I had a productive and interesting session with my grief therapist today. She brought up an aspect of grief that she has encountered repeatedly in her practice. People who have not experienced loss are hit like a ton of bricks when it touches them. She said that these individuals tell her that they were totally unaware of how much loss hurts and that they did not appropriately respond to others in the past because they just didn't know. "So this is how it feels," they moan! "How could I have ever told my friend/sister/brother/mother/co-worker to get over themselves, stop being so self-centered, to move on and deal with it?" They admit they were insensitive.
My therapist added that it is hard for people to have effective relationships when one of the couple has experienced significant grief/loss and the other has not. We were talking about my second marriage and she said that it is like one person always trying to fit a square peg into a round hole when explaining their feelings or perspective. She doesn't believe that couples have to be on the same level of shared life experiences or that their losses have to be the same (spouses dying for example). But she does believe that experiencing grief/loss has the potential to profoundly cause us to grow. And that there has to be some level of that shared kind of growth for a relationship to work. It is her opinion that one of the reasons for the failure of my second marriage is just because of this factor. My second husband led a pretty charmed life (and he had never been in any long-term relationships either). We just weren't matched up on a mutually similar level in terms of the hardships we'd faced over our lives. Nor did we share a compatible level of psychological insight (another factor my therapist finds couples needing to share). Sad but true.
My experience of widowhood has continued to make me feel jaded and frustrated as I continue to interact with those people lucky to have not faced much loss in their lives. I don't seem to be able to connect with them. It is difficult to explain my life views or experiences. They don't want to listen and they don't understand. It is a tough hurdle to face every day.
Today I am grateful:
1. For seeing the display of carved pumpkins in the window of a florist - it was so simple and cute. Just a large number of pumpkins on shelves against a black background.
2. To be able to have someone to talk to in person who does get what I feel and has always told me that what I feel I am entitled to feel.
3. For the rain we have been having. I love the rain because it makes us appreciate the sunny days more and it slows us down to get chores done inside.
4. For living in a safe community.
5. For the $5.99 Friday pizza special.