Peace of Mind and Tempered Expectations

ExpectationsI 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!

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Comments

Comments

  1. Man they can kick HOT lava rocks!!!
    Keeping you guys in my prayers!!!

  2. Krissy says:

    Well stated. I think if folks don’t wanna read your blog then they should click the X and keep it moving, plain and simple. I will continue to read and pray.

  3. msyoungmd says:

    People Just Ain’t No Good. Siiiiiigh… I’m still praying for you ladybug. Take your Time… Keep Healing… Keep using your beautiful memories to make you smile through you saddest moments. Sometimes.. Only those and our Lord will Keep You.
    Be Well Lady.

  4. nineteen69 says:

    I am very sorry to read this because I know you are in pain and doing all you can to raise your son. My heart goes out to you and I truly pray for your strength and healing.

  5. First off, I think that reader owes you an apology. you determine what you want to write in your space and I am a witness to the fact that there is no timeline for grief. That was very rude. You are not a vessel for anyone’s entertainment. If they want entertainment, then they need to buy a ticket to the movies. This might be a blog on the internet, but this is very much your REALITY.

    Furthermore, it pains me to read that your in-laws are not providing you or LittleTDJ much in the way of support. I guess in the words of Cyndi Lauper, their true colors are shining through. However, I will as always pray for you and your son as you continue on your journey of healing.

    (((HUGS)))

    • digal704 says:

      Unfortunately there is no time like hard times for the stupidity to show it’s face. What you said about life continuing while you are still mourning, is something I thought as I left the hospital after the death of my child. I understood it, but I still hurt.. “Friends and family” that leave you hanging afterwards hurts like a mug. I just chalk it up to the universe weeding out the people .who truly love and care about me. I only “know” you through your blog, but I truly hope that you and your son find something to help you get through what has truly been a most horrible loss.

  6. I applaud you on choosing to remove those people from your life. Accepting the things you cannot change and changing the things you can. To be the best for LittleTDJ, you have to do what’s best for you.

    The person who wrote the backhanded compliment has obviously forgotten that you are voluntarily sharing your life with us. The good and the bad. And that you don’t have to do it. It’s unfortunate that reader cannot be gracious enough to recognize that.

    You have plenty of readers who are not visiting for their daily laugh. You encourage me through your writing about EVERYTHING. I know I’m not the only one who thinks you are amazing. Keep being your authentic, amazing self, flaws and all. :-)

  7. Anonymous says:

    “If you think this is about you, it probably is.” A very profound statement indeed. To read your stories of what people have the gall to say to you utterly amazes me. I didn’t realize people could be so insensitive. Your writings bring me into your journey and I can feel “some” of your pain. I will never know fully what you feel but I’m glad you are able to write it down and express it. I’m praying that this aids in comforting you somehow. God Bless you Mrs TDJ and Lil TDJ. I love you.

  8. _K_Rock_ says:

    Wow. I honestly dont believe someone had the gall to ask you that. Thats crazy. Basically “Eff how YOU feel and your state of mind, but can we focus on me again?” That’s crazy. I, and plenty of others, come here to read about TDJ because we like you. This is where you are right now so this is where WE are right now. We are all rolling with you and Little you through whatever. Sift the no-gooders out and keep it moving as you have. High fives and hugs and kisses.

  9. Babs says:

    Say what now? People are ridiculously rude, selfish and insensitive.

  10. KayC, The Quiet Stom says:

    I’m speechless that someone would have the balls to send you that. You heal in your own time. You take time for YOU to come to your place of peace. And this is YOUR blog. You write what you want! *Let me woosaaa for you* (((HUGS)))

  11. Cyn says:

    That was beautifully written and while it may be hard for you to string together a sentence you do so with such strength and grace. Sadly, I can believe that people have the audacity to think that you should be finished mourning. I pray that God continues to wrap you and lil TDJ with love and wonderful memories.

  12. Elisha says:

    This is my first time reading about your story. I send hugs and kisses to you and your son and wish continued strength and healing for you both. I was very shocked to read what one of your readers sent to you. But knowing how self-centered people can be, I guess I’m really not all that surprised. I lost my father a year ago and know that folks can say the damnedest things. But of what you wrote above, this stands out to me and says that you and Lil TDJ are going to be just fine:
    “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.”

    It is hurtful yet always good to know where people stand, especially when where they’re standing is NOT in your corner. Be blessed and I will be praying for you and your son!

  13. Bridgette says:

    Some people are just stupid and there’s nothing we can do about that. I have been praying for you and your baby for the past almost 6 months. I’ve commented before about my mother dying when I was a teenager. She was sick for 4 years before her death and so many people promised her they would be there for my dad and I and would make sure we were okay. That lasted until right after the funeral. Her best friends (not all)…gone. Some people in her family…gone. And, eventually, I learned to deal with that. In times of personal tragedy, people show their true colors and it’s good to know exactly where they stand. You are so brave for letting us see your hurt and pain. I would love to respond to your emailer…they got my pressure up.

  14. Just wow. That’s all I’m going to say about that person.

    What I will say to you is keep your strength, your faith and your love for Mr. TDJ, LittleTDJ and yourself. I won’t say nothing else matters because I know that it does, people hurt you and you feel it, just remember there are people who care and love you dearly.

    My thoughts and prayers are always with you and LittleTDJ. Always. Always. Always.

  15. Cookie says:

    Wow, that was very powerful T. I am sure whoever its mean’t for will truly get the message.
    So proud of the woman, mom and friend that you are. Love you and my little buddy so much!

  16. While I was reading this all I could think was “fuck you” to the person who said that. I have not one single care about who those words could offend because that’s my expression, just as this blog is YOUR expression.

    I will never claim to get what you’re going through and I’ll probably never know the right thing to say, but I do know that a good “fuck you” is in order for anyone who could ever send such an email.

    So, in case you didn’t say it to him/her/anyone – FUCK YOU.

    Not that I want to speak for you, but speaking for me as someone who loves you.

  17. My mom, who sometimes reads your blog, but never comments, was just asking me about you just 2 days ago. I made the remark that it had not even been 6 months yet and to just keep praying for you and your son. People are so self-absorbed it is beyond belief!!!! What were you supposed to say to this reader ??? I’ll be back to writing for your entertainment in 30 more days !!!! WTH. I am glad that you are taking your power back and continuing to take all the time that you need to manage all that you are going through as best you can. I am so sorry for the insensitivity of so many people.

  18. creoleindc says:

    I swear ‘fo goodness…

  19. Mrs. Pancakes says:

    OMG that’s incredibly insensitive of that reader… Really really? Oh we should all boycott that lady because she is completely out of touch with what’s important in life!! Always praying for you and little man!!

  20. Drea says:

    *like* and hugs. You have every right to feel what you feel as long as you need to, no one has the right to expect you to be over ANYTHING within their time frame. <3 I'd say keep on doin' you…but you will regardless. Love that about u. ;-)

  21. ARGal says:

    Well just when I thought I couldn’t be easily surprised this fool comes along and expresses something that should have remained a thought in their head. The human race can sometimes be so incredibly stupid.

    Thank goodness we can also be thoughtful, loving and kind. My prayer is not only for your continued strength and peace but that you (and LittleTDJ) remain surrounded by a village that continues to provide exactly that.

    (((HUGS)))

  22. Ummm for reals??? Someone had the actual nerve?? Yeah they can kick rocks. No one has a right so say when your grieving is over but you. This is your space and you can say what you want. I’ll be here waiting to read the good and the bad.
    ((HUGS))

  23. Cashana says:

    Well said. Take the time you need for your healing. I continue to pray for you and your son.

  24. Quiana says:

    Oh my! I can’t even imagine how someone could be so souless. What a great wake-up call however to purge the unnecessary from your life and surround yourself with those who love and support you.

  25. Anonymous says:

    Umm. I can’t formulate proper responses, so I will just say this. I am praying for you. I am praying for all of the craziness that comes your way to cease. And I am also praying that if it doesn’t, that your mouth is worded in such a way that people will be able to know that they are out of line – quickly.

    When are you going to write some funny posts again. HMPH!

  26. Karen says:

    This was done in good taste. You definitely have to teach people how to treat you and you just handed out the first lesson. All the best to you and your little one!

    -Karen
    http://www.yourstylistkaren.com

  27. Rochelle says:

    There are fools everywhere! I’m so sorry about that heffa. But, know this, your strength and character permeate through the screen. I’m so sorry for your loss and the hurt you have to shoulder for both you and your child. It is my most sincere wish that you continue to heal and gain strength.

  28. I am soooo sorry that happened to you! People just don’t think sometimes! I am proud of you though for not letting those people that don’t care or show that they care, not bother you. Best wishes to you and your son!

  29. Maggie says:

    MRS. TDJ, I hate that a reader, especially one that is probably just a lurker like moi had the nerve to actually send you that. Although I only “know” you through reading your blog I am praying for peace and strength for you and your little one dealing with the audacity, crassness and insensitivity that others, knowingly or not are bringing into your lives!! E-hugs all around except for Ms. Wanna Be Amused and shit!!!!

  30. I am so sorry to hear that people, particularly family, are showing their azz. The only saving grace is, as you say, now you know who is and isn’t true. No need to keep those only fair weather friends & family around. I pray for your continued strength & peace. Hugs.

  31. discodiva73 says:

    I have never met you but have enjoyed reading your blog for a while now. Because I have been reading your blog, I know how much you love your husband and how painful his death was to you and I am totally appalled that someone would make that suggestion to you. I hope that person reads the blog post and the comment and is greatly shamed.

    Death brings out the best and the worst in people…sadly its usually family that shows the worst.

    Many prayers of peace to you.

  32. So… I could barely read the rest of this post after the letter. I was scrolling down with venom ready to leave a comment. I had to go back and finish the post. Seriously, how do you fix your fingers to type that letter to someone. It was completely selfish. There’s isn’t an expiration date on how much time you get to grieve your husband, your soul mate, your life partner, your best friend, the father of your only child!!!!! Hello!!! He wasn’t just one of those things – he was ALL of those things to you. Sometimes, it would do us a world of good to REALLY put ourselves in the shoes of others. Let the church say AMEN indeed! Prayers and love to you and little man this holiday season. I know it won’t be easy.

  33. Kayla says:

    You continue to amaze me. I think you handled this well…Some people can be so callous.

  34. GP says:

    I’m all extra late…. Girl! I’ve learned a lot of new words from Twitter and by definition now I know what a “bird” means. The bird who sent you the email clearly is just dumb. I really can’t get past the gall people seem to have about saying ignant ish or sending ignant ish to you. I know that person (bird) read your post and is reading these comments and I hope is taking this as a learning moment. LEARN BIRD!

    I do know that you have to tell people what you need. If you need more support or help tell the in-laws, friends, blog family included, tell everybody! If they don’t come through then you know. People don’t really know what to do after a death. They think they do but they don’t. A male stood up at a funeral in our family and gave this long speech about how he was going to be there for the family and step in a be the man and help out where needed. I don’t even have to finish because you already know. o_O!

    No one can put a time frame on pain or healing. It take as long as it takes! I’m glad you’re in therapy tho. A non partial ear is best. Recognizing that people are human has helped me a lot in some areas and I give them a pass (in some areas), but not many and this is one. The internet is still a safe haven for people to say whatever they feel without regard and that’s just sad. In one breath they’re saying “Oh I’m so sorry that happened to you” and in the next breath they’re the ones talking about you… Anywhoo

    I hear the wrap up music…

    You and little man do stay in my prayers and I smile every time I see a tweet from you doing fabulous things. I think you are doing great! Keep writing and keep doing you!

    Love GP

  35. Alecia_HBOP says:

    Hey Mrs. TDJ….. I understand when people are on the outside looking in, envious, judgmental etc… I experienced the same in the “end of long term friendship and relationship” with who my friends really were, even when I did not agree always with things in their lives I was their true friend… The hard times are the times when you know who your true friends are…. Some people are for a lifetime, a season or a reason…It just makes you a better you, you let them go and their expectations and judgments .. and live you life… Keep on doing what you do… I glad to have you as new “daughter” in my life and your entire beautiful family…. Love “Momma Solstice”

  36. Mrs. TDJ, this life experience has changed you. There’s no need to explain. This is YOUR blog and it’s also a place for me to read and understand a woman who is surviving after an unimaginable loss. It’s your story and it’s your blog. Your words are helping you and other people learn about coping and healing. No apologies or explanations necessary.

  37. manoucheri says:

    I learned that in the months after losing my wife I lost some and saw the best in others. We had a really hard time, myself and my four kids, trying to go alone, but we realized that family and close friends kept us from being alone. The hard thing others cannot understand is that when they experience the twinge of pain in remembering that person – your husband in your case – they feel it and then go back to their lives. They were touched in moments and events, but you were with him all the time. The very air around you changes, so to speak. That’s what I found.
    I hope you find those that are important and blessings in your life. My kids and I have said since the day my wife died that “we’re stronger together than when we’re apart.”
    It seems you have made amazing strides. I hope you continue to do well, even with the speedbumps on the road!

  38. a2theizzo says:

    hugs and kisses. I will forever admire your strength!!!! god bless

  39. Cyn says:

    Thinking of you today….and often. {{hugs}}

  40. Pat says:

    I am a widow also – 15 years this year.. When I read your blog for the first time, my tears flowed. When I read your post about being a “widowed mom” rather than a “single mom” it was something that I’d never thought about previously, and found it to be very profound. I’d like to share just a few of the experiences that I had when I first became a widow. First, there were the comments that women, especially at work, would make like, “I’m going to be a fishing WIDOW this weekend, or football, hunting, bowling, etc” as their husbands were going away for the weekend. While I know their intent wasn’t to hurt me, inside I wanted to scream, “You don’t have a clue what being a widow is!” But I understood this was my reality – not theirs.” My reaction would be to withdraw into myself and take care of my emotions. These comments always caught be off-guard as at that moment, I wasn’t consciously thinking about being a widow. It would often take me hours to recover. I referred to it as “losing time” because whatever I was focused on before that comment was shoved aside as I was plunged back into my own world of grief. About six months after my husband died, I was going through emails at home late one night and a “friend” of mine had sent me one of those “funny” emails about men and women. Half way down the page, one of them said, “What do you call a woman who knows where her husband is every night?” Answer: A widow. I literally gasped – and wondered how my friend could possibly be so insensitive to send this to me. As you have said, I realized that others’ lives move on, and how quickly they forget. I’m sure my friend read through that and didn’t think twice about that statement. My third experience was a conversation that I had with another “friend” who had invited me to a Christmas Party at their home. I called her to RSVP and tell her that I wouldn’t be coming because holidays are the toughest time for me emotionally, and being at a party where everyone else is part of a couple is just too painful for me, and so I choose to avoid putting myself in those situations. Her response was, “You’ve got to stop feeling like that…..you are a ‘WHOLE PERSON!” If I could have reached across the phone line and slapped her I probably would have. How dare she tell me how I’m supposed to feel or not feel? Life does go on, but my life and the lives of my two sons, who were 10 and 15 when their dad died, were forever changed by his death. And, of course, there are the comments from women who have gone through a divorce who feel a need to tell me that my “situation” is better than theirs because they have to continue dealing with their ex-husband which makes it harder for them to move on with their lives, especially if they have children together. I did not “choose” to become a widow and have no doubt that we would still be happily married today. He was the love of my life and my soul mate. I wish that I had some words of wisdom to share with you, but I don’t. I still dream about him after 15 years which just tells me that he will forever be in my heart. One thing alone has kept me going and that has been my belief that everything happens for a reason. 15 years later, I’m still trying to figure out the “reason” for his death, and what I’m supposed to learn from this. You and your son are in my thoughts and prayers.

  41. I am speechless and crying! All I want to do is give you a hug so I’m sending you and Little TDJ a virtual hug!

Trackbacks

  1. [...] This second post got me REALLY angry. After sharing her personal tragedy on her blog, can you believe that someone wrote to this blogger and had the audacity to tell her to hurry up and mourn her loss so that she could get back to her regular scheduled funny posts. Read Peace of Mind and Tempered Expectations. [...]

  2. […] This new found action on your part may hurt you to do but know that it is the right thing to do. When you have time, read Peace of Mind and Tempered Expectations. […]

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