A new blogging friend Karin has me thinking, she left a comment on one of my posts from back in Dec/08. The post related to mourning the loss of a loved one. This is a part of that post:
“What do you think is the respectful amount of time a widow/widower should wait before beginning to see someone else?”
I remind you I am not a doctor or a therapist, I am just me. You asked for my opinion so here is how things are “According to Bill”. Also remember free advice is usually worth about as much as you paid for it.
I take this to sort of mean, how long is an appropriate time to spend in mourning the passing of a spouse? What is a respectable amount of mouning time to spend before moving on with your life?
I will give that a very definite, that depends. Grieve is a very personal and individual thing, everyone deals with it in their own way and in their own time. I think the question should be, when is the surviving spouse ready to move on in a healthy way? At this point it should be all about the surviving spouse. If you are asking, say should a widow spend a year dressed in black locked in her house to show proper respect for her deceased husband my answer would be no, UNLESS that is something he/she must do for their own healing.
Not sure how to word this to get what I mean across. Do I expect my family to mourn my loss? Fact of the matter is I know they will. But, I hope and pray the “true mourning” phase will be brief. I hope I will be missed and always remembered but not in a mourning way. Does that make sense?
I don’t think moving on with your life should have anything to do with respect or disrespect for the passed loved ones. It has everything to do with the survivors living healthy happy lives.
Will I feel in anyway disrespected if All of my loved ones don’t spend an “appropriate” time in mourning? Not at all, if anything the exact opposite would apply. The greatest respect that could be shown to me, is by everyone moving on with healthy happy lives, I can then rest at ease knowing I have somehow contributed.”
Those were my thoughts back then and still are today. Being the rambler I am I have to add a little more today.
Loosing a loved on is such an intensely sad and confusing time. Confusing as our whole world is suddenly changed. Our lives as we know them are suddenly changed and will never be the same again. In going through this time of loss, it can well seem like the whole world has changed, nothing is the same, nothing makes sense, has any meaning or value. Things we once valued or enjoyed are suddenly meaningless. Everything in life is suddenly seems different, difficult and even pointless. I remember when my mother passed. As I left the hospital that last time, I passed through the lobby. In the lobby was a group of strangers and they were LAUGHING. I remember a feeling of rage build inside of me, how could anyone be laughing at a time like this. How insensitive of them, how rude of them, how inconsiderate of them!!!!!
Well let’s face it they were strangers. They had no way of knowing about my mother or what I was feeling at that time. This sort of reminds me of that old saying which is something to the effect. Be kind to everyone as each is fighting their own battle of some sort.
Now i said life will never be the same again and it won’t a part of your life is gone forever. BUT, that does not mean it will not be just as good again. Our minds and our hearts need time to process this change to allow us to move on.
How we process it, how we reach the point of being able to move on is individual and personal. We will each do it in our own way. my way may in fact not seem appropriate to other or visa versa. it is a time we need the support of others. Very often giving support can seem to be the best way we can receive it. Accept others as they deal in their own way even if that way seems so alien to our own thinking. I don’t think there is any “ONE” right way, but I do think there is a wrong way. That is to just seemingly get stuck in time and not move on. If you are there I ask this one question, is this what your loved one would have wanted for you?
Bill, this is a very meaningful, important entry (aren’t they all?). Though mourning and grief does vary, to know that the person we’ve lost would want us to be happy and go on is something to keep in mind (cling to?), almost in honor of him/her? I still carry grief from a loss 15 years ago and don’t think I’ve ever dealt with it properly. We all would want to be missed / remembered, but who would want their loved ones to hurt and suffer from sadness? This train of thought really can be healing, even with old wounds like mine.
i waited for 1 1/2 years..only because my grief was so strong over losing John…i think a person should at least wait for 1 year to give themselves time to grieve and out of respect for the one they have loved..but that is just me…xoxo Nita
Nice to see ya! Gosh, I was starting to borrow troubles with that creative brain of mine!
((((((((((( Bill ))))))))))
I don’t have an answer because I don’t think there is one–other than the one you spoke to.
It’s too individualize of an answer to put a time limit on. When folks are ‘ready’, that’s a good thing. But I don’t think ‘engaging in relationship’ is a way of saying they’re ‘ready’ or ‘done grieving’. Hopefully it simply says they’re ‘ready’ for a different relationship.
LOL I know what I mean even if no one else does. 😉
Glad to know all is well! ((((( Bill )))))
You know I guess the way I see it is this. The mourning should last as long as it takes. If I cop it tomorrow, then I suspect that at first thinking about me will make some people cry but I hope very soon it would make them smile. Ah it sounds so trite… but I hope it makes sense.
A very good answer, Bill!
@Mel: “But I don’t think ‘engaging in relationship’ is a way of saying they’re ‘ready’ or ‘done grieving’. Hopefully it simply says they’re ‘ready’ for a different relationship.”
Yes, exactly. My brother’s widow started a new relationship less than a year after he died. It didn’t mean that she was disrespecting my brother’s memory or that she was done grieving. It’s been over ten years now and she’s *still* not done grieving, and neither she nor I ever will be. It simply meant that she was ready to have someone in her life again. She didn’t want to be alone, and my brother wouldn’t have wanted her to be.
Very nice post,very well written. Good Advice from “According to Bill.” :+)