For the first time ever I was at a function where the widows and the divorced/marrieds were present in equal numbers. In my world the divorcees and the still marrieds are loosely grouped in the same category. For a divorcee, a relationship may have died and there may be torment, sadness, grief; but at the end of the day it is a thing that has ended, not a life. The same range of emotions may be felt, but ultimately the pain is associated with the loss of something (the state of being wed). So, much like those “marrieds” amongst the group, the divorcees, although now on their own, got to that state through litigation.
For a person who has had a spouse, parent, sibling or child die, the loss is a double whammy. It is the loss of something – the relationship – and also of someone. It’s finality – the person who died will never ever grace a room with their presence again. This is a huge distinction from divorce or separation. I have had divorced friends empathize with me, and at some point I am likely to hear the words, “I know, it’s awful, I’ve been there.” No they haven’t. But I certainly didn’t hear anything banal like that today, I wouldn’t. I was with a group of women who all “got it.” For those of us in the group whose husbands had died, there was an unquestioning recognition that aspects of life can be quite arbitrary. In this little group there was a silent nod of recognition accompanied by the unspoken statement, “ah, so you’ve been through the fires too.”
Through the fires, not me, not yet. I’m still very much in the midst of it. There are quite a few firsts that are ahead. I wonder how hard it will be to look and act normal? It’s been stated that forcing a smile can actually make you feel better. So, is it a matter of smiling like an idiot for the next couple of months? I guess it won’t hurt. In all likelihood, no one but me will realize how much work it is to get through the day. And if I am able to get through the day with no one the wiser, then really that’s all that matters.