Monday, June 7, 2010

Still Having A Hard Time?

Last year I posted a picture of my late husband's gravestone on my personal blog. I had planted flowers around it for Memorial Day. I liked how they looked and wanted to show everybody. My closest family is 200 miles away and that's the only way they could see them. It made sense to me but I got a variety of responses. (Here's the picture from last year--I really don't know if I should post it or not--oh well, here goes . . .)

One friend responded with encouraging words and memories of how Bruce had helped her and her husband. It was so special to hear how much he meant to them even after all these years. Someday many of you new widows will have the same experience and it'll be wonderful to be past the pain and to feel the honor of a life well-lived.

But remember how I mentioned weeks ago that some of us are "Rememberers" and others deal with grief by choosing to be "Forgetters?" These polar opposites will never understand or be able to comfort one another without some serious effort!

Sharing encouraging words and memories -- that's what "rememberers" do. Urging someone to move on, recover, or get over it-- that's what "forgetters" do. There's a time and a place for both--unfortunately, neither are always on target. And when not on target, those efforts at friendship and comfort will sting.

When I posted the picture of the gravestone a "forgetter" comment I heard was, "I see you're still having a hard time." I think the person was trying to be helpful, but they weren't.

They made me feel like a white rat in a science experiment or like a bad time at the gynecologist: totally exposed but totally misdiagnosed! The Miss Piggy in me wanted to rise up and give them a wallop! They did not understand. Their comments were way off target. To be honest, they hurt.

I didn't go to the graveside, plant flowers, take a picture and write about it because I was having a hard time. I did so because even though I'm now remarried, I've been indelibly marked: I've been widowed. It's part of who I am. I will never forget.

The marriage bond runs deep. I don't want to forget. How could I forget? What I want to do is to honor the fact that there was a wonderful man to whom I was married.

If a "forgetter-type" wants to call that having a hard time . . . well, I'm not sure what to do. Not sure if I can properly educate them. But I know in my heart that there's a big difference between still having a hard time and honoring the memories of loved ones. It may be hard to discern to outsiders, but I myself understand. That's my grounding point, my peace. And God understands. "Precious in the sight of the Lord is the death of his saints." Psalm 116:15 (NIV) Once you get past the pain, (and you will), the precious memories and honor will far outweigh it.

Check back here daily and please share this blog with others you know. Tuesday features single-living tips, Wednesday a widow's story, Thursday a resource. Then there's a silly smile on Friday, and rest for your soul on Saturday. ferree

7 comments:

  1. It seems that to some people any mention of my loved one evokes a response kind of like that. I've heard too many expressions of "He wouldn't want you to be sad." Really? He wouldn't? Three months after his passing I should be fine? Wow...

    All I can figure is that unless they've walked in our shoes, they don't understand the meaning of our words and actions.

    Thank goodness for those rare and wonderful individuals who get it and just let us say and do what we need to.

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  2. Well said, Joannah. There's a lot to be said about "walking in our shoes." It seems like those who've walked thru some sort of suffering are the ones that are willing to let us just be and understand we're not looking to be fixed. Thanks for your insights!

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  3. Last week my husband and I went to the cemetery to plant flowers at his parents' grave, his grandparents, his aunt and uncle and our son's graves. They are part of our family--still thought about and remembered. There is comfort in remembering.

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  4. Well said Ferree. What a gracious post about a tough subject. I believe there is much to be honored, attended to and learned after a loved one's death...and it simply means that the love continues. The heart expands to hold it all. Guess that puts me in the "rememberer" camp.

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  5. My cousin recommended this blog and she was totally right keep up the fantastic work!

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