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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."

 Since Jerry's death, I have heard the whisperings of people who may or may not be well-meaning.  It is a really small town and everyone knows everyone.  So, I expect that I have to hear things I don't like or answer questions when I really don't want too.  Ignorance runs rampant around my town.  Not everyone, most folks are kind or mean well even if they don't cut the mustard.  

I am on the fence, should I fight stupid with stupid?  Should I put my mask on and pretend all is wonderful in my world?  Of course, life in a small town is a double-edged sword.  Wear my mask, and people will be all over me.  Whispers that I am on to my next man.  How did she get over him so soon?  Complain (when asked) that I'm not okay, and I'm scared, lost and insecure.  I've actually been told that I am okay and to stop saying I'm not.  Why didn't the man A) not ask since he apparently know's how I feel better than I do or B) Smack me hard across the face and get it over with?  

Sometimes, I do feel fine.  It doesn't mean that 15 mins later I'm not fighting tears or choking on sobs. Only to be okay again moments later.  I hear that I'm faking.  Which annoys me to no end.  I don't know why that happens to me (or rather didn't),  Whatever range of emotions you have at any given moment are valid, people should have enough common sense to know that. I felt insane at the beginning of my bull ride through grief.  I'm not even sure I can call grief a journey anymore.  Journeys are peaceful, this crap I'm going through is violent. 

I used to be friendly, I used to smile a lot and wave hello or greet folks as they came towards me.  I'm not always in the mood, I keep to myself and try to be pleasant.  Don't ask me to be who I was before Jerry's death, and don't let me hear another person say what's with her?  I'm working on getting myself to where I want to be.  I'm jaded now, and I'll never be the same person.  I've excepted that.  Have you ever just wanted to scream into a crowd of folks that YOU ARE NOT YOU ANYMORE!  There is no "what's with her?", the HER you are referring to is GONE!  So how do you make people understand they need to get to know the new you?  

At the moment, I'm working on courage.  (an hour from now I might be working on picking myself up off the floor) I digress. So, what I think I might do is work on a speech to educate women and or men on what to expect from and how to interact with grieving widows.  When I have the strength and courage I will go to these small town churches around here, all of them and offer to give a talk to WMU's or whatever little groups they call themselves.  No one in our position should ever have to answer the question, What's with you? Or hear the mumblings of what's with her?  I don't know about where you all are from but in THIS small podunk town, these folks really need to be educated on what's with grief

Should anyone like to help me gather thoughts for my speech, I would love it!  Maybe together we can make sure all bases are covered and help folks understand their peers one small group at a time. While at the same time getting some frustrations out.  I don't know about you but it would make me feel immensely better to do something proactive to help the next man or woman have a slightly better time on this bull ride.  

Jerry has always told me I worry way too much about what people, in general, say about or think of me.  He's right of course, I do.  This time, it's bigger than me.  It's you too, and all of the widows and widowers who are going to be joining our tribe.  I know there are people who want to know how to understand a grieving friend or family member and some folks are just assinine but I sincerely want them all educated.  :) Regardless of what they say or think of me. 

I'm constantly looking for positive ways to help myself "cowgirl-up and ride this bull".  Maybe if we all come together with thoughts that should/need to be addressed we can come up with a very nice universal speech we can all use if needed!  I can't be the only one who feels the need to light a fire.

Just as an addendum, I am not the only person around here who has had a hard time with the expectations of others.  I have heard gossip about other widows and widowers.  It's just that until NOW I didn't realize what was happening to those poor souls or what they needed from us as a community. 

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Comment by MartyG on March 26, 2018 at 1:36pm

All I can say, Misty, is that you and I and everyone else here has been picked up and put down again abruptly in a world that is EXACTLY the same except that Jerry and Sharon and (fill in the blank) are no longer here. It is like an episode of "Twilight Zone" where Rod Serling intro's the 1/2 hour horror with some cuts remark or two.  I, also, want to scream.."THERE IS NO MORE SHARON!! WHAT IS EVERYBODY DOING JUST GONG ON AS BEFORE? BEFORE IS G O N E !!"  Anyway, if I come up with any ideas how to communicate with these folk, I'll share 'em. I will also add, Misty, that you do a tremendous service to all of us by your insightful and gut wrenchingly honest contributions here in WV.  Everything that you have written has hit the nail right on the head!! Thank you for being here.

Comment by Rainy (Misty) on March 25, 2018 at 5:04pm

We should not have to stay silent or shrink away.  Thank goodness there are places like Soaring Spirits and WV, where we are free to be ourselves while learning who the "new" us is!

Comment by Callie2 on March 25, 2018 at 1:01pm

Nani,

I sometimes wonder how people can be so cold. Sorry to hear you’ve been treated so insensitively. They just don’t get it but sorry to say, many will one day. Many here have written that often time the second year is harder than the first because this is when reality really sets in. They are gone. Not coming back. We all understand because we have either walked in your shoes or are behind or in front of you in your grief journey. I hope expressing your feelings here will be helpful and somehow comforting. No need to hold it inside. We hear you and understand!

Comment by Nani0514 on March 25, 2018 at 9:07am

hi misty! its a really good idea. 

you know, my person passed away almost 2 years ago and all i've learned is that for me its best to stay silent. sadly. 

until recently when i finally got the courage to open up to a friend ...

their response was" your still not over you EX." .... i didn't even finish sharing all id wanted to for so long. 

"you should of been over it a long time ago" .

all of this hurts. hes not here anymore but... i still love him. and its not easy. 

there is no getting "over it"  

just because he passed away does not make him am EX- as if he was just anybody. 

my heart aches. and just like you some moments im fine and others i just cant contain myself. 

for the most part i stay silent with all my family and friends... for me its best this way

unfortunately all because they don't know what to say.... 

and when they think they do i get responses that hurt more and i end up wishing i never said anything. 

Comment by SweetMelissa2007 on March 22, 2018 at 9:46am

Knowing that you are trying for a positive spin - keep doing it b/c it can be achieved - its a matter of finding your interpretation for annoying distractions even taxing people. I only wish a seasoned widow w/sage knowledge had told me this in the beginning, it would've saved me alot of time & grief from beating up on myself. We all find our own way, but I definitely could've used help with this one ...
For me, I finally began to interpret them as a prelude - prompts w/a purpose - signals to take care of myself by learning what was best for me to keep moving forward w/grief as well as in my life. I didn't want to waste my time thinking about clever come backs or behaving like them of thinking about them b/c I believe in the old saying "what goes around comes around". It kept me sane instead of reverting to getting twisted up screaming "why do they say mean things or what did I do" - those questions just gnawed away at what little self esteem I had. To this day, I don't respond to the crappy or angry attitudes of other people. Some people just like to complain/control others by not looking at themself for the problem, try not to take their nonsense to heart. I'm certain you responded in your natural manner - innate patterns of behavior don't change unless chosen to even though grief can temporarily suppress filters ...
Annoying irritants lead me to busying myself w/the common widowhood activities such as painting my house, gardening, reconnecting w/childhood friends, going back to my old neighborhood, etc. Its interesting that God leads us into doing same &/or similar things. Anyhoo, having more important things to take care of these innocuous activities provided peace & quiet while I subconsciously processed my grief as well as added a layer of protection from spurring my hypersensitivity & the anxiety attacks that followed after shock wore off (exposure therapy didn't work for all my issues). This lead to better coping - days I could go out in public w/out feeling so overwhelmed by people, places & things especially w/attending years of monthly court proceedings. Later on, I began refreshing myself by trying out new clothing styles, different hobbies, visiting places around town that were old but new to me, etc. Unbeknownst to me at the time, they were a development phase for my new life w/out Bob. The Lagerlook is my newest style to now cover my crepey skin ...
My local stores became an explosive bomb when I came across gossipy friends & family shopping on my side of the river instead of their nearby Wal-mart, Home Depot or mall. Argh! I had to change my shopping hours to early morning & late night - simple avoidance or hot foot running also worked well :-) ...
Whatever positive interpretration you put on these issues & what you do about them will be helpful in the time to come ...
Blessings ...

Comment by Morgana (Janet) on March 19, 2018 at 2:57pm

What a wonderful idea Misty. Yes maybe we can brainstorm and come up with some things. We aren't the person who we were before. That person died also.

Comment by Callie2 on March 19, 2018 at 10:42am

I no longer give a rats tail what people think of me. It’s something I can’t control anyway, As long as I pay my own bills and taxes I will live my life the way I chose. Misty, you have enough issues to deal with right now. It is time when a little selfishness is necessary for survival!

I don’t know if you’re old enough to recall a song from years ago called Harper Valley PTA? It’s a song about small town hypocrisy. Everyone has something to say about this gal then she dishes it right on back to them! 

Dismiss your thoughts about what others might think unless, of course, it’s positive. Ignore gossip. You won’t stop people from talking as some people have nothing else better to do. Act disinterested, change the subject or turn it around to be positive. “Did you know so and so is dating already?” Answer: “No, but isn’t it wonderful she has found the strength to move forward with her/his life? I wish her/him every happiness”.

Comment by Rainy (Misty) on March 14, 2018 at 5:03am

Frank I love your pep talks, you remind me so much of Jerry.  Only he would have said something like Eff those ingnorant MF's and hold your head up and do you.   LOL  

I don't know what I want yet, but I wish I'd have known a better way to help my friends grieve.  I don't know one who's lost a husband but three friends have lost children.  I dare say, after what I'm going through I'm ashamed of myself.  At the time, I thought I was being a "pal" but truly it wasn't enough.

Comment by Frank on March 13, 2018 at 9:31pm

Hi Misty,

Since the nearest town to me is Como (pop16), or Fairplay with a few hundred,  I can only imagine the talks that go on.  I don't think this is anything new.  Folks have been sharing things over the clothesline or in the bars, or restaurants since life was invented.  I suggest to you that you might ignore the hurtful rumors, and live your life on the up and up.  It's kinda like not stepping down into the gutter.  I must say that I do like your idea of addressing church groups and imparting to them what we all go through when we loose a spouse.  Just keep in mind that as you address those folks, there will be non-believers.  Folks who say that could never happen to them, or they would never do such a thing.  Some can and some will, and some will listen to what you say and discount it as it could never happen to them.

I dare say that everyone of us has had family and/or friends back away from us and fade into the dark.  Misty, we scare the heck out of them.  In our pain and agony they see the inevitable.  Simply put... Unless they are in some sort of an accident that kills them both, one of them is going to die before the other  and the survivor is going to be going down a similar path that we are on, or have traveled.  It is, in a sense, self protection for them.  In us they see their futures...  Many will try to help, even if it is a "How are you doing?"  "Are you OK"  I plead with you, Don't say or think, I just lost my husband "How do you think I'm Doing?"  You will be better served if you keep your answer short, and kindly.  Depending upon how close the person is to you,  simply saying that I hurt inside, or maybe "a little better."  Or "this is a bad day or "Not a good day."  These are better answers.  Most are genuinely interested in you and your health.  They may not know how to help but they did ask.  Just don't cut them off at their knees.  That is harmful to them and to you (increased stress).   

If you decide to do this, to educate the public, I dare say you will find a new you... inside.  With each talk, as you tell them of Jerry, of his qualities, and what drew you to him, along with his illness, and how you felt or are feeling, you will grow stronger and over time you will become a new woman.  Speak in facts and in feelings.  Talk to them so that they can sense what you are feeling.

You GO GIRL!

((((HUGS)))) 

Frank

Comment by Rainy (Misty) on March 13, 2018 at 2:58pm

I'll read it. Thank you.

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