I've been getting better.
I stand where the waves buffet me; but under my feet is rock, not sand. Thus I may speak without drowning.
It's taken a while. And I lost everyone
in the process. If you think that's not you, it might be because you were lost before when I was quiet.
Every person I considered an in-person friend turned out not to care that I was hurting, it was more important to be judgmental and tell me that I should have chosen differently years ago.... and to say so DURING THE CRISIS
. I'm often uncouth and blunt and inconsiderate. Honest to a fault. I've said the wrong things to people who were hurting. I'm sometimes sorry when I notice I've said it. Sometimes I'm not. But the people who saw me hurting and kicked me anyway.... I don't like you very much right now.
I spent a lot of time rewriting how things should have gone in my head. So all the people who said, "I'm so happy your husband is finally dead!" let me say this:
You. You are a horrible person. I will rewrite your dialogue in my mind until YOU cease to exist as a person in my life.
The fact that you're not sorry makes me want to not like you in the future. The fact that you then said that I was not allowed
to be sad or angry because no one should have negative emotions makes me actually hope something goes hideously wrong for you so I have an chance to show you what being a friend is supposed to look like. (Now that I know what I would have wanted you to say.)
It made me question my own judgment because I allowed you in my life.
When I realized that the people around me were so hurtful that I'd rather be dead than talk to them, it was really hard to want to talk to anyone because I'd been wrong. For years, I'd been feeling like a monster that no one should like. That there was something really wrong with me because I was miserable and suffering hugely under the obligations to a terminally ill man who was in complete denial. It turns out, however, that most people
are monsters and I was doing the best I could.
I am. finally. at a place where I can see my choices, how my decisions played out, and realize yes. I would have done exactly that again (with some wiggle room for details that didn't have a dramatic effect overall, like which pizza place we ordered from the night we fought about my not cooking... I like the other one better and conceded so the evening would go smoother but we fought anyway, so I should have ordered the pizza I like.)
I was really really hurt by the results of my decisions and the consequences of my choices. Every single damned day of my life for the past N years (at least 2, but possibly up to 6 years.) It's very hard to get up every day and know that every choice I will make betrays me or wounds me.
There is nowhere I think I should have done something fundamentally differently. I can't have made my dead husband not to have been drinking for the past decade. I can't have not helped him when he was dying. And I shouldn't have gone back on my decision that resulted in him struggling the last few months of his life even though that is the most tempting thing to take back.
It was a hard loss to spend 6 years of my life fighting to keep someone alive and ultimately fail at it. It was harder to be blaming myself for the choices because I didn't like the outcome. I was vulnerable and I believed the horrible things people said to me. That set me back. "These are people who are my friends and they think I'm a horrible person. I must be a horrible person because they know me and they wouldn't say this just to hurt me." Well, actually, people who say horrible things to you when you're already hurting, just because they can (not because it might get you moving forward again when you've been stuck.) They're not friends.
I lost all my doctors, most of my neighbors, all my in-person friends, have been parading therapists through my life since trying to find one who can care at all... and really at the end, I've got some online people I've known since before my life fell apart and some new potential people, but it's been a 100% changeover in 4 months.
I'm a harder person now. I trust very few people. I've been learning not to empathize with people. I don't care if I understand why someone is horrible (inexperience with real life) or why they said something so devastating (Oh! the wrong one of you two died, can we have him back instead?) . And I don't want to learn to let things roll off my oily duck's back like water by being meditative and calm. My husband DIED. People told me they were HAPPY FOR ME and that I MUST BE HAPPY HE IS DEAD NOW. I am ANGRY with those people and I have every right to be angry. I'm not even angry with myself for thinking these people were actually friends because there's no way to know they were that insensitive.
We might need to add etiquette classes so the curriculum. Now that we don't bother heating the melting pot, we don't have enough common culture to keep our mouths shut when our reactions are inappropriate. And we must need to teach it as a society since people don't learn it at home. I never did and I trod on a lot of toes that resented me for it. The things I heard make me sorry in retrospect for my behavior when I was seven
at the funeral of my great grandmother.
Let me list off a few things that should not be said:
- The wrong one of you died! It's too late to trade you for him!
- He wouldn't be dead now if you hadn't abandoned him.
- You must be so glad to be rid of him! He was weighing you down! Are you sleeping with someone else now? Because I have this friend who is in town this weekend.....
- I can't believe how much weight you've lost! You look fantastic. You must have so much more energy!
- We should get together, but you can't talk about your downer stuff.
- I showed up to help you with your death notification calls, why don't you have food to feed me? Can't you cook?
- In my culture, we only mourn the worthy men [or only fathers, or only likeable people, or only people who are "right with God"].
- You shouldn't be upset. It's been three weeks already.
- Call me when you're over this and can be a friend again because you really suck and it's all for no reason. He deserved to die a long time ago and this is pathetic of you to be grieving someone who wasn't worth your time.