Widower Wednesday: A Different Emotional Place

One challenge many GOWs, WOWs, and widowers have to face are friends and family members who are less than thrilled that the widower is starting a new chapter in his life. Even though you and the widower and are more than ready to tie the knot and start a new life together, others may not be so enthusiastic that their father/friend/son-in-law/brother is taking this step. Lately it seems I’ve got a lot of frustrated emails wondering why some people don’t “get it” or at the very least pretend to be happy that the widower is moving on with his life.

It’s a natural reaction to get upset at those who don’t share our excitement about a new relationship or other life event but sometimes it helps to take a step back and see things from their perspective. Just because a widower has moved on and is ready to start a new chapter in his life doesn’t mean everyone else feels the same. Those who may be struggling with the news of an engagement or steady girlfriend are probably still grieving and probably haven’t had time to even thing widower falling in love with someone else. Change can be hard for people to deal with and if they’re still reeling from the death of a loved one, seeing someone move on can be a shock to the system.

Back when Marathon Girl and I were dating, sometimes I had to tread carefully when discussing our relationship with certain friends and family members. I did this because I could tell that many of them were still struggling with my decision to date and remarry so soon after Krista’s death. I didn’t downplay the relationship or my love for Marathon Girl but simply knew it was a better to discuss something other than our latest date or wedding plans. Yes, it was hard to know that some people weren’t as thrilled about Marathon Girl as I was but I shrugged it off and figured they’d eventually come around once they had a chance to grieve and move on. Eventually everyone did.

I’m not advocating that you spend time a lot of time with people who are negative or are having a hard time with you and the Ws relationship. Rather, I’m just asking that you take a moment and try to understand why they might be acting they way they are. Instead of getting upset or frustrated with them, count your blessings and look forward to a new life together. Maybe they don’t “get it” now but most of the time they’ll eventually accept life’s changes and move on. It just may not be as quick or as soon as you or the widower was able to do it.