to date again or at least socialize. Two years after losing my husband (and soulmate) I was only beginning to accept that he is really gone. It just reaches all the way down into the soul, I don’t know how else to describe it. Once you’ve experienced it, only then can you really understand. This is why I don’t let any “comparisons” upset me. We don’t know what we don’t know sometimes. One thing I try hard not to do is trivialize someone else’s pain even if they cite silly analogies. I had a dog many years ago that developed liver cancer. We kept her going with a special diet and some TLC. for  around six months. I cried when we first got her diagnosis up until weeks after she passed. I hadn’t had any close losses at that time in my life and found the experience quite painful. Of course it’s not anywhere near the depth of pain of losing a person—especially a spouse, but at the time, it was very sad.

Divorce is still a choice, even if one may not agree. Death is not, at least in most cases. However, it is certain. We will all be leaving here one day. If we were fortunate to experience true love during this lifetime— for no matter how long—then perhaps the pain is worth it. I have had friends and others pass through this life without finding real love so what right do I have to be angry?  I was given a true “gift”.

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