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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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It actually happened to me this weekend.  I was at my class reunion and I noticed a couple on the other side of the patio.  I leaned over to my friend and said I think Tom and Jane are dating..she their not. They're just friends.  Both of them had lost spouse's.  I thought it was kind of cool to see them together and I said to her..Well Jane just reached up and rubbed Tom's back so I'm pretty sure their dating.  She said..well..they both have had tragic losses and its a great thing they are together.  I said " I can relate to that"  She said.." No you can't.  "Yours was nothing like theirs". husband and I were together 10 great years and he died at my feet..but that just doesn't compare to a car wreck and a Jr High Romance ending in a sudden heart attack.  I felt like I had been slapped and punched in the stomach.  When am I going to learn?

It helps to come actually practice snarky but classy comebacks.  That way, you feel some satisfaction and THEY are the ones who don't know what hit them. I'm sorry that happened to you.  

When I read what you said..I thought Next time I will say " Dead is dead..what's your point?"  short, to the point, kind of blunt..wonder if she will hear my words?  

Really! I didn’t know it was a competition. Whether the loss is sudden or someone has lost their mate through long term illness, grief is grief and it is very intense. How do you measure that kind of pain? Yes, circumstances are different  and some are far worse than others, but  I agree with what you say, “ dead is dead”. I don’t know how you could have planned a response to that sort of remark in advance as I have never heard of anyone comparing grief between two people.

I stopped talking to knuckleheads about being widowed. I found myself being more angered than anything else adding insult to injury. I have a sister who is just a plain nuisance and can't relate. She has even went as far as trying to call me schizophrenic? I'm like okay. It's grief!  I have a cousin who was widowed seven months prior to me losing my Gil. We talk all the time. I think the greatest challenge for us is trying to establish a separate identity from wife, mom, and grandmother. She was with her same man for over forty years. I was with Gil for only eight. Pain is pain. I've been married three times. Divorced twice, and widowed with the last husband. The pain of being widowed is nothing like pain of being divorced even though I was told this by a niece, my sister's daughter that it is all in the same category. She is 59 and never married at all. Never had a workable relationship. She is a minister. I hope that she doesn't try to minister to widows! I'm like good luck with that.

We cannot rate the pain of another. There is no formula whereas you take the number of years married and multiply it by another factor. You are right, pain is pain. No one should question, whether they have experienced it or not. And yes, it may seem at times we act a little different— maybe even a little crazy in someone else’s eyes. We need to survive.  Grief is more like a solo journey for a spouse and it is not a choice. Neither is the way we react.

Many people here mourn the loss of their spouse and mention the many years they were together. Then there are others that had a shorter marriage and mourn the fact they will not be spending the rest of their lives together. We all mourn our losses no matter the circumstance and I don’t think it’s fair that anyone tries to tell a widow how they should feel or act. If they cannot be supportive, they need to keep quiet. Their remarks and analysis are not helpful.

So true, Callie. I married my husband in 2013, two weeks later he passed out at the car wash and was rushed to the hospital. He was diagnosed with a pulmonary embolism during his first health crisis. It was all down hill from there. Several touch and go instances throughout those three years we spent together, but managing to grab some happiness in between each medical incident. But what some people don't understand, is that I will do it all over again if I had it to do again with him! That is how much he meant to me. I don't care if we were married for one day or 100 years, I would give anything just to be with him one more minute. I've had people to tell me to move on, remove my wedding rings and other dumb stuff. Okay, I get it. We are no longer with each other physically, but how do we detach from our love ones spiritually? From what I understand, love never dies.


Moving on means different things to different people. We can let go of the past, which isn’t really optional, but we don’t ever or will ever forget. I remember after my husband passed I experienced such confusion. I really believed that death breaks that bond and just as suddenly as he passed, I had to stop loving him! You know Peach, I quickly changed my mind about that and realized I didn’t HAVE to stop loving him. It may ripple out into space but I don’t have to abandon these feelings because he is no longer here. Yes, I too would give anything to spend of few more hours with him!

Moving on to me is reaching a point in time when we are no longer grieving and have found a way to shelve some of those emotions that have consumed us for such a long time. It’s when we are able to inhale and exhale without crying. It doesn’t mean forgetting  but rather accepting the loss and getting used to living with it. There is no timetable for grief and it’s unfair for anyone to compare one with another. Healing is an individual thing!

Oh my God! This is so true! I love this! I told my niece the same thing. Grief has no timetable. And yes, healing is an individual journey.

Me too married three times..I finally got it right!  We were together 10 great years..and I would do it all over same way..even knowing the end.  I said the other day to someone the same comment about divorce vs. death.  No comparison.  I am just learning to tilt my world back to some kind of order.  Some people can do that quickly..others can not.  One lady in my town lost her husband a few weeks after mine.  She got remarried just 4 months after her husband died.  I couldn't do it..Heck!  I can barely think of dating..but I don't know her life or her heart..or the circumstances.  But it seems to work for her..she is happy. She did say that she lost nearly every one of her friends over it.  How sad.  But now she must surely know who her real ones are by now.   Life is just way too short!  Can turn on a dime and by all means grab ALL the Joy and Happiness out of it you possibly can.

In general, most people cannot make a quick recovery but like you say, circumstances differ. For example, people that are long term caregivers may be dealing with grief long before an anticipated death. We can only do what we think is best for us and pay little attention to wagging tongues. I agree with you, life is too short!  A true friend might express an opinion out of concern but will not desert you if you don’t heed their advice. You wish them the best!

This is so true. Sometimes a caregiver in this relationship has already grieved the loss before the person has transitioned especially if it has been a lingering illness. It depends on the person.


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