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."


...... of widowed people.

It's not that we aren't alike in many ways.
We are.
We have each experienced a loss deeper than anything we could've ever imagined.
And that creates quite a bond most of the time.

Yet each of us is as different and unique as apples are to oranges.
Sure, they're both fruits (I'm going to refrain from calling some of us fruits ...... though it's requiring a whole lot of self control!), but the comparisons stop there.

Yes, some people who are not widowed try to compare us to others quite often.  There are way too many of us who've been told that someone "understands" because he/she experienced the death of a pet.
Yes, that's really happened (it happened to 2 of my daughters).
Sad ...... and disgusting ...... but true.

Some try to compare being widowed with being divorced.
(I can feel your blood pressure rising as you read this.
You should feel mine as I'm writing it!)
If you haven't had someone mention how much better off you are, because you're not divorced ...... just wait.
Your turn is coming.

Some of you have felt the sting of having the way you're grieving compared to another widowed person.
Some have been slapped in the face with, "You're doing it wrong."
Hopefully, you knew better than to believe something, and someone, so vile.  But if you didn't ...... you do now.

We cannot be compared.
Our grief is as unique to us as are our fingerprints.
It is what it is.
It will be what it will be.
And it will last for as long as it lasts.

Which means that not only should others stop comparing us ......
but so should we.

What?  What am I talking about?  We who are widowed compare ourselves ...... to each other?!
Yes, indeed.
At least in the beginning.
And then hopefully, just as we learn to ignore the ignorant, we learn to ignore the ignorance that tries to rear its ugly head inside of us.

You know what I mean.
"I wish my husband hadn't died so suddenly and unexpectedly.  If he'd had cancer, like ______'s husband, we would've had time to prepare for this."
"I wish my husband didn't have to get so sick and linger for all those months.  If he could've just dropped dead from a heart attack, like _____'s husband, life would've been easier.  And he wouldn't have had to suffer."
"I wish my kids were older, like ____'s.  I want to know that they'll remember her/him.  And only-parenting is so very hard."
"I wish my kids were younger, like ____'s.  They'll soon be out on their own, living their own life with their future wide open.  And then I'll be alone.  All too soon.  And ...... only-parenting is so very hard."

I could go on with this, but I bet most of you could, too.

We're taught, at a very young age, to compare ourselves.  And we almost always find ourselves lacking.
As we grow up, and older, we hopefully learn what an amazing waste of time that is.  And so we stop.
But those of us on this site, at some point on our path to maturity, have found ourselves in a totally different reality.  We are usually lost in this reality for quite some time.
And so comparisons naturally creep back in.

But we, as the widowed, need to put a stop to that.
We can't compare our loss to someone else's.
We can't measure our grief on someone else's scale.
We can only carry our own grief.  Which is already too heavy some days, so how can we expect to carry someone else's?

There are no comparisons.
Long illness.
Sudden death.
Young children.
Grown children.
No children.
Six children.
A will.
No will.
Natural death.
Married 35 years.
Together 3 years.

The differences matter not.
We here are all in this together.
Because this much I know:
Grief is grief.

And it sucks.

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Comment by kelleyinnewyork on April 27, 2013 at 6:51pm

AMEN, LADY!!! lol

Comment by Suz on March 6, 2013 at 5:23pm

Right, Janine. We all do it a little differently. At the bottom is the reality that grief is grief and we all have that. Love your writing! Thanks.

Comment by Morgana (Janet) on March 6, 2013 at 5:22pm

Janine, thank you for this.  We all need the reminder.  As Barbara Johnson says "Pain is inevitable but MISERY IS OPTIONAL so, Stick a Geranium in Your Hat and Be Happy."  It is a great book for anyone who is interested but it will probably be listed as "Stick a Geranium in Your Hat and Be Happy".

Comment by only1sue on March 6, 2013 at 2:34pm

Lonely is lonely. Sad is sad.  Neither good or bad.  As you say it is what it is.

Comment by jean on March 6, 2013 at 10:36am

so true. Thanks for this reminder.. I needed it. ((hugs))

Comment by Lori on March 6, 2013 at 10:15am

Thank you you said it so well

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