This is a continuation of my previous post on being real and the view of society to get over our grief asap. Life coach Dr. John H. Shlare gave the advice that to get out of heartache we stop focusing on what we don't have and focus on what we do. Easier said than done. I get irritated at all the self-help suggestions that fail to give suggestions at the end. What should the grief-stricken focus on when their worlds have collapsed and their grief is centered on what has been lost and the missing loved one?
Case in point - yesterday I had to venture into our quaint and adorable little suburban enclave to drop items off at the resale shop. The local farmer's market was going on, the fountains were flowing, the pots of flowers blooming. Lovely and pretty as a picture to be sure. Now just insert all the cute young families going out to a leisurely breakfasts after Junior's little league game. Notice all the middle-aged couples shopping for fresh vegetables and wine at the market so they can prepare a special Saturday night dinner together which will be shared on the patio. Everywhere I looked were families and couples and no single, tired looking middle-aged moms like myself. It was depressing and disheartening.
We live in such a couple's dominated society. On Thursday nights I watch the new comedy "The Marriage Ref," which pokes fun at married people's squabbles. All the commercials are geared to couples. The gossip magazines follow the latest couplings of the stars. The message I've been receiving is that something is wrong with me because I'm not part of a twosome. I feel embarrassed in addition to the great loneliness. Often I tell people I'm a widow because it makes me feel less of a loser.
I'm supposed to feel happy and excited about being able to date and the freedom of singlehood. But I tell you, middle-aged dating is exhausting. I'm too tired to make much of an effort now. I've already put myself out there since my husband's death and I'm not sure I can do it again. Maybe if I were younger. I'm missing the drive and energy. All that being upbeat and smiling, putting on the happy face! Getting to know someone is kind of like a job and I already had put my time in with my marriage. I look at the matronly middle-aged women with their men at the farmer's market and wonder how they would handle being newly single and "out there." I am bitter and weary.
So with all that said, now lets turn it around and focus on what I do have! A life with two sometimes ornery and difficult teen boys, the youngest who can take his anger and frustrations over his Dad's death on me. I'm struggling financially doing the best to make ends meet just barely. I can focus on my health (although I think it is rapidly declining as the result of always feeling depressed, lonely and stressed). I do have a roof over my head. But quite honestly, those things don't come to the forefront of my mind when I'm in the swarm of suburban families and couples, all smiling and looking as though they should be on the cover of postcards with the heading: "This is happiness!"
It's all well and good to be advised to stop focusing on what I don't have. But a little challenging when what you don't have was taken from you without just cause. And all you can see around you is evidence of what you once had, what you once loved and valued.
I don't want to hear advice from people who aren't in my situation. Dr. Phil, Dr. Wayne Dyer, and Dr. John Shlare should consult with a panel made up of people who have actually been widowed, as well as divorced. Get the advice straight from the horse's mouth. And please throw in some practical suggestions besides just telling me what to do. Those of us fighting grief sometimes don't know which direction to turn and we could use a push.