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This site is run by widowed people, for widowed people

Widowed Village connects peers with each other for friendship and sharing. The moderators, administrators, and others involved in running this site are not professionals.

Please don't interpret anything you read here as medical, legal, or otherwise expert advice. Don't disregard any expert's advice or take any action as a result of what you read here.

We're friends, not doctors, financial or legal professionals, and we're not "grief experts." But we are here, and we've been "there."

(Marcus and I were only married one week shy of four months when he was killed in a work accident. We’re only 32. We’d only been together for a little over 2 years. We spent 15 years apart before reconnecting (high school sweethearts). I’ll write a more in-depth post at some point about my story, but that’s the Cliff Notes version for reference on this post.)

So many people try to compare their hurts and trials to mine, and lessen their own as a result. “I shouldn’t feel as bad as I do because you’re going through so much worse.” “When I’m missing my loved one who is away for work/deployed, I just remember how badly you’d like to hold Marcus one last time.” I get it. Sometimes it helps to put things into perspective to keep you from going into a dark place. You know the old adage, “There but for the grace of God go I.” But please don’t think your hurt is less valid than mine just because your person isn’t dead, or you don’t think you should feel bad because your hurt isn’t as bad as mine in your eyes. God cares about your burden just as much as He does about mine.

Even other widow(er)s do it. They were with their spouse for years, decades even, and think they should be grateful for all the time they had together. Or their spouse was sick, so they got the opportunity to say goodbye. “You’re so young to be a widow…” ”You were together such a short time…” “He died so tragically and suddenly.” The pain of the death of a spouse is absolutely horrendous, regardless of the circumstances. Trust me, I don’t think of mine as being worse or harder than yours. Yes, I envy you at times for getting to tell your husband goodbye or seeing the picture of you celebrating 20, 30, 40 years together. But I will never, ever think your loss is less valid because of those things.

Other times, people don’t come to me with their burdens because they think I’m too weighed down by my own to want to help them. That couldn’t be further from the truth. I rise by lifting others. Matthew 11:28-30 says 'Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.' I truly believe this and as heavy as my grief is sometimes, I know that God will take care of it, and allow me to help others with theirs because He lifts mine. A heavy load spread across many shoulders becomes light. I have a few people carrying this load with me.

I don’t think people say what they do in a form of pity toward me. Many can’t imagine having to walk this path. I couldn’t imagine it before I was in it. I never planned to be here. I don’t want to. God doesn’t give us what He thinks we can handle; He gives us what He knows we’ll bring to Him to help us get through. God has special plans for me, that my testimony will be necessary for. This is not an easy path. Every widow(er) can tell you that. But it’s made easier for me by my faith. I don’t want anyone to think they shouldn’t come to me because the think I’ll be bothered by their need. I truly believe I help myself when I’m helping others. I have so much love to give. I yearn to be the widow that Marcus would be proud of. And being selfish wasn’t his style, nor is it mine.

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Comment by MartyG (ver. 2.1) on July 10, 2018 at 2:05pm

You are very sage, Shelly...I value having you as a friend and as a comforter:)

Comment by Phyllis on July 10, 2018 at 3:38am

The best thing I have learned from my pastor is not to compare my problems to others’ and say they are not as bad as so-and-so’s.   That is saying that you are not important. Everybody has problems, has a right to be heard, and has a right to be comforted.   Of course, I’m not comparing a hangnail to a cancer diagnosis, but everybody in this community is smart enough to know that. Everybody in this community has lost the most important person in their life no matter what the circumstances, how long married, etc.  Recognize that you have had a terrible thing happen, others in this community have had a terrible thing happen, and we need to support ourselves as much as, and as well as, we support each other. 

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