I would like to let you in on a little secret, ready?
Okay, maybe it isn’t a little secret. Not really. All you would have to do is read all the different advice about death to recognize it. Everyone with their own varying opinion on how to do this right. There isn’t a one sized fits all way to do this widow gig. Oh, my sisters! I wish I could write a map about the easy way to get through this widow thing. “okay love I need you to turn left on to anger, go straight until asking for help, north on the crossroads of depression and anxiety…” but, we know that there is no wrong way or right way to do this thing. There is a healthy way, as I talk about a lot on here, but there isn’t a right or a wrong way.
Right for you maybe. Wrong for me maybe.
Kind of like all things in society: yoga, chocolate, gluten, sex. Right for some people, not right for others. (although, I would kindly volunteer to take your chocolate and gluten, just saying.)
No one has the answer to a secret about doing this well, or appropriately. Not places of worship, or the grief industry (yes that’s a thing). Not your good-intentioned neighbour. Not that cool queer person who writes a blog for widows (me.) No one. because there are no one sized fits all answers to it. There isn’t. There are things we all do similarly? Of course.
But, if their advice is so great how come someone else will write a book saying the exact opposite and saying their way is right? What might work for one widow and their family might not work for mine. What worked for me might not for you, or yours.
I should step back and say some advice might work for you, just not in the same way it worked for them. And, well, of course, it won’t, because we are all different and our journeys are all different. (I”m aware of how cliche that is, but it’s a cliche because it is true). Remember this.
Remember when someone gives you well-meaning advice. Remember this. when someone gives you trash advice.
Remember this. When someone trashes you for a decision. Remember this. When you find something that works but it didn’t work for someone else.
Remember this. When you are at your lowest point.
Remember this. There isn’t an answer. There isn’t a roadmap. There are curiosities. There are moments. There is guidance. But not answers. There are stumbles and falls and successes. and detours and a whole lot of other things, but there is nothing definitive.
The thing that sucks about this moment, is that no one else is going to remember it. They are going to judge you based on something that worked for them, or someone else they knew. someone will mention an article, a podcast or a subreddit “so there is this guy…” and when their cookie-cutter advice doesn’t work for you, they are going to say “you aren’t trying hard enough,” you want to be stuck in your grief.”
Have you ever noticed that no one wants to be in our shoes and don’t know if they could handle what we go through but everyone has advice for how to get through it?
“My grandmother lost her husband in 1959 and wore black every day for a year, that is true mourning! Obviously, you are not still in mourning with your red shirt on and makeup!”
“What do you mean you aren’t still wearing your wedding bands? It has only been 6 months.”
Judgement. “What do you mean you are still wearing your wedding bands? It has been 10 years.”
“What do you mean you are selling the house?”
“How dare you make a major decision less than a year out!”
“Are you really thinking about making a major life decision that only affects you and not asking my opinion on it at all? How dare you!”
“You don’t need therapy. ”
“You need therapy. ”
“You need to date. ”
“How dare you get married again….”
My dear Sisters, my badass darlings in widowhood, Ignore these, please. They do not know of what they speak. I know it is easier said than done when you are being bombarded with judgement after judgement. Hell, sometimes it is your even your own judgements against yourself! But remember, this is only a journey that you can go through. No one knows about your own journey and what you need to do and how you need to survive. (Thrive will be better) but sometimes all you can hope for some days is to survive. But you need to do it your way. Sans judgements. Cut the toxic people out of your life, even if only temporary. Say “no thank you. Tell people off if you need to. Tell people who judge you for your journey and how you need to survive it “thanks but no thanks.” and 100% do you. Unequivocally, do you and continue in your badassery.