Since losing my husband, I have been going through a sort of rebirth.
I have been trying on different hats, looking for what best fits the person that I am now.
I have had some successes. And I have made plenty of errors.
But I own every single one of them.
I do not know what all of the pieces of the “new me” look like, so I am experimenting until I can make myself whole again.
Throughout the past 14 months I have shared bits and pieces of what I am doing with non-widowed people and I have been met with shock and judgment.
And to be honest with you, it hurts.
I do not like the looks of disapproval. I do not like the change in their tone of voice or the questioning look in their eye. I do not like the obvious change in the dynamic of the relationship.
But I will not apologize for how I choose to grieve. And I will not apologize for how I choose to live.
Until you have lived through trauma, you just won’t understand. And I am okay with that. But not understanding and openly judging are very different things.
If you don’t understand but would like to, open your mind and ask questions. If you don’t understand and don’t care to, either remain silent or escort yourself right out of my life.
Judging from the outside looking in is a very dangerous thing to do as well. Because some day, you may find yourself in the same exact place that I am. And you will want to tell people about your journey and you will want them to understand and they will openly judge you. And it will hurt.
So please, think before you speak. Keep your unwanted opinions to yourself. If I am doing something that will cause me physical harm and threaten my life, please say something. Otherwise, let me live.
There is a reason that I only share openly of myself within the widowed community. I could hop into one of the groups on social media and write literally anything and be met with understanding and love.
Try to be like that. Try to be open and loving and hopeful that the person in your life who is grieving will find their way. You might not like the path they choose and you might not like the person they become, but not changing is not an option. Embrace it with them.
Grieving is hard and painful and confusing. Don’t add your judgment to the pile of garbage that we have to wade through daily.