Faith, Family, Love and Reviews

What I don’t need…..

on January 24, 2015

I feel like that woman on the bench – alone.  Yes, I am surrounded by my children but I’m still alone.  The world is going on around me whether I want it to or not.  Even on bright, sunny days I feel like I’m walking through a dark, cloudy day where the fog is so thick you feel like you’ll never make it out.

People ask me what I need, what we need.  I so, so appreciate that but I cannot come up with anything that we NEED right now.  They throw out ideas – and again I so appreciate it.  That fog?  It honestly keeps me from thinking what we need – I have a hard enough time remembering that it may be time for lunch or to try to get some sort of dinner to eat.

You may see me with a smile on my face and think I’m doing fine, that my brain is working – but they aren’t.  I’m going through the motions.  I’m learning that people either think I’m doing great because I’m not crying or that I should be crying all the time. What I don’t need is people thinking I’m grieving wrong.

Grieving is so individual to each of us, just because one woman may cry all the time doesn’t mean another will.  I’d love just to stay in bed, pull the covers up and cry all day.  But there are children to raise, a house to clean, activities to run to, reviews to write and well life.  I know my hubby wouldn’t want me to just give up or to spend my days crying over him.

What I don’t need is comparisons.

I have encountered many in this time that think they can compare their loss to mine.  “I lost my brother, father, mom, uncle, etc”, “I’m divorced so I’m sort of a widow”.  Right now my loss, my pain is all I can think about.  I know people are trying to sympathize or empathize with me but right now – I need to know that my loss is all there is – right now, my loss feels bigger than yours.

At the risk of offending someone, please, please what I don’t need is to hear that you’re a divorcee and that you’re “a new kind of widow” or that “you feel like a widow”.  Yes.  That.  Has.  Been.  Said.  To.  Me.  Really?  So you’ll never, ever see the man you married again?  You’re children no longer have a dad that they will never see again, never walk them down the aisle, see them graduate, see their next belt test or watch them perform in their Dance Company?  Please.  Don’t.

I understand and respect that a divorce is a loss, I understand but there will always be a chance of reconciliation, that person is still alive!  My husband is gone – there is no chance I’ll see him on the street.  No chance my children can call him up or visit him on the weekends.  Please don’t try to compare your divorce to my widowhood and don’t ever say you’re a new kind of widow or that you feel like a widow.  You’re not, I am.

I don’t need false promises.

If you tell me you’re going to call, call.  I may not answer the phone – but leave us a voice mail.  Picking up the phone is one of those small things that while it’s not biggie to most people it can completely overwhelm me.  If you say you’re going to send a card whether it’s now or even in the next year, do it.  Let us know you’re thinking of us, that my husband is missed.

I know life happens and phone calls go unmade, cards get lost, and so on – that is fine but I need to know who I can count on and I’m finding out who my real friends are in the midst of our grieving and our loss.  Yes, you can even stop by.  I may be in my PJ’s and my hair may not be done, my breath stinky and the house may not be clean – but you’re there and that is what matters.  Will I carry on a conversation with you?  Maybe, maybe not but just being there is priceless.

I don’t need you to forget my husband.

I may have had times of frustration.  I may have even been mad at him at times.  But I loved him.  For almost 14 years, 14 1/2 if you count our dating time – we knew each other, we loved each other.  Don’t forget him.  Don’t ignore him.  Let me talk about him, let me cry, let me yell.  Let me tell you about our elopement and how we had Boone’s Farm (yes, we had alcohol) and beef jerky for dinner at 1:00a.m.!  Let me tell you how his vast knowledge of music and horror movie facts would drive me bonkers.  Let me tell you how he loved me even when I gave him the silent treatment.  Let me tell you how even though his back went out when I was having our middle daughter he still walked the halls with me as I tried to avoid another c-section.

I don’t need you to tell me I’m at the right or wrong step in the grieving process.

I have a social work degree that means I’ve taken many psych classes and other classes about grieving and loss and all that.  I KNOW the order of the grieving process, I am NOT following it.  Most people don’t.  One day I may be at acceptance.  The next I may still be waiting to hear his car and see him walk through the door.  The next I may even be mad at him (that will be another blog post).  Again it’s that fog – it’s not really letting my mind work as it should – I think in a way that is good, it’s protecting me but at the same time it’s also not moving forward.

So while many are asking what I, what we need maybe the right question to ask me or any widow is what don’t you need?  I can tell you when we are good on meals, when we don’t need visitors, etc.  I can’t tell you what we need because I honestly don’t know.  If you visit the house and see something that needs done – please do it – in my state of confusion and grief I may not notice the dirt on the floor or a light bulb that has gone out or even the sink full of dishes that need to go in the dishwasher.  But don’t ask me if I want it done or if I need something – you’ll more than likely get a blank stare and a “I dunno” response.  If you see us out, and a child has uncombed hair don’t mention it because I more than likely don’t know just give me a hug.  Please, don’t take this post as me not appreciating all that has been done for us so far – I’m grateful beyond words and feel so blessed but just know I can better tell you the things we don’t need than the things we do.

(c) 2015, Sarah Bailey/Growing for Christ, All Rights Reserved, Unauthorized Duplication is a Violation of Applicable Laws


7 responses to “What I don’t need…..

  1. Laraba says:

    Sarah — honestly, you amaze me. I know you are in a fog and you write so powerfully. Thank you for expressing yourself honestly.

    I kept meaning to mention this — you said on FB that Don loved Jeopardy and when you said that it seemed so LIKE him. I didn’t know him well, but he was obviously a very intelligent man with many interests. I’m so sorry you can’t watch anything with him anymore.

    Thanks for saying we can come and help around the house without asking what needs done. I know personally I don’t want to intrude. I know some people who have lost a loved one have said STAY OUT because they don’t want any of their loved one’s stuff moved or removed by well meaning people. Not that I would do that, but I would hate to mess up a memory. I guess I can safely know that cleaning floors and bathrooms and washing dishes is totally safe and useful.

    And I totally understand the frustration of the divorce comment. It isn’t the same. Divorce is so ugly and sad, but it isn’t the same as death. It seems like many times the love dies and the person doesn’t. In your case, the love is still so strong, and your precious husband is dead.

    Love you, dear friend!

  2. Amy says:


    You are doing exactly what you need to do, so try ignore all those well-meaning people. Widowhood and divorce are definitely not the same–of course it’s a loss, but not the same. I’m hoping they meant well and were just trying to relate to you in whatever way they could.

    I think you’ll appreciate knowing that just a few days ago I taught my students (college course on Death & Dying) a lesson that kind of relates to the feelings you’ve expressed here. We were going through Kubler-Ross’ stages of death (later appropriated to reflect stages of grief) and I had about six slides where I emphasized to them over and over that Kubler-Ross herself never said that people go through them in order, she just said that most people experience all those phases. It might be jumping around through them, back and forth, or it might be skipping a phase all together…. whatever that person experiences is right for them. I also emphasized to them that they should never ever tell someone that they know exactly how they feel, because nobody does. Ugh. So anyways, my point was, I hope that I can instill some of these things in my students now so that they don’t someday hurt their friend’s feelings with their well-meaning comments, such as you have experienced.

  3. Elaine says:

    You are still on my mind and in my prayers.

  4. 3lilreds says:

    Sweet Sarah, I’m so sorry. I cannot imagine what you’re going through, and I do wish I could be there with you. I’m praying for you and your beautiful children.

  5. rperkins100 says:

    Thank you for this advice. I always want to help people who have lost someone but didn’t know how. I didn’t understand what it’s like and I will be a better friend and comforter in the future because of reading this.

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