Sunday, May 03, 2009

My Widow Advice #12 Poor Widower Him

Hi Everyone,

Before I enter today's letter let me tell you about a film that's opening at the end of this month. After watching the promo on their website I was taken.

The name of the movie is "You" - about how a young father copes with the loss of his wife, raises their daughter...just take a's presented beautifully.

Today's letter is in this spirit, although not quite as sweet -

Dear Carol,

I'm a widower. It's been two years now and according to statistics I should have remarried by now. Hard to do. I took care of my wife for four long difficult years.

I have a small confession to make and since this is anonymous I feel I can tell it here. I loved my wife, but I hated her sometimes. I hated cleaning her and a couple of times I told her that. She cried and I felt bad, but I still walked away until it blew over.

I felt that she was sucking the life out of me. After work sometimes a bunch of guys and gals would go out and I did sometimes and I felt guilty. I could never enjoy myself. I resented her for it. I wanted a wife, not a patient.

This is what I couldn't say in the bereavement group I was in. I was worried about what the women would think of me. They all made me feel like I did a great job so I acted like I was Marilyn's knight in shining armor.

I was by her side when she died, but I still feel I let her down. It feels good to confess this to someone finally. There is one other man in the group and he acted real loving like me so I'm not sure if it was an act or what.

We were married 11 years total. We had no kids. I'd like to have a family one day. I'm only 41 years old. Thanks for letting me blow off this steam.

Very truly yours,
Poor Widower Me, Craig

Dear Poor Widower Me, Craig,

Honest and real - real and honest. Thank you. Not to put down your group leader, but she should have done or said something to you and the other man in the group to make the enviroment safe enough for you guys to be more open.

A one-on-one bereavement therapist may be a good fit for you now. Two years later, you have some distance and perspective and no one to listen in and judge. Just don't go to my old shrink, Mean Jean. She'll make you cry like you made your wife cry...oops, sorry, Craig.

Anyway, if writing to me made you feel good it made me feel even better. I was in a group with three men who had wives who were sick for years, like Marilyn. They told their story with what I thought was genuine love and compassion and selflessness - the endless doctor appointments,
hospitalizations- well, I don't have to tell you.

What got me was that none of the men tacked on "Poor me." Just having to listen to it I was feeling "Poor me." With pride they'd announce "I was her sole caretaker."

I remember thinking that these men must be from another planet. My husband was a wonderful, generous and loving man, but a nuturer he wasn't. Lucky for the both of us that in
33 years I rarely got sick. The handful of times I did he's say,

"Come on. You can't still be sick." And, that was after a day and a half.

I remember I left that group ready to run home and start a fight with him.

If Jimmy had to take care of me for four years like you took care of Marilyn within the first month he'd be smacking me over the head with the sick bell.

Several years ago I had liposuction and was forced to wear a long tight girdle. He'd complain,
"How are we going to have sex with that thing on?"

In the group, I wondered about the sex. Too weak to walk? Maybe, my husband was a maniac. Is twice a day excessive? (yes, I'm kidding).

I won't ask you. (even though, if you excuse the expression, I'm dying to) It's none of my business. I just hope you're making up for lost time.

Craig, give yourself a break. It had to be hell for you. Jimmy was sick for barely a month. Four years? I probably would have been smacking him in the head with the sick bell, too.

Find yourself a healthy woman with good genes and who looks both ways when she crosses the street. Then go and have yourself the family and the life you deserve.


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