Touched by loss. Empowered through community.

You Look Great

Monday, April 28, 2014
Posted By: 
Debbie Pettey

I have been a widow for almost six years.  I have recently had a friend lose her husband.  All the memories of those first days come back so vividly. On the lighter side of my memories,  I remember a friend from high school (also a widow) call and ask if I was eating.  I said not really.. she replied with that's okay I don't know any widows who have starved to death. Ha! Made me chuckle.  I remember on several occasions people would say "well you look great".  I have several thoughts about this comment. If I were an ugly person would they say that? At the wake someone said, "Well, you look great!" I remember thinking at that moment, what the hell is that suppose to mean? Oh my, because I am a widow am I suppose to look dirty and disheveled? Was personal hygiene suppose to go out the window when my husband died? Was I suppose to crumble and forget to brush my teeth? Was there an expectation that I would look a certain way? Crap did I miss that memo? Would it be better for others if I looked a wreck? Is it better that I don't look like I haven't slept since the day he died? Do they think I am looking for the next Mr. Right and I need to look good just in case?  I make it a point NEVER to say you look great.  The widow or widower may look great and frankly may look like crap. On the inside I know they are just going through the motions.  Existing in the numb fog. Whether his or her hair is combed or they look rested shouldn't really matter. I understand people who are not widows have no idea what to say so they say "well, you look great".  Well, thank you so do you!


I completely relate to this! My husband passed away 6 months ago. Since then I have lost almost 30 pounds....not because I wanted to or needed to, just because he did all the cooking and was a big foodie and eating has no joy for me any more. Now I have people telling me how great I look and all I can think in my head is "you realize this was not a "diet", right? That I haven't eaten a full meal in 6 months? That this was not a plan?" I know the people who have said this to me meant it in the nicest way, but it almost makes me feel worse. I never really know what to say, so I usually just smile back and hope the conversation moves on to something else.

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