I started my blog and the Better Not Bitter Widower Facebook Page almost one year ago.

I think that anybody who has followed me from the start or takes the time to read my posts from the last year will agree that my blog and FB page are an expression of true love, raw grief and an undying hope for a better tomorrow.

This post is a little different.

This post is being written on February 14th, 2017. Valentine’s Day. After I just read another post from a widow friend who is being made to feel like an awful human because she chose to try to live again.


Here is my rant:

Sit down. 

And shut up.

Serious question:  Is your spouse six feet under? Oh wait, are they a pile of ashes?


They aren’t?




Then, sit down.

And shut up.

My wife’s name was Michelle. She’s gone.

Once a widow. Always a widow.

Once a widower. Always a widower.

No, this isn’t a plea for sympathy.

No, this isn’t even an angry post.

This is an honest post.

This is a passionate post.

This is a real post.

Sit down.

And shut up.

Unless you watched your spouse die. Unless you buried your spouse. Unless you burned your spouse.

Sit down.

And shut up.

Do not tell a widow or widower how they should be living.

Do not tell a widow or widower how they should be acting.

And please, for the love of all that is right in this world, PLEASE – do NOT tell a widow or widower when they should try to love again.

I am sick of seeing widows and widowers vilified for trying to pick up the pieces of their lives.

I am sick of seeing widows and widowers vilified for trying to find companionship again. For trying to find love again.

Hell, for trying to find ANYTHING again!

We are lost souls. On a journey to find our self again.

And YOU want to judge?


Do you know the courage it takes to go back out there after your spouse has died?

After you watched them die of cancer. Or a massive heart attack. Or suicide. 

After you watched them fall to sixty pounds. Having bowel movements on themselves. Having horrific hallucinations so bad that seeing them like that strangled your soul.

After you watched them fall to their knees. And clutch their chest. And take their last breath.

After you walked in on their body. Dead. Because they took their own life.

You have no idea.

Do you have any idea how badly the loss of a spouse messes with your mind? With your heart? With your soul?

No. You don’t.

So sit down.

And shut up.

You are not allowed to judge.

You are not allowed to pass judgment as you drive home to your spouse.

You are not allowed to pass judgment as you eat dinner with your spouse.

You are not allowed to pass judgment as you cuddle up on the couch with your spouse.

You are not allowed to pass judgment as you have sexy time with your spouse.

You. Are. Not. Allowed. To. Pass. Judgment.

Sit down.

And shut up.

Stop judging.

Stop thinking that you know what the hell you are talking about.

Because you do not.

Your life wasn’t ripped from you.

Your future wasn’t destroyed.

Sit down.

And shut up.

This was not our choice.

This was not a breakup. Stop comparing.

This was not a divorce. Stop comparing.

This was not the loss of a grandpa. Stop comparing.

This was not the loss of Uncle Thomas. Stop comparing.

And for Heaven’s sake, this was NOT the loss of your damn CAT. Stop comparing!

This was the loss of a  soul mate.

Our love.

Our other half.

Our life.

Our future.

Sit down.

And shut up.

The next time you see a widow or widower try to pick themselves off, dust themselves off and ‘get back out there’. 

You have 2 choices.

You can either sit down and shut up.


You can give them a standing ovation.

For their heart. For their courage. For their bravery.

Those are your two options.

And your ONLY two options.

Because. You. Do. Not. Know.

 – Rant. Over. –

Mic Drop.

This article originally appeared at Better Not Bitter Widower

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John Polo

John Polo is a widower and step dad. He is also an author, blogger and speaker. John met the love of his life, Michelle, at a young age, and the two dated for a year in High School.  After eight years apart the two reunited and planned to spend their life together, alongside Michelle’s amazing daughter.  Two years after their reunion Michelle was diagnosed with an extremely rare and aggressive cancer.  So rare in fact, that the two were told when you consider what type of cancer it was, and where it developed, there is only one case a year in the world of what Michelle had.  Michelle fought valiantly for two and a half years before taking her last breath on January 22, 2016. It was no easy feat, but while Michelle was in hospice John had a moment that would forever change him.  He was able to rid himself of the bitter, and find his better. John is currently a contributor to a handful of blogs and websites; including Good Men Project, Hope for Widows, The Grief Toolbox and The Mighty. He also serves on the Hope for Widows Advisory Board, is a speaker for the National Cancer Survivor’s Day Foundation and is a member of the International Association of Professional Writers & Editors. John has co-authored a journal entitled ‘Hurt to Healing, The Journal from Life to the Afterlife’ and his first book, entitled ‘Widowed: Rants, Raves and Randoms’ will be released on November 11th, 2017. John’s true passions are writing and speaking about love, loss and hope as he tries to help others honor their pain and see that a hopeful tomorrow can indeed exist. You can find John’s blog at www.betternotbitterwidower.com and on Facebook