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

Judging me "through" my Husband's eyes.

My husband's death was very public, tragic, & sudden. He was 49 years old and somehow his death became everyone else's tragedy.(It was on the TV, in several newspapers , & several magazines). I did my best to attend the public events in which he was honored or missed and have tried to represent him at certain functions he always attended. I have now been criticized for trying to be my husband or trying to take his place by assuming professional responsibilities. I even had a mutual friend advise me to start spending more time with new friends & to not spend so much time with friends that were Rich's as they were really his friends and not mine anyway. (He was saying this to protect me from the judgement, so he says). I do not have friends outside of this circle because my husband and I were so enmeshed that we did everything together, however, I did not always attend his events as I was home with our children.

I have not been chatting or posting in my groups, however I think now that I am almost 7 months out I may begin since the gossip and judgment that has come to my awareness is not something I can objectively discuss with my family & friends (as they are guilty as well). I have made the decision to close my husband's business after nothing but drama and turmoil since January first. One employee attempted suicide and the other had already put in notice to leave as working in the void left by Rich's death was too much to bear for those young men who loved him so. The criticism we have been on the receiving end of concerning the business was not only unjustified, but also cruel as there were even accusations of me and one of the employees being involved romantically. That is not true. I treated him like the son my husband treated him as. I welcomed him into our family during the grieving process & we played music and recorded some together. I now know that to be playing music was declared "disrespectful to my husband's memory" and it was assumed I was out partying and drinking almost every night. Again, far from the truth.

My friends got together and had "meetings" to discuss what they needed to do to intervene as I was not being myself and was not being appropriate. They did not come to me with any of their concerns until they had all gotten together to discuss me and make their grand assumptions. I have had sit down meetings with 4 friends to defend myself like a child in the principal's office and I told them all they need to clear the misconceptions with anyone they've discussed me with and they should have my back and come to me before they make such ridiculous accusations and assumptions. They should be ashamed of themselves and their only defense is that they were worried and concerned, but I think they were also hurt that I was not reaching out to them for "help". Since I wasn't they assumed I must be in terrible shape & avoiding them, one even asked "are you mad at me you didn't answer my text?". I recently have preferred to be alone and I do attend a widow support group, I was just tired and didn't have the energy to be with people who look at me like a hurt puppy all the time.  I am not angry with them, and continue to be friends, but I did put them in their place and defended myself.

I explained that no one has the right to judge me through my husband's eyes as it was their assumptions about his perspective they were judging me through. My husband would not feel slighted in anyway by my playing music publicly or by my support and friendship to the young man he was trying to mentor. He would be proud of me for getting over my stage fright and he would be so sad the this boy tried to end his life, but would be grateful I was there to intervene & save his life. I had been struggling with the idea of closing the business and moving out of our home but these past 2 weeks have convinced me that I need to do that. The sooner those around me start seeing me as Cindy and stop seeing me only as Rich's wife the better off I will be. I had no idea that my life had become the fodder for gossip until January first and I was blindsided by all of this. I really thought I had great support and was doing the best I could in a terrible situation. My heart was ripped out of my chest and I have been just trying to breathe & survive. I found one thing, music, that made me feel some comfort, and I am so hurt that they all criticized me for it. 

Thank you for allowing me to have a safe private place to vent. There is actually even more going on but these are the issues I needed to get off my chest. Since I just wanted to vent I did not want to post such a long winded rant on any of my groups. I hope to start utilizing that support soon.


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Comment by AEDforever (Ali) on January 25, 2016 at 12:51pm

Very Sorry for your loss CinPan.  "They" don't get it.  "We" do.  Hope you will stick around with us.  We are here.

Comment by Patience on January 19, 2016 at 2:06pm
Hi Cindy, we have a bit in common, you and me! My husband also was a very public figure and had a business which I closed 7 months after he passed in 2012. Best decision I ever made ...There were many issues among them the fact that the business supported us- as well as numerous members of my husband's family... But that's another story..

I do have more of my own identity now, but my husband's legacy lingers on...forging my own identity has been a huge learning experience and opportunity! I have found it a little difficult to break away from that "couple identity" especially in the small community in which my daughters and I still live.
Best wishes to you and I'm glad you're reaching out here on widville... ((((Hugs))))
Comment by Callie2 on January 18, 2016 at 3:52pm
I am sorry for your loss and all you've been going through. Being a widow somehow feels like we've been thrust into a strange new world--not only do we suffer from the loss but we are treated differently, or at least, it feels that way. Hope things settle down soon and that these comments and actions were meant with good intention but continue to speak up when necessary as we can't always assume these things. It would not be right for someone to take advantage of your vulnerability right now.
Comment by Toniadpt on January 17, 2016 at 5:40pm

Cindy, I am sorry for your loss. I am sorry that your friends have treated you poorly. I got so angry for you while reading your post. I just can't believe the nerve of other people. I have had some ridiculous comments made to me. I know that my family and friends only want what is best for me, but they don't understand what I am going through. None of them have lost a spouse. I am only 37. My husband was also 37 when he was killed 6 months ago in a work accident. His family would love for the media to get involved to show how horrible his company is at regulating safety issues. But, they don't realize that would put me at the center of all of it. I understand that they are mad and only want the company to realize what they did and make the appropriate changes. Nothing is going to bring back my husband. I just want to figure out who I'm supposed to be now without Jim by my side. No one will be able to help me with that except for myself. I struggle just to live every day and they don't realize it because I put a happy face on to make them happy. At about the 3 month mark, I started crying in front of my mother-in-law and she said to me "I thought you were done with crying." Seriously!!! I will never be done crying over my loss. Yes, I will probably cry less often. But, my heart will always be crying. I too tried initially to be Jim and do things that he would do. He was the kind of guy that did everything for everyone. When he needed help, he would never ask. So now that he's gone, I find it so hard to ask for help. Part of me thinks that if Jim could do things, then so can I. But I don't have the skills or knowledge. I'm not Jim. It's ok to be me. I just need to figure out who this new me is. We didn't have children. He was my best friend. We did everything together. I'm wishing you the best. Stay strong. 

Comment by CinPan on January 16, 2016 at 9:38am

Thanks for the support Wendy, I will check out your blog now.

I am guilty of just lurking and reading. I have not been active in discussions or "liking" things not out of disrespect or not wanting to provide feedback for what I was reading, but because I was just trying to keep a low profile and did not want to engage with anyone here. I wasn't ready to interact or even acknowledge I was here, perhaps others that have viewed but not "liked" were in the same boat as me. 

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