Friday, May 08, 2009

My Widow Advice #14 Grief Trumping

Dear Carol,

My neighbor, Georgia lost her husband almost a year to the day that my Frank died. It's been a year for her and two years for me. She acts like I don't understand.

We walk our dogs together twice a day and the dogs get along better than we do. You'd think we'd have some common ground here, but she has to be more upset, more lonely, was more in love - I can't stand it.

Please tell me what I can do or say to her to let her know that yes, my grief has subsided more, but I am still not okay or adjusted to this new life.

Poor & Poorer Widow Me,

Dear Poor & Poorer Widow Me,

Some people are just hell-bent on outdoing others in every phase of life. When they suffer a loss they "grief trump."

Unlike the other stages of grief: shock and denial, confusion, emotional release, anger, guilt, depression, isolation and recovery - grief trumping is a stage that may never end. "Ahhhhhhhhh" - you say?

The other stages pass because life steps in and pulls us up and out. Healthy people choose pleasure over pain. Grief trumping is only a pain to others. Georgia is enjoying being #1 at something. Where's her initiative to give it up?

I'm sure that when someone says "I'm cold" she is suddenly "freezing." To "I'm hungry" she replies "I'm starving."

A great philosopher never said but should have:


One cave man chipped away at his cave "I have a cold." The other banged out "I have a bad cold." A very was added and a few very's later: Bam. Pneumonia.


Fred had to have bypass surgery. Not to be out done, his friend Ed had double bypass. Lou had triple and Stu decided to invent quadruple. This is basically
the same idea as pneumonia but with rhyming names.

I remember mentioning my theories to Jimmy and he said, "Could you get me a glass of ice water?" We often had these deep discussions.

And, so Carolyne, it seems that Georgia is just one of those people who has to have it the worst. My advice to you is to ask her for her help. For instance, during one of your walks say,

"You know, Georgia, you've been through so much. This last week I haven't been able to sleep much. (make sure you don't say how many hours or she'll start a number game on you) I know you must have problems sleeping. How do you help yourself?"

This will make her start feeling superior about the solutions and not the problems. And, you may get good advice, too...just like you do from poor widow me.


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