Recently, two separate women made what I consider inappropriate comments to me.
The first was, “I wish I was a widow,” and the second was “I think being divorced is worse than being widowed.”
I am a widow. My husband passed away five years ago. Four years later I started a blog about my experiences.
I am often approached by people who read my blog. Most of the feedback I get is positive which gives me a great feeling. My husband’s death was the most difficult thing I have ever been through, and I truly hope to bring a small bit of comfort to others who are going through such a tragedy.
I am happy to say that I also have followers who are not widows. The above conversations were both with divorced women. Each encounter began positively, so I was very surprised to hear these comments. When they were said, I just stood there with my mouth hanging open. Although I did not vocalize it, I was horrified by the words that were spoken to me. My initial thoughts about each statement were harsh.
Who would wish to be a widow? No one could possibly want to go through something like that. It is painful, sad, lonely, and unbelievably stressful. I cried all the time, was unable to eat or sleep, not to mention the horror my children went through. What kind of a crazy person would say this?
Divorced is worse than widowed? Who could think that was true? Death trumps divorce in a sadness contest every day of the week. What kind of insensitive person would think otherwise?
These statements truly affected me and I thought about them for days. Then, after letting go of the hurt and anger, I tried to look at things in a different way.
I have never been divorced so I cannot put myself in a divorced woman’s place. I am sure many divorces are sad, painful, and stressful. I also understand that children of divorce experience a sense of loss.
We all struggle, and everyone’s pain is their own. There should not be any comparisons. If these women are pained by their divorce, I feel for them.
What upset me about these comments was the fact that they were said at all. Why would anyone want to challenge me in a “whose life is worse” contest? That is one contest I would like to lose.
In the years since my husband died, my daughters and I have heard many comments that cause us to catch our breath for a second.
Some are innocent mistakes such as “I think I’m having a heart attack.” My husband died of a heart attack, but I understand that this is almost a figure of speech– no one is trying to be offensive.
My daughters have heard statements from their friends such as, “I don’t know what I would do without my dad’s advice” or the opposite, said out of anger, “I hate my father.” Sometimes hearing these words can be hard for my girls. Teenagers may not think before they speak, so I try to teach my girls to be tolerant and realize that their friends do not mean any harm.
There are also bothersome comments that have been said to me. I have heard, “My husband never helps around the house. I have to do everything myself,” or “I can’t drive that carpool, my husband is traveling and I am alone.” Again, people are not trying to be hurtful, but really? Know your audience.
Although annoying and a little upsetting, I try not to dwell on these statements. I know they are not said with malice. I have learned that holding on to anger over small things is only harmful to myself.
These two most recent comments seemed different somehow. While I do not believe these women intended to be hurtful, I also do not think these statements were just a slip of the tongue. They were thought out, and said with intention. Not intention to hurt, but to prove some kind of point. This is the reason they stuck with me for days.
Words can be hurtful and we all need to be more careful with them. My situation sucks. Other situations also suck. There is no reason for comparison.
Instead of getting upset, I am trying to look at this in a new way. If anyone feels their situation is worse than mine, I am truly sorry for them. No one would want to feel worse than I have felt but I have finally come out of the dark. Maybe the light in me shows and, if it does, I am happy about it. I wish the same for these women.