I have had many people, more than I expected actually, compare their break-ups or divorce to the death of my husband. While I am beyond empathetic for those going through a difficult break-up or divorce it is not the same as a death. It just isn’t. There is a big difference in someone being gone from your life and someone being gone from this world. I decided today to share some of my past with you in regards to my relationships.
Before I met my husband, I went through a broken engagement. We had the entire wedding planned, only thing left was mailing out the invites. Those invitations would never be mailed out and that wedding would never happen. My fiancé at the time left me for someone else. At that time, this was the worst pain I had ever experienced in my life. It left me emotionally drained, I felt so broken. I had to answer a call that my wedding dress had come in and was ready for pick-up and knowing I would never wear that dress. It was horrible, I wasn’t sure I would survive it. I didn’t know how I would ever love again and not just that but how could I trust someone again? I thought nothing would hurt that bad again, it simply wasn’t possible.
A little side note here before I continue – I am not bashing my ex. We simply weren’t meant to be. Could things have been handled better? Of course, but we are human, we are flawed and we all make mistakes. I truly wish him the best in life. This isn’t about him specifically. I’m here to share my life, my experiences…and this is part of my story.
So I built myself back up. I continued to move forward each day and knew this wouldn’t be how my story would end, no way. I wasn’t a worthless beaten down woman with nothing to give(although I’ll be honest, I did feel that way from time to time). I was worthy of so much more. I just had to believe, I had to have faith!
I was single for quite some time and then I decided I was ready for a real relationship again. I was ready to open my heart up and find someone to build a life with. So I guess you can figure out what happened next (well, after a few short and bad attempts with others of course haha), I found Erik! One day it clicked “This is what it’s supposed to be. What it was meant to feel like.” I knew he loved me unconditionally and he knew the same about me. I felt whole with him. Safe. He was my best friend, my love.
I finally found the love of my life. I didn’t know it at first but I had. I used to joke with him that he fell for me immediately and it took some time for me. It wasn’t that I wasn’t sure about him per se, it was being sure about giving myself to another person and being hurt again. He also had two kids and that was something I took very seriously as well. What if it doesn’t work out and I’ve fallen in love with his kids as well? It’ll be triple the heartbreak! I would go over things in my mind but in the end I knew that I had to take chances in life. I couldn’t live scared of a future that may or may not happen. Life‘s too short!
We fell in love and I fell in love with his children as well. Life was beautiful. I’m not saying it wasn’t hard because life can be hard, but it’s so rewarding too! How could I find such an unconditional love with someone? And on top of that, how could I be so blessed as to help raise and love these two amazing people? I felt, and still do, truly honored to be allowed such a gift and I thank God everyday for it.
At the age of 32 I married my love and at 32 I also lost my love. Exactly 5 months after getting married my husband unexpectedly passed away. Now I know I talked earlier about dealing with heartache and pain after my broken engagement but let me tell you, this has no comparison. None. This isn’t a feeling you can explain in words. It is one of those “you have to experience it” kind of things and I hope and pray you never do.
Do I believe there is grief with a break-up or divorce? Absolutely! No question. I ache for those dealing with either of those things. But death is very different. Honestly, even trying to compare what my experience as a widow is to someone else’s experience as a widow will be different.
Can’t we just let things be what they are? No comparisons needed. We just need to be there for one another, we need to listen. I would never act as though I know what getting divorced feels like because I don’t. I do however, know the feeling of a heartbreaking break-up and I unfortunately know what it’s like to lose my spouse unexpectedly. Even knowing that doesn’t mean I know what every person who went through those situations feels like.
Not long ago I had someone who was divorced after many years of marriage tell me “I live a funeral everyday.” I was shocked by this comment. I am a truly understanding person to anyone hurting with pretty much any struggle or issue, but to say that to a widow? Maybe not the best idea. I actually lived through the death of my husband, I planned his funeral and I stood there and greeted people at the funeral home as they came to give their condolences. Until you are handed his wedding ring off his hand and you have to walk up to him and say goodbye for the last time on this earth, I would never say you “live a funeral everyday” because in reality you haven’t lived it even once.
None of us are in competition about what “event” we went through is worse. Life is hard, it can be down right gut wrenching, so let’s all rally together and support each other in any way we can. Just listen to people, no comparisons needed!
We all fight our own battles and go through hardships. It’s good to remember that sometimes people need your ear, not your opinions/comparisons. Each persons journey is different and all we can do is support one another in any way that we can. As much as I say this life can be hard, unfair and sometimes simply maddening…don’t forget that it’s pretty amazing too, isn’t it?