Sometimes we don't realize how much a simple comment can affect the person you say it to. I have a lady I work with who I really liked and had become friends with. I have always went out of my way to talk to her and be nice to her.
A few months back, we were talking about my husband and she asked how long he had been gone. I told her he passed away in November 2015. She made this statement "Wow, that wasn't that long ago. I thought it was a long time ago. You must have gotten over it fast because you don't act like you miss him much so I figured he's been gone a long time."
I was flabbergasted. This was so wrong on so many levels. First and most importantly, I miss him with every breath I breathe and with every beat of my heart. I will miss him till my last breath. Who is she to judge what I am feeling because I don't sit around and cry and get depressed all the time.
He was the love of my life, my best friend, my soul mate. The one person who understood me when nobody else did. Who is she to judge how I feel? She doesn't see the nights I am driving home from work and tears are falling down my face because I just don't want to face an empty house one more time. She doesn't know the days that the loss and pain get so great that I just jump in my car and drive to the cemetery and drop to my knees beside his grave. She doesn't see my body shake as I talk to him and tell him how hard it is to live without him. She doesn't know the times I just sit and cry for know reason and call out that it's not right. He wasn't supposed to die at only 63. We had plans to grow old together and we had dreams for our old age. We wanted to travel and spend every moment together of our retirement. Now I am facing those golden years without him beside me and my dreams and plans died with him and I struggle to make new ones. She doesn't have a clue how I drive to work and our favorite song comes on and I miss him so much I just let the tears fall. She doesn't know how many times I have to stop in a gas station and go wash my face and repair my make up before I make it to work so nobody sees the pain.
Yes, I am a happy person and yes I smile all the time and look at the bright side of things. I have built a new life for myself and am moving forward with it. I lost the love of my life, but until she has walked in my shoes and felt the pain and devastation she has no right to criticize how I act or deal with my loss.
Ever since that day, I have slowly distanced myself from her. Oh, I speak and say hello and smile when she talks to me. But I don't go out of my way to sit down and talk to her like I used to. Now the things that I used to like about her just grate on my nerves. Someone can say her name to me and I cringe. I try and try to get past it, but I can't. I know she wonders why things aren't the same and I'm not cruel enough to confront her about it because she is a sweet girl. But I will never view her the same and our friendship will never grow stronger and will slowly fade away simply because of one comment that in my opinion was unkind.
So weigh your words carefully and watch what you say. If you do not know what someone is going through, do not make assumptions or judge them on how YOU feel like they should act.
I had two choices when Allen passed away. The first was to sink into despair and depression and be miserable. To lose all interest in life and the things I felt made life worth living. The second was to choose joy and celebrate the wonder of our love. To tuck those 35 years of memories away to help me through the long dark days and nights ahead. I chose to choose joy. We had a two month notice that Allen didn't have long to live. He was too sick to go anywhere or to do much of anything but watch TV, some days he went to bed at 6:00 because he couldn't stand sitting up for long periods of time. But we had many, many, many wonderful hours of just talking during those final days. He made me promise that when he was gone, I would not let it change my personality. One thing he loved so much about me was my happiness and love of life and he was so worried that would change when he was gone. So I swore to him that I would continue to wring every moment of happiness out of life that I could. When things get bleak and I get down, I can still close my eyes and remember all those times over the years when he would encourage me not to worry so much. That things would be okay, that they always were. He knew I would survive because I am a survivor. I have a beautiful family that keeps me strong. My children and their spouses, my five beautiful grandbabies, my siblings and my mom who have all helped me through the dark days of death. Not to mention a host of real friends who understand how my mind works and how I've gotten through this.
So before you judge me as a widow that has no compassion or caring and can "get over" the passing of her husband in a short time, weigh your words carefully. They can hurt.