Monday, August 30, 2010

Looks Can Be Deceiving

If one more person tells me how well I am doing after the death of my husband, and how strong I’ve been, I’m going to scream.

Because along with this wrongly perceived strength and well being, comes the comments that are for the strong woman, the “cold hard truths” and frankly, I don’t want to hear the “cold hard truth”. I’m living it every day so I have no need to have it pointed out to me, especially if I am having one of those extremely rare moments when I am not thinking about it. A friend once said to me, “Well, the cold hard truth is he is gone, and you don’t have to worry about what he has to say about it.” I wanted to say, "Thank you for making me feel more crappy than I already do."

I’m not doing well. But when people ask me how I am doing, they expect to hear something like “I’m doing well”, or, at the very least “I’m doing OK...hanging in there”. Both of these answers must be accompanied by a smile, lest they think there is something seriously wrong with me. What I really want to tell them is that my world feels like it is falling apart at the seams and there are actually times where I want to throw myself in front of a moving bus. I would love to say to someone when asked how I am, “Well, I feel like crap. I walk around like there is a black cloud over my head, and even when I am laughing, I am crying inside. I’m almost positive that I’ll never be genuinely happy again and that I’ve been sentenced to a long life of loneliness without my soulmate, but I’m muddling through life with this fake smile plastered on my face because I have two kids that I love and I owe it to them to give them a good life, considering they no longer have a father.”

Society has this I-Am-Woman-Hear-Me-Roar ideal that after any kind of tragedy, a woman is supposed to bounce back almost immediately or she is seen as weak, co-dependent and an embarrassment to the female species. According to that ideal, what I’m really “supposed” to do is put all his pictures away, get a makeover, sign up on eHarmony and tell everyone that I am doing well. HA! Never going to happen my friends. And now you know the truth, so you can stop asking me that ridiculous question, and expecting that even more ridiculous answer.


  1. I don't know whether to laugh or cry ... but I'm nodding right along with you.
    I tend to give the standard "I'm fine" response to most people. They don't want to hear that my life is so crap that I struggle not to cry all the time and sometimes its really hard to breathe. They don't want to hear about me holding a sobbing child while they fall asleep, missing their Daddy.
    Everyone wants me to be "over it" it seems ... except for the inner circle who know that I'll never be "over it".


  2. Amen to both of you. It has been over 2 years for me, and I got SO tired about how strong I was, etcetera, etcetera, when I did NOT feel strong and was ready to cave in. Tired of the loneliness, of the nights of NO ONE to talk with, to eat with, to talk on the phone with. Now, of course, I have moved forward (what other choice is there?) and no one says that anymore. Looking back, I think people wanted to say something supportive and they thought that WAS the thing to say. If only they knew how it sounds to a grieving, lonely widow (or widower). Another hated phrase: he's in a much better place. Was being with ME such a bad place to be???....