Should a widow remarry?

They are getting remarried already! 
Didn't their spouse just die?
They sure do move on fast.
I would never remarry if I lost my spouse...

The list can go on...

I came across an article today about a famous individual whose wife died 15 months ago. This famous individual recently got engaged and I read the comments under the article and they brought tears to my eyes. Many people said that he must not have loved his wife because he was engaged so soon after her death. Some of the key words I read were “that was so fast,” and “moving on so quickly.”  The headline of the article even stated “just 15 months after his wife’s death” when referring to his engagement. And those words stung because the people who were writing them must not have experienced the pain of losing a spouse, because if they had, they would offer support rather than judgement.

Unless you have had to say good-bye to your spouse you cannot fully understand the pain a widow feels. Yet, some are so quick to judge how a person is supposed to grieve. There are some who are so quick to judge on what is acceptable or unacceptable grief. They will put a timeline on how long a person should grieve. They will determine which actions are acceptable or unacceptable when a person is grieving. They will say things like "Hasn't it been long enough, why aren't they over it?" or "They are posting a lot of smiling pictures on social media, they must not have really loved the person who died" or in the case of this article I read "He must not have really loved his wife to be engaged so soon after her death." They type behind a computer screen. They exchange text messages between each other. They sit around dinner tables and talk about the one grieving. Yet they have no idea what they are talking about.

I had to say goodbye to my spouse almost 5 months ago. I have no idea whether or not I will get remarried. But as I read this article, my heart hurt because I would hope that if that day came and I decided to remarry, I would not face the same judgement this famous individual is facing in the comment section of articles. If I do remarry, regardless of how much or how little time has passed since my husband died, I would hope people would not sit around and make comments  like “that was so fast” or “she must not have loved her spouse” or “how can she move on so quickly.” I would hope that if I entered into a relationship next month, next year or never that people would not sit around their dinner table criticizing me.  Because whether a person remarries after 15 months of their spouse passing away, 15 years after their spouse passes away or never remarries that doesn’t diminish the amount of love they had for the spouse that died. Nor does entering into a relationship and remarrying indicate that you no longer miss your deceased spouse.  You never stop loving the one who passed away just because you remarry. And the love you have for your deceased spouse doesn't diminish the love you will have for your new spouse. And so if the day comes for me, I would pray that people would be happy rather than critical. 

I stood across from Mel on my wedding day and vowed “until death due us part.” I never thought that death might come so soon. And yet when it did my entire world changed.  There are no words to describe how painful it is losing a spouse. You lose the person and everything that was represented in that person. From waking up in the morning and not hearing their voice. To sitting across an empty seat at the breakfast table. There are no more texts throughout the day with your spouse asking how it is going. No more sounds of the garage door opening in the evening as your spouse comes home from work. There are no more meals prepared with your spouse in mind. Their voice is missing from bedtime stories. Their side of the bed remains empty as you fall asleep. There is no person sitting next to you in the car. No hand to hold as you walk into church. The dreams and plans you had have been erased and new ones have to be made. Every day their absence is felt in every aspect of the day. And it is hard.

It is easy to judge a person how they grieve but until you are in their position, you will never understand what they endured. It is easy to sit behind a computer screen and type mean comments. It is easy to sit on a couch in a living room to criticize a person who has just lost someone they love. That is easy. What is brutally painful is burying your spouse. What is brutally painful is listening to a doctor tell you there is no hope. What is brutally painful is seeing your once healthy spouse confined to a bed paralyzed dependent on help for everything. What is brutally painful is seeing your spouse hooked up to life support and hearing the doctors tell you that he has very little time left. What is brutally painful is telling your children that their dad is dead and holding them as they sob uncontrollably at night.  What is brutally painful is not having your best friend in life with you anymore. And a person who has lost a spouse needs support and not judgement.

I don't know why reading the comments about this famous person hurt my heart so much. But if you are reading this, I encourage you to offer love to those who are grieving. Don't judge how they grieve. And please don't ever say "they must not have loved their spouse because they are re-marrying."

This picture was taken the weekend we started dating in 2008. We were married in 2009. I had to say good-bye to him on February 14, 2017. My love for him will never diminish regardless of whether or not I ever re-marry. 


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