Jonathon's Closet

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

In case you didn't realize: THERE IS A REASON

There is a reason that widows tend to isolate. There is a reason that widows end up isolated. There is a reason that widows are generally destined to a more solitary life than they would have otherwise enjoyed.

Do you want to know what that reason is? That reason is YOU.

Yes, I said YOU.

YOU, the one who is uncomfortable with death and will quickly duck the other way in the grocery store, because YOU don't know what to say. After all, it's all about YOU, right? and YOU just couldn't handle that moment of discomfort - which really is absolutely nothing but the blink of an eye lost in all of time in comparison to what the widow feels every moment of every day.

YOU, who is selfishly unaware that no, the widow really can't be driving the carpool right now, and yes YOU should be stepping up to fill the gap for her but of course YOU won't, because YOU might be inconvenienced by that one small thing that YOU could do to make someone else's life easier during their time of need.

YOU, who prefers not to realize that the loss of a spouse impacts a person's life FOREVER and who acts as if there is a time limit on grieving.

YOU, the one who comments "I don't know what I'd do" - and just for YOU, I have a special message: "That's right - you don't - you have no idea".

YOU, who tosses the word "widow" around carelessly, lessening it's impact and lowering it's meaning. YOU, who sees the start of football season or the opening weekend of deer hunting as an excuse to cough up inane comparisons such as "football widow" and "hunting widow", which is about as appropriate as it would be if I were to use the word "reetard" to describe any child with a disability.

YOU, who asks "so how long have you been divorced?" when meeting an only parent - and for the record, it's not an enjoyable moment for a widow, having to once again deal with the likes of YOU making that assumption.

YOU, who offers the anecdote of "well, at least you don't have to pick up his dirty socks all the time - I'm ready to kill my husband myself" to the widow.

YOU, who chooses to stay in a bad relationship and constantly complain "I hate my husband" - ya know, if that's true? Get the hell out. Life is too damn short to stay in a bad relationship.

YOU, who has the audacity to suggest to the widow that perhaps a new baby would make her feel better - and hey, while I'm thinking of it, does that mean that YOU are offering up YOUR husband for stud? After all, common sense would tell ya that a widow doesn't really have the means at hand to manage to get knocked up. (oh, and by the way - no thanks - I doubt he's much of a catch)

YOU, who abandons your widowed "friend" each and every time you realize that someday YOU likely will be faced with many of these same issues, when that thought frightens YOU, when it just becomes too much to handle, when YOU feel this eminently.

YOU, the one who chooses to weakly and lamely attempt to compare grief and loss, and refuses to be educated, to research, to learn and grow and realize that no other loss, no matter how very painful and how very sad, can be compared to a loss that impacts the family in so many ways as the death of a spouse.

YOU, who 'offers' your religious upbringing as the cure for grief, who shares your opionions on "why" and spews nonsense about "reasons" instead of offering support or friendship. YOU, who offers platitudes and pushes YOUR agenda, instead of offering help.

YOU, the one who chooses to bitch and whine over the color of napkins at a school dance, and about other things of no importance whatsoever in the greater scheme of life. Yes, the greater scheme - because there really IS something out there that is more significant than YOU.

YOU, the one who chooses to complain that someone annoyed you (and then complain about this same person again and again and again) instead of learning to accept that person, to shrug off their eccentricities, to take them with a grain of salt, to accept them for who they are and still find ways to be grateful for their presence in your life.

And there are a LOT more of YOU out there. So many versions of YOU that it would take all night to identify all of YOU. But frankly, YOU exhaust me. And I won't allow YOU any more of my time this evening - because contrary to popular belief? IT'S NOT ALL ABOUT YOU.

just a note:

if you see yourself in the above, do something about it. change it. learn. grow. expand your world. become a better person. and know that you are not alone - sadly, you are in the majority.

if you don't see yourself in the above, give yourself a hug. know that you are an exceptional person. when the opportunity presents, encourage others to reach out as well.


  • I found this paragraph quite profound:

    "YOU, the one who chooses to complain that someone annoyed you (and then complain about this same person again and again and again) instead of learning to accept that person, to shrug off their eccentricities, to take them with a grain of salt, to accept them for who they are and still find ways to be grateful for their presence in your life."

    ...I believe that for the most part people do what they feel is best. Even the "YOU"s of the world that bug the sh*t out of you and frustrate you. But I would hope that when this happens, that you would see it as this: human nature - granted, it's flawed, it's awkward, it's not one is. There are "textbook" BAD responses to grief. Does it make them ok - no. But we CAN recognize them for what they are - people doing their best, even though they are totally BLOWING IT.

    I have learned a lot from friends that stood by me when I was dealing with a HUGE life struggle. They comforted me through some very dark times and never gave up. I wanted to isolate myself, I felt the stares of strangers and friends, I watched people who said they cared about me totally insult me and my choices when they had never been in my situation.

    But I refuse to allow that to make me BITTER. I do not want to be someone that puts others down because they reacted poorly to me. No one is perfect. We all blow it. I have blown it. I've said stupid textbook BAD answers, and guess what - YOU have too. Unknowingly, with only the best of intentions...or maybe out of being surprised and unprepared with the 'right' thing to say.

    I wish you only the best, I feel like I've learned a lot from your post. I have followed your blog for a long time and I get that this was a commentary of shared responses from yourself and other widows. I just wanted to share my thoughts.... God Bless

    By Anonymous miss striking, at 10:02 PM  

  • As a widow, too, I sometimes feel cut off from my "couple" friends.

    To get upset with them for being human only raised my blood pressure and made me sad, it doesn't change the fact that they are not ready to include me in again at this time.

    I accept their need to do it their way.

    I miss them. I'm not angry anymore.

    When someone tries to comfort me, even if it's clumbsy or trite, I accept it for the love that is meant by it, even when it hurts me.

    It's not wrong to try and change the way people see widows and I applaud your effort.

    By Blogger Valerie - Still Riding, at 11:15 AM  

  • Another widow here - only wishing I lived close enough to be in one of your groups!

    Doesn't have anything to do with "bitter" - has to do with people being stupid and insensitive. Should I accept stupid and insensitive as their "best"? Sure, maybe once - maybe even twice - but when it's constant? No way.

    It's horrible to have so-called friends who really don't bother to care at all about your situation. They really don't want to look at it, because it's just too real. I'm tired of it.

    Thanks for trying to get the word out. After all, if there is no voice telling people the "dos and don'ts", how will they ever learn?

    Thanks for being our voice.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 5:55 PM  

  • Dear Anonymous,

    I agree with you - the 'ignorant bad response' only goes so far... Real friends dig a little deeper, ask how they can help and honor their friends healing process.

    Much love and respect to you....

    Miss Striking

    By Anonymous miss striking, at 4:02 PM  

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