My husband is gone.
Not gone like he stepped out to pick up some milk at the grocery store.
Not gone like working the night shift.
Not gone like on a fishing trip with his buddies.
Not even gone like staying elsewhere for a while as we try to figure out whether our relationship is still worth fighting for.
Like six feet under gone.
Like I’m never going to see him again in this lifetime gone.
Like he’s involuntarily missing out on his son’s life and our future together gone.
Look, I realize grief is not a competition and that I don’t get to claim ownership for all the sadness in the world.
I will not pretend to know what it’s like to have a marriage you’ve poured your entire soul into for years suddenly come crashing down because he decided to be unfaithful to you. Or because he decided he outgrew you. Or because his drug addiction or alcoholism prevented him from being the husband you know deep down he could have been. I can’t even imagine what that’s like. There are so many situations that we are just not capable of understanding or truly empathizing with unless we’ve actually lived them.
Who am I to minimize that kind of pain? Who am I to say it hurts any more or less than the kind of pain I’ve endured?
Maybe your divorce has been the single most difficult experience of your life. And maybe, like me, you were forced to learn a new way to live, without him as a daily participant in your everyday routine. There’s a good chance you are struggling to rediscover who you are without him, like I had to.
Please don’t compare your divorce or long term break-up to my husband’s passing.
Please don’t try to tell me that divorce is just a death without a funeral.
Please don’t tell me that at least my husband and I “ended on good terms” and that he didn’t choose to leave me.
I would have gladly sacrificed any one of my limbs (hell, probably all of them) and my marriage if it meant Ralf could have remained alive and healthy so as to be a part of Mason’s life.
Not all circumstances surrounding every divorce are alike, and the same is true for death. Maybe you had an amicable split, or maybe you continue to be at each other’s throats. My husband suffered a tragic and untimely death, but there are so many widows who are left behind after their husbands commit suicide. Moreover, we all experience and express our grief in very individual ways.
So don’t tell me that you know how I feel because you went through a divorce. Instead, tell me that although you’ve been through some really painful life altering crap, you still can’t imagine what I’m feeling.
I’ll agree with you and return the sentiment.
And then we can learn from each other and have an honest and heartfelt conversation, one strong woman to another.