Author: Rachael Hill
Do you ever wonder why there are always so many expectations put on us as we are working our way down this grief path? Dealing with the death of a loved one is hard enough in itself, but it proves even harder when the people around you add more pressure as to what they think you should, and should not, be doing. They want a timeline of when your grieving will be done and when you’ll be back to “normal.” They want you to get rid of all your loved one’s belongings. And sometimes, they want you to “move on” and find someone new.
I recently read an article in the TAPS magazine that really spoke to me titled, “What Grieving People Want You To Know”. One item in particular stood out above the rest. It stated, “When you tell me what I should be doing, then I feel even more lost and alone. I feel bad enough that my loved one is dead, so please don’t make it worse by telling me I’m not doing this right.”
I can only speak for myself, but I have confidence knowing that I am doing what’s best for me and my two boys. Two and a half years after his death, I still have all of my husband’s clothes tucked away in his dresser and the rest of his belongings packed away in the crawl space and garage. I find comfort in knowing his things are still here. I find comfort in seeing his pictures around my house. I have not started dating again and to be honest, I really don’t even want to. I have not completely closed myself off to the idea of dating, but I very firmly believe that if there is someone else out there for me, then God will put him in my path when the time is right. I still talk to my husband every night before bed and tell him about my day. I have little reminders of him all over the place and I am so very proud to talk about him every chance I get. I still need all of this! Someday that may change, and when it does I will make the appropriate changes too, but until then, I like his things just the way they are. This is how I grieve.
I know my friends and family just want to help and their input comes from a place of genuine concern, but this is the only way I know how to grieve, and this is what is best for me. Everyone is different. Every relationship is different, and therefore, every grief is different. My loss is not the same as their loss, so why do they find it necessary to tell me what I should be doing? Even for those that have also lost a spouse, every situation is different and what worked for you may not work for me...or for someone else. Like the quote from the article says, when people tell me I should be doing things differently, it really makes me feel like they’re saying I’m doing it wrong, and that truly hurts. It hurts on so many levels, but I think mostly because I feel like I’m doing a pretty good job. I continue to get up every day and live my life. I refuse to let my husband’s death take the life out of me, too. As another widow friend put it, I CHOOSE JOY!
I choose to be happy. Sometimes it is the harder choice to make and there are some days that are extremely difficult, but I choose it anyway. I know that those who give me grieving suggestions just want what’s best for me and want me to be happy, but what I don’t think they understand is that I am happy…just a different kind of happy. This is not the life I chose, but I am choosing to make the best of it. I am content with where I am right now. I am enjoying watching my boys grow and I am even taking the time to do things for myself that I never used to do before.
Life is full of choices everywhere we turn. I know that I can’t control some of the events in my life, but I can control how I react and deal with them. I don’t want to live a depressing life, and I know my husband wouldn’t want that for me either. I love him with all my heart and always will, and I want to honor him by pushing myself to live the best life that I can. Like I said before, some days take more work and focus than others, but I promise, it’s all worth it!