I received an email a few weeks ago from a reader and I was stunned into speechlessness. So stunned, that I didn’t reply because I couldn’t form the proper words. I shared the email with a friend over Thanksgiving and she insisted that I write about it here. It went as follows:
“Hi MrsTDJ, I’m a long time reader and I wanted to express my condolences on the death of your husband. From your stories, I kinda feel like I know him and you. All the best to you in the future. While I respect that this is your blog to write what you want, and I know you’re hurting, I’m curious as to when you think you’ll write some funny stories again. You used to keep me and my office rolling. It helped to pass the work day. Everything you’ve written lately has been a little sad. Take care.”
Really?????? A backazzed compliment????? Hey widow chick, sorry for your loss, but um, when can you start entertaining me again with funny stories??? Whoo saaaaaaaa!!! Anyway, that little diddy has prompted me to take a step in the direction of cleansing all the extraneous stuff from my mind and heart.
I’ve learned many new things in the last few months about myself and about people. I’ve been reminded just how amazing and special my family is. My friend circle has shown me more love and support than I could have imagined. I’ve been encouraged and humbled by the kindness that my online communities have blessed me with. And, on the flip side, I’ve learned that the world keeps spinning and people have returned to their daily lives. Without malice or evil intent, folks have categorized my “situation” as “finished”. With open hearts, they called, emailed, visited, attended services and then life kept going. Remarkably, there are those who have surprised me in the best ways – being there in ways I couldn’t have predicted or imagined. Painfully, those who I wouldn’t have expected to pull disappearing acts when I needed them most did just that. Almost 6 months have gone by since my husband passed away, and there are people who haven’t reached out to me in 5 and a half.
I wanted to not talk or write about the hurt and disappointment, but it’s real and I must. In therapy we discuss allowing people to take your power and govern your emotions. I’m taking my power back. By allowing myself to write, I am releasing parts of what pains me. I’ve expressed my appreciation to those that have been there for LittleTDJ and I, both personally and through my writing. I’ve been less vocal about those that haven’t because I didn’t want to air dirty laundry or bring negativity into my writing. However, I’ve been holding onto tiny scabs that are starting to fester. I can’t allow that to happen. Minute to minute, I must draw on strength I didn’t know I possessed to complete life’s most basic tasks, such as bathing, driving and saying hello to a coworker. The memory of my husband’s smile pushes me to accept the collective prayers and blessings of my circle in order to give LittleTDJ the best version of myself that I can muster. I don’t think it’s possible for anyone to fathom how hard it is for me to string together a sentence. To that end, I must acknowledge then banish those that don’t wish me well from my life.
I’m not the same person that I was prior to June 9th and I know I’ll never be that exact person again. I am a version of that woman and some people aren’t comfortable with that. I saw the quotation above and I realized that’s what I had been doing. Subconsciously, I was imposing my expectations on others because of the kind of friend, cousin, niece, aunt, sister-in-law, daughter-in-law that I was. That stops now. I’m disappointed in the words and actions of some friends and most of my in-law family as they have shown that they do not have the time nor interest to invest in LittleTDJ and I. There are those who have shown me, without exception, that LittleTDJ and I are not important to them. I’m hurt, yet not mortally wounded. I’m owning my emotion and moving forward. Amazingly enough, I am relieved. Relieved to see the cards on the table and realize where people stand. They have taken the guesswork out and cleared space in my life that they probably shouldn’t have had anyway. Some will read my writings today and take my message very, very personal. I can’t control the reaction or interpretation that anyone may have to my thoughts, nor will I try. If you think this is about you, it probably is. On this journey, authenticity and vulnerability have been a source of healing for me, so I will continue to speak about much of what I face.
LittleTDJ and I are surrounded by love and from this moment forward, I am actively choosing NOT to allow any more space, time or heartache be wasted on those who aren’t in our corner for the right reasons. Thanks to all who continue to shower LittleTDJ and myself with love and prayer!