The five year anniversary of my husband's death is approaching (May 28) and I am sad, and I am lonely and I missing him more than ever, and stressed with all this pandemic junk going on... Last night, talked to a dear old friend (known her 30 years or so) but we now live in different states. We chit chatted about her kids, grandkids, and she asked about me, and I told her how stressed, depressed about this coming 5 year death anniversary. And she said, "Get over it" she also said, "I can imagine one year or two years of grief, but it's been five years. Let it go!" I tell you, I'm speechless... I want some sympathy, empathy, just someone to talk too and getting this response. Tried to explain how he was my soulmate and one doesn't "get over it" and everyone is different in the grief journey and she says "He's in a better place now." (I hate that) and "Wouldn't he want you to be happy?" (hate that one too)
How do you respond to people like that? I certainly don't want to lose an old friend.... so just ended our conversation...
I think accepting some people just can't sit with other's grief is all you can do. This is not a friend who can be there during your grief. So, come here and share your feelings. We get it.
Dee. The oldest, dearest most compassionate friends still can never ever understand or say appropriate things to us because widowhood is not like any other loss...you have to experience it yourself to "get it". Very simple truth. Your friend was expressing her feelings outside of experiencing what you are going through---it's all she can do. Right or wrong we expect people to support us and say the right things when in reality they haven't a clue. Try not to let it get to you and/or hurt you. And when people talk about the afterlife and where they think another person's love one is now---they again are guessing and have no clue what to say so they bumble these stupid sayings because they just don't have the right words. It is a letdown and can make you feel even more alone and not understood at all. I too hate people telling me what they think my husband would want (for me). They are clueless and ignorant to say things concerning someone else's thoughts. Many of us have lost contact with friends and family who are not supportive, say/said stupid /hurtful things to us or just faded away because they could not deal with death well. They do not and can understand and will only when/if they become widowed. You must accept that even with explanations friends do not "get" it. Try to forgive their stupidity and hurtful words. Tell them your heart and mind are still processing your loss and you do not expect them to understand until they go through the same experience. For the record...I don't think we move forward through our grief to please our dead spouse! We move through it because we are called to respect the gift of life and if for no other reason to serve as an example for others to strengthen them and show them survival techniques when they are ready to give up hope or are stopped with the inability to bring back " normal". Be strong and when you can't come here where there is always someone who knows exactly what you are going through. The 28th will be 24 hr long just like every other day and it too will- come and go ...light a candle say a prayer...your husband may be gone but he will always be with you.
Thank you laurajay, you are so right on so many points, esp: we do not move forward in our grief to please our dead spouse --- I have to keep reminding myself. My friend is not a widow, she is divorced, her husband an asshole I know divorce hurts as I'm divorced from my ex husband, remarried to the love of my life and he died at 59 years old.... we had no children I feel so alone -- I will light candle, say a prayer, I do that everyday, I also ordered a windchime in his honor, he loved wind chimes... hoping it arrives so I can hang it up on the 28th
I have a lovely windchime and I will hang it up on the 28th for you in remembrance of your beloved husband just in case yours does not arrive in time...unless I misplaced it...then a cowbell will have to suffice.
Thank you laurajay!
Dee, I can feel your pain. Saturday, May 23 would have been my 56th wedding anniversary had he lived. He died seven years ago. No one besides me remembered. It also was the one-month anniversary of my brother-in-law's death from COVID19. On top, I got a message that my nephew's son died that afternoon. He had an unexpected, massive heart attack at age 39 and leaves a wife and three children. It seems like there is a huge black cloud hovering overhead. But some days are like that. Later this week, there will be sunshine (literally and figuratively) and smiles and laughter will return.
I know that because that is how my grief journey has been -- ups and downs. My time grieving is mine and no one else knows exactly how it feels. We all grieve differently. I've learned that others want to help, but because they are inexperienced with a life partner's death, they really do not know how to be helpful. No one else knows the nitty-gritty intimacy of your relationship, so they base what they say on their experiences. Take what others say with a grain of salt. Remember they are trying to help. You are under no obligation to respond except maybe say "thank you for letting me talk" or "thank you for listening" or "I'll need some time to think about what you said". Your job now is to take good care of YOU. Best wishes.
Thank you barbee and sorry to hear of your many losses.... I feel your pain too, my husband died, two weeks later our beloved cat died, and the next month my dog died (I know these are our pets, but are family to me) and then six months later my best friend died.... We actually all lived together, my friend and her two dogs in the back apartment, Bob (my husband) 2 cats and one dog. It was a wonderful communal type thing. Then, everyone started dying, and I was left with just me and Ripley (one cat).... Overwhelming.... I did get another dog, a rescue, so now it's me, Ripley and Kona (new dog) ... but life feels cursed sometimes.... so lonely esp. with the pandemic thing... And thanks for your suggestions, I will remember them.
Total lack of understanding. No one “ gets over it”. I’ve gotten used to my husband being gone, but after 11 yrs I can’t say I’ve gotten “over it”. It’s not unusual to feel sad on those milestone anniversaries. You don’t need anyone’s permission either! Maybe a response could be “Until you experience such a loss, it’s hard to understand the complexity of grief. I am not asking for anything but your understanding and empathy.”
There is no timetable—at two years you’re supposed to be past the grief? It does not work that way. As long as you feel you’re making progress and not “stuck”, I would say it seems normal to me. Some people deal with it by making some sort of plans for that day. It’s OK to remember and deal with the sadness too. Why not? Grief is more a process than an emotion or feeling. It takes time and a whole lot of patience too. You can’t skirt around it or avoid it . Eventually, peace finds us.
To all who responded, thank you so very much, it was exactly what I needed and I really appreciated it... This year was especially hard, as past death anniversaries a friend would usually invite me for lunch or dinner to get me out of the house and my mind off the day, this year, however (I'm in Florida) and we are still "locked in" so not many places open and really, no one wants to go out. I did get and hang a wind chime in my husband's honor and watched a couple of our favorite movies, lit a candle (always do) and cried a bit but got through the day.....
Thanks again everyone for your support.
I decided I just won't talk to that friend for awhile and when I next do, I won't bring up my husband's death....
As with grieving from abuse, some people do not understand that dealing with a spouse's death is a journey not a destination. This is a ride I'll be on the rest of my life. The pain will lessen over time. The journey never ends.
I thought erroneously about healing from abuse, believing that one day I would arrive and be finished. That is until a therapist told me it is a life long journey. That was a shocker. It took me several months to come to an acceptance about my new reality. And now I'm on yet another journey which intertwines with that journey.
I've explained that concept of grief as a journey not a destination to people who say, "Get over it," and it usually resonates with them. If not, I just dust off my shoes and walk on.
Because of what I went through in my marriage I realize my situation is different than many who are widowed. It adds a different element to my journey.
Regarding your comment "The pain will lessen over time"
I don't think the pain lessens, I believe the level of pain stays the same, we simply get use to it over time and it becomes the new normal.
Everyone is different but that it how I view it.