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Short and Sweet Summary: We widows don’t need help finding the silver lining. We are forced to learn how to turn lemons into lemonade. But sometimes you want to cry like a two-year-old and throw a temper tantrum instead. Go right ahead. I’ll be right there with you.
You know the people who think they’ve got it all figured out?
The ones who spew out tired cliches like, “time heals all wounds” and “every cloud has a silver lining.” You know who I’m talking about?
Those who, in their attempts at profound wit in finding the silver lining for you in your life, fall flat on their enlightened face because they don’t know shit.
Yeah. Those dummy idiots. They can take their tired cliches and stick ’em where the sun doesn’t shine.
I apologize in advance for the rant.
MAYBE YOU WANT TO THROW A TEMPER TANTRUM
I know people try to help.
They can’t possibly know what widowhood is like without experiencing it. So, I get it. People want to say something, anything to take the edge off an otherwise tense, emotionally draining conversation.
That’s when those tired cliches and platitudes pop up. And the nervous sweat beads gather at the poor soul’s temples and she starts blathering on about how her great aunt’s neighbor’s cousin’s sister dropped dead of a heart attack at 81. Or how her boss had to tell his kids their dog had cancer and it was the hardest conversation ever. And the worst yet, “at least you don’t have to deal with insert dumbass comparison here.”
But, in all the sad stories you’ve heard, I’m sure that somehow, someway, everyone had zero problems finding a silver lining and they all lived happily ever after. Right?
Well…nothing about widowhood gets wrapped up in a nice, neat bow.
Maybe I want to throw a temper tantrum.
Sometimes I can find the silver lining and sometimes I just want to be a big fat baby who complains and throws a hissy fit because that’s what makes me feel better.
Haven’t I (and you) earned the right to scream obscenities at the universe and beat my fists on the ground when I feel like it?
I don’t need my chirpy neighbor to remind me that “today is a new day!” I woke up this morning and the sunrise is a pretty good indicator that the calendar changed dates.
I don’t need the admonishing reminders of how blessed I really am. I know I’m blessed. Really, I do. But some days I want to scream and cry like a two-year-old.
I promise I’ll get over it. But for the love of everything good and holy let me have my freaking tantrum.
Can’t people just acknowledge my tantrum and say, “man, that sucks. I’m not even sure what I would do in that situation. But knowing you, you’ll figure something out.”
Is that too much to ask?
Maybe even go a step further and say, “I know you’re completely capable of figuring this out, but I’m here if you want a second opinion or need to bounce around some ideas.”
Instead of the tired cliches. I’m sick and tired of the tired cliches.
MAYBE YOU DON’T HAVE IT ALL FIGURED OUT
I think what makes a lot of people nervous is when we widows don’t have it all figured out.
Why do people expect that we somehow instinctively know how to deal with grief? That because we are grieving we are experts at how to do it the “right” way?
Grief has no timeline. No guidebook. And just like everything else in life, it’s not universal. We each deal with grief in our own way.
So, it makes people nervous when we don’t have it all figured out because how are people supposed to know how to help us? When someone says, “let me know if you need anything” what they really mean is “I have no flipping idea what to do and I’m hoping you can tell me exactly how to help you because if you’re not 100% clear on how I can be of assistance, then I’m at a loss and I’m completely useless to you.”
But, we don’t always know what we want or need. Yet, people still sit back and wait for directions. If we can’t give them explicit directions, they sputter and stutter, “Well…I’m, ya know…ummm…I’m here, you know if you, like, need me or anything,” but turn around running in the other direction because it’s far less volatile in the dust than face-to-face with the crying jags and pain of widowhood.
The thing that gets me so riled up is that I’m not asking anyone to fix any of my problems. I don’t know what to do in a hell of a lot of situations, but I eventually figure it out.
MAYBE YOU CAN FIND YOUR OWN SILVER LINING
I’ve been through enough shit storms to find my own silver lining. I don’t need anyone telling me how to do it.
I just wish people would please stop trying to make everything better. I’ll have good days. Sometimes I’ll have bad days. My bad days are horrible…I’ll admit it. But I’m allowed to have them without people jumping in and trying to fix what they don’t understand.
Because the proposed fixes like, “you need to move on” or “you need to do XYZ” are nothing more than regurgitated BS. I don’t need to do anything other than what is right for me at a specific moment in time. And that changes pretty much daily.
If I need to throw a temper tantrum, I will. When I need to save the world, I’ll put on my widow warrior cape and rescue those of you in need of encouragement. When I need to sleep, I’ll turn everything off and crawl into bed. Even if it’s at 2:30 in the afternoon.
I don’t need help finding the silver lining.
Because sometimes I don’t want to.
WIDOW WRAP UP
It’s hard being a widow. I wholeheartedly give you permission to cry and scream like a two-year-old when the weight of the world gets too heavy and you want to stop pretending to be OK.
When you decide that you’ve had enough of your temper tantrum, I fully expect that you’ll get back to the business of directing your life in whatever way makes sense to you. I don’t for one minute believe that you’ll spend an eternity in your tantrum.
So, I won’t tell you that “tomorrow is a new day!” or that you’re blessed beyond belief because at least you don’t have to deal with “insert dumbass comparison here.”
I will support your tantrum. Support your ability to find your own silver lining. And, tell you that you’re doing an awesome job in a really shitty situation.
That’s how it’s done, people.