Thursday, October 22, 2009

The (Unintentional) Branding of a Widow

As my Aunt Christine said, you feel like you walk around with a big W tattooed on your forehead, where everyone can notice it.

I don't think that people do it intentionally, but you still do it. You look at us like we're lepers. A big W tattoo on our foreheads makes us untouchable, yet you act so sympathetic too.

And I hate it. I hate hate hate it.

Do you know how irritating it is to hear "I'm sorry", "How are you?" over and over and over and over, again and again? The sound or sight of those words are like nails on a chalkboard to me now. I don't want to hear them. Saying "I'm sorry" is not going to make me feel better, it's not going to bring Barry back for the kids and I, it's not going to make dealing with life insurance people and hospital bills any easier. It doesn't do anything but annoy me now. And how do you think I am? I just LOST MY HUSBAND. Sorry I can't be Mrs Happy Go Lucky anymore, but I'm a WIDOW and I'M GRIEVING.

And while I'm on the topic, why not say hello instead of just staring at me? Am I that untouchable that I seem contagious? Why not just carry a yard stick with you so you can just poke me when I come too close.

Not everyone has been this way, but I have noticed it. It's hurtful, and frustrating. And if you do know me personally, please, please, think of some other way to talk to me other than saying you're sorry, or asking how I am.

That is all.


Liss said...

I can understand that. Sympathy can be annoying, when you don't want it.. feels like pity?

Some people just don't know what else to say I think? I think the whole 'look on the bright side' crap is the worst!!

The staring thing would get to me!!!! Ick.

What do you say though? What do you want to hear?

Amanda said...

It's so hard to hear what people have to say, it's so hard to answer their questions.

I have an experience to share and some words. It's definitely a different experience, but it's a huge loss, a piece of me I'll never get back.

When I was 18 my father committed suicide. It felt like my heart was literally going to burst, like my world came crashing down and I couldn't catch my breath. My heart hurt SO bad that the pain is indescribable. I would cry, cry so hard that I thought my body was going to split. I cried so hard because I hoped and prayed that it would be enough to bring him back. Every morning was a nightmare and I begged for night time so I could sleep and forget. Some nights I wouldn't forget... some nights I would wake up sobbing because he was in my dreams, felt so real, but waking up I was back in my personal hell. Back to my broken heart.

I didn't like "I'm sorry". Nobody was more sorry than me. I was sorry, sorry for myself that I lost something so very important to me and it wasn't fair. Sorry that I had to go on living without him. Sorry that I missed him so bad it felt like I was going to throw up with the hurt and loss.

I didn't like "how are you" because I didn't even know how I was. I didn't know how to answer that question. Bad? Horrible? dying inside? Do they really want an honest answer?

Eventually I stopped crying before I ran out of tears. Eventually my crying grew more quiet with less sobs. Eventually the dreams started to fade away. Eventually I fell asleep without crying. Eventually I accepted the loss. One day I could breathe again.
But never will my heart be whole and that's "ok". I will always ache with loss and longing, but I'm not dying anymore.

I am praying for you, for whatever you need each day to get you through, so that one day you can breathe again.