Friday, January 15, 2010


Also posted on Widow's Voice

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)


The Jagow Family said...

Hi Jackie, I'm not a widow, and sure hope it doesn't happen anytime soon (or for a long time for that matter)....just wanted to say that this brings up something, I guess I have never thought about. I've only followed widow's / widower's blogs once I started following Matt & Maddy's. I have such a strong admiration for all of you. I have no idea what you are feeling..but just know that I would be one of those people, outside the widow / widower friends, that is a very strong supporter of you and your family and would promise to never judge you harshly. I have seen how many of you have grown over time, but know that the grief is still very strong. You will have your good days and your bad days.... Thinking of you often and if you are ever in MN again, I would love to meet you. Take care! :)

Anonymous said...

And thanks to you, too, Jackie. Yours is one of the voices that has helped me so greatly in the past 8 1/2 months.

You are so right - one of the amazing things I've found is that so many of the feelings and experiences resonate with me, obviously, yet how we each handle those situations can differ greatly or be exactly the same.

My favourite example of this was reading how Snickloett, after picking up her husbands ashes, had to go to the grocery store and decided she couldn't leave him in the car, so into the cart he went! I NEVER could have done that myself - I could hardly look at/touch the box at first - but I smiled when I read her words, and greatly appreciated the fact that she was able to do something like that.

No judgement. No 'competition' for grief. No insane lack of understanding. As much as it sucks that we are here, it's a comforting group to be around.


AndreaRenee said...

I love you, too, Jackie. I also loved that a conversation we had last July could have been judged harshly on both of our sides, and it wasn't - not one, tiny bit, and it actually offered me a great deal of relief. People shouldn't open their mouths unless they've walked a mile in your shoes. XOXOXO

Jenn said...

gosh, i haven't lost a husband but i feel what you mean so much because i have been so judged by my husband's family and never given an ounce for anything. i have often felt "damned if i do and damned if i don't", not free to be myself, not free to FEEL anything, ever! this just touched me so deeply even though it's about something totally different.

Roads said...

Yes, people judge you. But if they walked a mile in your shoes, they really wouldn't.

We have. And so we don't, and never will.

Dear Matt said...

Hi! My name is Amber, and I came across your blog.

I just wanted to let you know that your being thought of, and you are a very strong women! I am very sorry about your loss. I have a friend that just recently "lost" (doesn't that word sound like you just misplaced him?) her husband. He was killed in action serving a tour in Afghanistan. He was my husbands best friend. I have been there for her as a shoulder to lean on during her grieving process. (She also has 3 kids.) After reading alot of your posts, you sounded just like my friend going through her ups and downs.

Anyways, I am just touched by your stregnth and wanted to let you know that.

Take care!

Kate said...

You are so right. It really is only the other person who has lost their significant other that understands that we each do this differently and there is no place to judge. I love that part. Other people can just go away sometimes as far as I'm concerned. We do the best we know how and somehow, that has to be good enough.

Be well on your journey.