Touched by loss. Empowered through community.

Instant Karma

Monday, July 22, 2013
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We have all experienced feedback – either directly or indirectly – of how others think we should be grieving.  I have always been sensitive about other peoples’ comments about my grieving process.  I know that people mean well when they comment on what I should or shouldn’t be doing. “Why did it take you so long to pick out a headstone?”, “Why aren’t you dating yet?”, “You should get more exercise to let out some of your stress”. They can’t possibly know what my feelings so how can they tell me how to handle this life changing experience. You may think that you’re helping but really you are making me feel more stressed if I think I have to live up to your expectations of my grieving process.

I was recently preparing a speech about young widows (like me) and I wanted to use pictures of famous young widows that the audience may have heard of.  The three that I used were: Courtney Love (30), Jackie Kennedy (34), and Yoko Ono (47).  I listed their ages next to their names to show how old they were when their spouses died.  It made me think how extremely hard it must have been for their grieving process.  All three of their husbands were icons in their own way and had millions of fans across the world.  I assume that not only did they receive overwhelming encouragement from supporters but also much criticism for how they handled their grief.  I can’t imagine how difficult this process must have been to be in the public eye during that time. 

This analysis helped me to sit back and think about the many times I have said things out loud (or thought in my head) about how someone else should be handling a situation – not specifically grieving but maybe a work issue, a family matter, or money problem.  I realize that I am just as at fault about giving unneeded advice to others – the same advice that I hate to receive.  From now on, I will bite my tongue and not give advice unless I’m asked. That is the same respect or instant karma that I should follow.

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