I used to let people come talk to me and I would listen. Now, in the "after" that is widowhood, I open conversations with "Listen, frankly, first of all, no one knows what to say to us (Collin and I) and we don't know what to say back".
I started doing it out of sheer desperation becuase otherwise I would be bombarded with really cruel (mostly unintentionally so) remarks by people like:
"You were meant to be alone". (REALLY?!? If that were the case I (1) wouldn't have married in the first place and (2) would have worked really hard to find some island somewhere or a cave where I could be a hermit-now THAT is a solo sort of occupation)
"You are too young and beautiful to be a widow" (REALLY ?!? This was my hand-selected career choice?!? And what do my looks have to do with it??? Heck, thought I went to college and got a Master's degree in something else. Quick-have someone check my references!)
.....and the list of winners goes on....some real prizes on the blog on that topic that haven't been said to me (yet!) I grabbed a girlfriend and went on a rant about EE (Everyone Else) and their well-intentioned but thoughtless remarks and she was rolling with laughter by the end of it. Maybe a good standup comedy routine is in there somewhere.
But it seems to be working and gets me away from the things people are trying to say to put my loss "in a box" and tying a bow around it with a trite, useless, hurtful comment which is more about them making sense of it than comforting me.
I find I am more sensitive to loss these days and the thing that I have lost is my innocence....bad things do happen to good people like the folks on this village of ours. We are stronger than our circumstances, we will finish this grief journey, but we will never surrender the love that we have felt with our partners. That part of our heart is claimed forever-we will just make space for those that we love in our lives.