Widower Wednesday: Different Kinds of Loss

From the inbox:

Dear Abel,

I read your last post and as a result I  had a discussion with my widower about taking some of the late wife’s photographs down. He said the losing a spouse was like losing a son or daughter and that he wouldn't expect anyone to take down photos of a deceased child. That three days ago. The photos are still up and I don’t think they’ll ever come down. Since the widower feels this way about the photos, is it even worth bringing up the subject again or should I learn to live with them?



Hi S.

You can’t compare the loss of a spouse with the loss of a child. They’re incredibly difficult and heartbreaking but they can’t be compared because the relationship you have with that person is different. Grieving, moving on, and healing from those losses are different too.

You may not have lost a spouse or child, but maybe you've lost a parent, grandparent, friend, or someone else you've cared about. If you have, think about how you grieved and moved on from each of those losses. I’m willing to bet that each was unique. It’s the same with a spouse and child.

Both my late wife’s and Hope’s death ripped me apart emotionally but the pain and grief I experienced was very different. Hope’s was much deeper and much more difficult. The pain is still there in the deep place in my heart. It’s something I don’t know will ever go away. The death of a child is something I hope never to have to experience again.

It sounds like you’re widower is coming up with excuses not to take the photos of his late wife down. You can get used to them if you want but if they bother you, I suggest a widower that’s going to put photographs of the late wife over your wants and needs isn't worth dating.