Jonathon's Closet

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Not educable? Huh.

Yeah, I'm loving it.

My previous blog entry was also shared on my other web-page, on a site where I facilitate a support group for widows. The site serves hundreds of thousands of people and of course, like everywhere, widows are in the extreme minority.

One responder chose to believe that my post "indicates that I'm clearly consumed by my recent loss" ... yeah, you're a dolt. Whatever. Uh, no. I'm no where near consumed by my loss and it most certainly wasn't recent. I'm not even writing about ME actually - just a huge generalization based on what every single widow that I work with both on-line and in real-life groups shares. And really, if you read ANY of my previous writings, you'd know this. This brainiac then went on to encourage me to give my pain over to God. Well isn't that special. Can you see it? She was practically screaming that she is one of the ignorant and ill-informed that I was talking about. Niiiice. And of course, don't allow yourself to be educated. Nope. Never. Just assume that the problem is someone else's, because after all, it couldn't possibly be YOU. Whatever. (and when I tossed this back at her - basically what I've stated right here - she turned tail and ran. Bwaaahaaaahaaaaaaaaaa!)

She was an annoyance. Nothing more. Just one more fool wanting to show the world how bright she is by waving her stupidity like a banner. Yeah, that ought to work.

What really got to me were a couple of responses from "friends" of mine. Couldn't possibly express how totally disappointed in them that I am - there just aren't words. This kind of lack of comprehension of the issue - after several years of "friendship"? It's simply offensive. And this lack of comprehension consistently accompanied by the cry "I can't understand, I haven't been there". They deserve credit for one thing - they're right, they can't understand the depth of the pain. But ya know, that's not what they're being asked to understand. They're being asked to understand that all of the things in the post below are hurtful, offensive, and inappropriate. You don't have to be there to be able to be educated.

And of course the fact remains that there was nothing offensive in what I said - unless, of course, YOU saw YOU in my words. If YOU realized it was YOU I was referring to. When I held up the mirror, did YOU see YOU?

It's an educational process. And one where far too many people are too busy living in denial of the fact that they need to be educated. And those that deny it the most? They're only proving that they need it the most.

Now I was far from disappointed in the overall outcome. Many great women spoke up. Many shared honest thoughts like "I didn't realize" and "I'm going to keep this so that I won't make these mistakes". These are wonderful women who are secure enough with who they are to do a little self-examination and realize that yep - they tend to be like a lot of our society, and they're not particularly good at dealing with these issues. And here's an important part of this: they showed that they're willing to be educated, capable of learning, and wanting to try. To them, I send my deepest of thanks.

My e-mail was over-run with great folks sharing personal experiences (my FIL just died, how can I best help my MIL? ... an acquaintance's husband died, help me NOT to handle it badly ... my son's teacher's husband died over the summer - do I address it or not?). Every one of these people wants to do what's right. How wonderful - and how refreshing!

And then there were "my" girls. The widows from my group, many who watched this post evolve. Many who were back in my group and in my e-mail; upset, irritated, hurt, angry. They were, and rightfully so, offended at some of the blatant indifference they saw. Offended at some of the obvious condescension. And offended at the total ignorance that some were so blatantly displaying.

It's difficult to find your voice - your strength to advocate for what is right - while in the depths of grief. It's difficult to find any strength at all during the early stages of bereavement, and even later as you go forward in parenting alone. There's not a lot of energy left over even then! But "my" girls - many of them found their voices. Many of them spoke out. Many of them decided that it was time to stop sharing these frustrations only behind closed doors. Many of them decided that it was time to stop allowing society to treat widows with indifference and disrespect. These strong women have my admiration.

Will it all change today? No, of course not. But my work didn't begin today. It began many years ago.

Is the problem solved? Absolutely not. But that's ok. I'm a long way from done. My advocacy will continue.


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