Monday, June 18, 2012

Grief Judges

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. It made sense to me but two very different responses showed me that some people get it while others think they can read my mind---and they're very wrong!

One friend saw it and 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. Some day 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 someone else said, "I see you're still having a hard time." I think the person was trying to be helpful, but they weren't. Why would they think visiting the grave meant I was having a hard time? They thought they knew me, they judged me, and their judgment was wrong.

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. How could I forget? What I wanted to do was to commemorate the fact that there was a wonderful man to whom I was married. I always want to remember. It's an honor even though I might be judged and misunderstood.

Sometimes there's wisdom in forgetting. We need to give ourself a rest if visiting the grave, looking at pictures, going to a family reunion, etc. are like opening up the wound again. You don't always need to force yourself to do those things.

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. I'm done with my move--well . . . let's say the boxes are all in the house! I wish I were done unpacking. But I'm more anxious to get back to posting. Remember how this is set up?----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. It's good to be back, and I'm so thankful for those who were praying me through this move. (Please don't stop!)

So, what about you? Are there times you've been misjudged? Are you at a point where it's good to remember, or do you need to take a break from the memories for a while?


  1. I had an experience yesterday where a lifelong friend could not understand why I am having a hard time right now. I wanted to reach through the phone lines and shake her. I once had a loving husband but now i am alone. I miss him.Is that wrong and should I be getting over it by now? I know what my answer is,NO.I will always have memories and some days are harder than others.I know that with God's help,I will make it and will be deep down in my heart happy again.

  2. Good to "hear" you again! Yes I have been judged - some feel I am not grieving enough because I smile and laugh in their presence, others say I am grieving too much because I cry in their presence. It is true - only a widow truly understands another widow - that is why this site is so valuable to all of us. Each day brings different reactions to memories - sometimes they come flooding in and I must stop and deal with them so as not to be drowned. Other days I invite them in and spend time with them shedding some tears and some smiles. That is the way of grief.

  3. I get this!!! There are times that I can through a day that is supposed to be hard easier than I can get through a day that is supposed to be easy. People call me on the "hard days" and expect me to be in tears and when I am not they seem let down that they couldn't help out. geez. Grief is not a step by step process, it is a messy emotional process that gets easier and then sometimes back to hard again. thanks for the post. I am a new reader but so far this blog has brought a lot of comfort! thanks for being real.

  4. Until a person walks in our shoes, they will never "get it". I too have had these two different experiences, and yes, it is nice to be "healed" enough to appreciate when a friend tells you how much they cared for and appreciated our lost loved one. But the ones who try to tell us that we are "still having a hard time" or that we are "doing so much better" or that we should "be over it by now", they are the ones who won't "get it" until they experience it themselves. There are no rules as to how a person grieves. There are no guidelines and there are no time tables. We all just do what we need to do and we do it in our own way.

    I totally feel Ruth's comment above.

  5. Thanks for this post. I am taking a break from the memories and trying not to feel guilty about it. I was constantly being told how "strong" I am - I did not like this - they just left me alone to take care of myself. I didn't want to be strong but I am. I hope all is going well at your new home.

  6. Grief sure is a unique and lonely struggle, but I'm hearing you all say that its very uncomfortable to be examined and judged as to how well we're doing. That "How ARE you?" question bugged me a lot. I just couldn't answer or explain it to everyone all the time---and often it wasn't so much a caring gesture. It was more like an evaluation.
    So good to hear from each of you, and a special welcome to Michelle.

    1. I am a a recent widow. The how are you question does bug me a little. All I can say is that I have my good days and bad days. I am not sure how to answer. I am glad I found this site. My husband went to be with the Lord at the age of 47. It was a shock, he had a heart attack and was gone from one minute to the next. I am a young widow age 37 with six children ages 17-4. Please pray for us as we grieve our loss.


Thank you for taking the time to comment. I am not always able to reply but your remarks mean a lot to me and will appear as soon as possible.

Here are some tips for commenting:
Remember to click the Publish button when you are done.
Choosing the anonymous identity is easiest if you do not have your own blog.
Using a computer rather than a cell phone seems to work better. Thanks again!