Friends understand what you are experiencing
Taken from From One Widow to Another, ©2009 by Miriam Neff. Used with permission of Moody Publishers.
Unless a person has lost her/his HUSBAND/SPOUSE through death she/he does not understand what is happening to us.
People do, with kindly intentions, refer to important losses in their lives. I have had people refer to the loss of a grandparent, a beloved parent, a dear friend, a brother or sister. I listen and nod my head. I hope they don’t talk long.
Do they crawl into an empty cold bed at night? Do they reach in the grocery freezer to pick up pot pies and realize there is no one pulling in the driveway that loves pot pies? Do they stare in the refrigerator and realize they don’t even know the kind of food they like? Do they run their fingers through their hair and realize theirs will be the only fingers making that simple sweet gesture?
It is unfair for us to expect them to understand. We set up an impossible expectation and we WILL be disappointed.
While divorce has some of the same aspects there are significant differences as well. In talking with my divorced friends, theirs is a different kind of anger. Many divorcees also feel rejection. The impact of divorce on a woman’s self esteem is different though both widows and divorcees usually suffer feelings of lower self worth.
What is my response to these well meaning friends? I am grateful they are trying. I try to have and ‘exit’ statement in my mind in case I can listen no more.
It is unfair for us to expect them to understand.