Before widowhood, I really, truly thought I knew a lot. I supposed I knew how I should/would/could react in a variety of situations. How others should/could/would act. The 'right' the 'wrong' in a plethora of situations. What a variety of other people's actions meant regarding their thoughts or mental state.
I was wrong. So very wrong.
I remember so clearly having a conversation with Jeff about what we would do if the other were to die. I remember what both of us believed we would do. And now, unfortunately, I know what I would do.
I can tell you that I have been grieving. Pining. Aching. But it has not been how I ever imagined widowhood to be. And I cannot tell you how it has been for me, because ultimately it will be different, if slightly, for you.
One thing I have stumbled upon, is that most widows don't judge each other. We link arms and laugh with and at each other's strategies for survival post-spouse. I wish that I could always stay wrapped in that comfortable comraderie that other widows provide. But, alas, I cannot and I must often face the outside world. The world where I feel that others think they know how they would act wearing my, or your, shoes...and judge harshly.
I find that it makes it all so much harder and alienating. So, thank you, my widow-sisters and widower-brothers for understanding and not judging. Thank you for laughing with me and not at me. Thank you for not measuring my pain and deciding if my loss is any more or less worthy than your own. I love you. I couldn't have gotten this far without you.
Do what you feel in your heart to be right - for you'll be criticized anyway. You'll be damned if you do, and damned if you don't.
Eleanor Roosevelt (1884 - 1962)