I've frequently thought over the past years that I was doing this whole grief thing wrong. Clearly I wasn't sad enough, skinny enough, or laying in bed enough. I was also not happy enough, not moving forward quickly enough, and not dating anyone yet. Once I wasn't so wrapped up in the actual grieving that I couldn't see anything but my own shoes, it dawned on me that other people had lots of opinions about my grief process.
When will she get over it already, it's been two years? Is she dating so soon, it's only been three years? Clearly she didn't really love him if she's dating. She's still writing for that blog, isn't she over it already? She sure does work a lot, I wonder if it’s because she's not over it yet. She sure travels a lot. I wonder if she's saving any money? I mean, she's got to be more responsible, she's got a child to raise. I guess she might marry again, but I couldn't, I mean, I REALLY love MY husband.
It's amazing the thoughts that people express to you without realizing how clearly they are passing judgment. For a few years it drove me insane. I'd hear their thoughts and see the looks on their faces. I've even overheard conversations, or had people tell me directly their opinions about my grief and how I was handling it. I was shocked at how freely people would give me their unsolicited opinions about my life as if I was a small child who needed their guidance or approval. In grief I have found more thoughtlessness and rudeness than in any other time in my life.
I've also found more understanding, unlimited support, and love. These are the things I focus on when faced with the unintentionally rude judgments of others. I have to tell myself it is fear and insecurity that causes people to be so thoughtless and unaware. Regardless of the reason why they do what they do, I am finally in a place where it doesn't bother me. I don't focus on the implied judgments of others. I know what I've been through, and I know what I've had to endure to come out on "the other side."
Grief is an intensely personal experience. No two people experience it in exactly the same way. I have experienced it my way, and dealt with it my way. I don't need the approval of others and I'm not brought down by their disapproval either. I'm fine with me. I'm proud of myself for the way I've dealt with my situation, and I'm proud of every other widowed person I've come in contact with. We each do it our own way, and that is all we can do. Sometimes just getting out of bed is an act of heroism, and each minor accomplishment should be celebrated. So happy Tuesday! Here's to you if got out of bed today....and here's to you if you didn't!