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I went to the funeral home last night and the funeral is in an hour from now, and I just couldn't go. Everybody understands, but I wish I could have made it through. I held up fine last night for my grandmother. I think the rest of my family was expecting me to fall apart.

My sister told me that of all the widows that she knows, I'm having the hardest time. I don't think so. I think she meets widows (mostly at her church) who do what we all do - put on a good face half the time to avoid "the look" and we don't want to be "exposed". I suppose from now on, I can't talk about my feelings with my sister or cry. I just have to pretend I'm just fine and dandy. Has anyone else had this happen? It makes me feel so alone because if I express emotion, which inevitably comes out, I'm the crazy widow. If I don't, then it's all small talk and fake talk.

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I know a few of us on this site have had funerals since the death of their spouse, some went and others chose not to. You are early in your grieving and its perfectly okay and understandable to decide not to. We can only do what we can do. Believe me, you are so NORMAL in your grieving. Like you said your sister has seen those out in public who appear to be coping just fine but when they are home you know they are in pain just like us. Just my opinion, but I would continue to be myself, have MY feelings and express my grief. Some people just can't deal with it, like your sister. Take care, Deborah

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Mel, dear ~ perhaps your sister needs to walk a mile in your shoes before she is qualified to pass judgment on "how hard a time" you're having. Ask her to read this:

Please See Me Through My Tears

You asked, "How are you doing?"

As I told you, tears came to my eyes . . .

And you looked away and quickly began to talk again.

All the attention you had given me drained away.

"How am I doing?" . . .

I do better when people listen,

though I may shed a tear or two.

These feelings are indescribable.

If you’ve never felt them you cannot fully understand.

Yet I need you.

When you look away,

when I’m ignored,

I am again alone with them.

Your attention means more than you can ever know.

Really, tears are not a bad sign, you know!

They’re nature’s way of helping me to heal . . .

They relieve some of the stress of sadness.

I know you fear that asking

how I’m doing brings me sadness . . .

but it doesn’t work that way.

The memory of my loved one’s absence is with me,

only a thought away.

My tears make my loss more visible to you,

but you did not cause this sadness.

It was already there.

When I cry, could it be that you feel helpless,

not knowing what to do?

You are not helpless,

and you don’t need to do a thing but be here for me.

When I feel your permission to allow my tears to flow,

you’ve helped me.

You need not speak. Your silence is all I need.

Be patient . . . do not fear.

Listening with your heart to "how am I doing"

validates what I’m going through,

for when the tears can freely come I feel lighter.

Talking to you releases

what I’ve been wanting to say aloud,

clearing space for a touch of joy in my life.

I’ll cry for a minute or two . . . then I’ll wipe my eyes,

and sometimes you’ll even find I’m laughing in a while.

When I hold back my tears, my throat grows tight,

my chest aches, my stomach knots . . .

because I’m trying to protect you from my tears.

Then we both hurt . . .

me, because my feelings are held inside,

causing pain and a shield against our closeness . . .

and you, because suddenly we’re emotionally distant.

So please, take my hand and see me through my tears . . .

then we can be close again

– Kelly Osmont, MSW, LCSW, CGP, in

What Can I Say and Do? How to Support Someone Who Is Grieving a Loss,

© 2000, Centering Corporation

Reprinted with permission of the publisher.

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I always tend to respond this way when anyone asks "How are you doing?" - Would you like the lie or the truth? - That way I know if they just want "I'm doing fine" or "I hurt more now than when I first lost Rob. 7 months has not changed the fact that I miss him so much."

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Mel, I have had to miss three funerals since Cliff died 6.5 months ago ... my family forbade me to go to my aunt's more or less, and I am glad they did. I have missed two friends' funerals, but their families understand. The important thing is that you have supported your grandma, and I'm sure you still will. In fact, you may even grow closer because you have the awful loss in common unfortunately, and will therefore understand each other, where others do not and cannot. (Cliff's Dad and I have grown much closer because of our understanding of how it feels to lose a spouse).

When some people ask me how I am, I say, fine thanks. To others I say, "well I still don't want to be here but I am learning to live whilst feeling like that ..." I do think it's important though that family know how you are, so please don't feel as tho you can't express your emotions or feelings in front of them. Unfortunately one day, they too will suffer an awful loss and they will draw on your empathy ... so they can give you the time, sympathy, and try to understand now. It's not a lot to ask ...

My family and friends read my blog to keep track of where my head is at, they find it useful to gain the insight and are also pre-warned of what emotional state I might be in - LOL.

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I wish I had family to talk with. Although I have 2 brothers, 2 sisters, 3 daughters, 4 grandchildren, 5 nephews, and 6 neices, and surviving parents-in-law, along with the rest of his family, the only ones that actually talk with me honestly regarding my feelings is a brother, a nephew, a daughter and the parents-in-law. All but the parents-in-law live in other states and since this is the second son my in-laws have lost I am reluctant to confide much in them, mostly because they are in poor health and in their 90's. I have only 2 friends that I can also talk with but 1 works 2 jobs and the other lives in another state. I am envious of all of you that have a supportative family. It would be nice to be a part of that.

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Guys, you're reading my mind today! My long time friend and her husband are down for the week - they came in to the shop and we talked a good while. But I got that look that I hate - of pity? of, I love you but I can't imagine it? Oh, I hate that look. The way I see it - we, all of us, are not only grieving our best friends and soulmates, but also trying to survive, financially, whatever - each of us is doing the work of two now, keeping our homes, businesses, work, all together while we're in pieces inside. Mel, when I read what your sister said, I got angry - but then I read Marty's post, and it's so true. People truly don't understand until they walk in our shoes, and for me, it's almost impossible to explain. Hugs to all of you, Marsha

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Yes, it is impossible to explain. I have had several friends who have lost their husbands before I did and I did not understand the depth of their pain. I would call them, offer support by helping with their children, do what I could...but I did not understand. I could see grief, but I could not imagine the depth of what that word means.

We cannot compare how each person deals with loss and say that somehow you are not handling it as well as someone else. We are all different. Our relationships are different. Each is unique and special in its own way. I did attend a 10 year Memorial for a girl friend of mine that was held by her husband last weekend. I loved her so much and her husband. He was one of my husbands best friends. He is now, finally, able to love again and has a wonderful new relationship. It is good for me to see him happy. He has been a wonderful support for me and he was so loving to my husband when he was sick.

Another man was at the Memorial and his wife died suddenly 1 1/2 years ago and he told me, "stay busy" as that will help you. I don't want to be too busy to miss anything I might really be feeling. I want to feel what I feel and not ignore anything. And yet I don't know if this is right or if I am not allowing my own healing by often times socially isolating myself and being alone. My friends want to keep me active and busy. I accept maybe half of what is offered to me in social interaction. And I do enjoy myself when I go out. Or when I have a party for someone. But day in and day out, I grieve for the person I really want to be with, to talk to.

When people ask me how I am, I say an unenthusiastic , "I'm ok".

We all grieve in our own way. At our own pace. In our own time.


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Mel, I think you are right about that, and Marty, thank you for sharing that beautiful poem, it is so true. It is good, Mel, that you are strong enough to stand up for yourself, how very important, now more than ever!


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First let me say i'm so sorry that you have to go through this i just lost my husband in june. the people here are so nice and i feel i can talk to them when i can't talk to anyone else. No one understands unless they go through it it is not the same as losing a sibling parent or even a child, all of them are totally different. I feel the same way i cry all the time but not in front of everyone. I don't want to here it's going to be ok or you will get past this or even the friendly patting on the shoulder. I know that there trying to help and it is not there faught but but they still don't understand what you are going through.I look at his pictures,talk to him saying I love you baby good night or good morning as if he never left because i know that his spirit is around me but I miss him soooo much. It is still fresh in your heart like it happened just a few minutes ago. but through the help of the friends here they will help a whole lot. just keep reading and writing. In the days to come you will fell a little better even though it hurts sooo much.

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I think the shear lonliness that we are left with is what others can't imagine. They see us living, they see us with family and friends, at work or shopping. It "appears" that we are doing well while the inside still crumbles with the constant thought of our loved ones.

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