Touched by loss. Empowered through community.

Taboo Topics

Wednesday, June 1, 2016
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Taboo Topics

On this widowhood journey, there have often been topics that I felt were taboo to discuss with others, as well as topics I wished that others would have felt were taboo to talk to me about. There is never a shortage of people willing to offer their unsolicited advice about how they think a widowed person should proceed going forward: when you should feel better, be over it, move on, clean out closets, stop crying, get out of the house, stop talking about your spouse, get rid of the pictures, be ready to do things on your own, get back to “your old self,” date, and everything in between.

Equally, I’ve often felt there were things I couldn’t talk to other people about because they couldn’t possibly understand, because I wanted to leave them in their ignorant bliss, because I wanted to spare them the pain of knowing what it was truly like in the realm of being widowed, or because they just couldn’t handle it. It becomes the business of censorship in knowing that you can’t discuss certain things with certain people, so you talk to who you can, and leave the rest out of polite conversation.

Lately I find myself thinking about a topic that I struggle to bring to light, but that affects widowed I know. That is the feeling of being “left behind” as you have friends who move on to their “Chapter 2.” Going on nearly 8 years of widowhood, I struggle with feelings I once had as I saw my friends begin to get engaged, married or have children sooner than I did. It’s that left behind feeling where those you love are moving on to bigger and better things, and you just feel like you don’t belong anymore. I was quite active in a very social group in the beginnings of my widowhood, and over time, the majority of people in the group found new relationships and/or marriages, including 4 couples that met within our group and married each other. 

I have felt alone and out of place for a long time now. And there is a double edged sword feeling of seeing your fellow widowed friends find happiness in a new relationship while you haven’t achieved the same kind happiness. For me, it’s another taboo topic…because if I am honest and say it out loud that I am envious and jealous of their new found happiness, it makes me sound like a bad person. But I am…jealous and envious. And maybe a little hurt that they were able to find what has, to this point, alluded me. I am so happy for them that they were able to find someone that loves them and makes them happy, but at the same time, it makes me wonder why I haven’t found that, what’s wrong with me, why I don’t deserve the same. It’s not that I am having a pity party or don’t value myself…it’s a true soul searching “why?” 

I don’t have a reasonable answer. Just as my younger self had to wait and hope for “my time” to come, so too do I find myself doing this again. Maybe I will never find it, or maybe it will happen when I least expect it. But not being able to talk about this without feeling awkward about it makes it hard to work through. So I throw this out there with the hope of maybe reaching just one other person who feels the same. Even if I never personally know of it, if it helps someone else to know they are not alone in feeling the same as I do, it was worth putting it out there for anyone to see or comment on. Maybe it doesn’t have to be taboo after all.

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