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Here's another cliche/phrase I hate


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20 hours ago, ccoflove said:

"Everything happens for a reason."

Hate that one.

Must be nice to have our belief system so simple and sewn up!  But it's NOT that simple for most of us!  I like these two articles on the subject:

http://onlineministries.creighton.edu/CollaborativeMinistry/Grief/avoid-cliches.html
http://www.griefspeaks.com/id9.html

I think "cliches" make us feel they diminished or devalued what we're going through and feel, totally inappropriate!  One size does NOT fit all!  People need to put a muzzle on it, just BE THERE and LISTEN and CARE!

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Exactly Kay, well said.   With rare exception I hate cliches, and precisely because they are cliches...but ones relating to loss are the worst of all. I tried to address some of these on my web site here FWIW (#2 on the list)...similar to what you're saying Kay:  https://griefhelp.webs.com/know-someone-grieving   That web domain is going away, but when I move it, I'll have to add those others. But again I would suggest to try and keep a person's intent in mind vs the bumbling way they go about it (yes I know easier said than done). 

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Wow widower 2, I just read most of your website and it just impressed me very much. You explain the grieving process so accurately, it's practically how I am going through it myself. My wife also had a rare cancer, hers was in the adrenal gland, of which the odds are 1 in a million. I bookmarked your site and will keep checking in. Many thanks.

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Yes, it is a good site!  You've come through so much, Widower, in the beginning you were ready to tell people where to stick it (which is fine too) but now you've progressed to taking into consideration their intent, that is huge!  Of course it's good for us to do that, in the beginning, not always so easy though.  I tend to be very candid, although I try tact if it'll work. ;)  Great job with your posting/website! I, too, saved the link, I like your tips!

 

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Funny that phrase is what I tell myself so often to justify things I am doing that wouldn’t exactly fit in a grieving widow behavior, like laugh or eat well, buy myself an expensive high quality item - that’s what he would have liked me to do. And it’s the truth, because I know that’s what he would have liked me to do, he told me so before he passed. But if someone else tells me that, who hasn’t experienced that kind if loss, it does seem like they are overstepping, doesn’t it? So I guess it depends on who’s saying the cliche.


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foreverhis

Indeed I loathe, "It's what he would have wanted you to do."  My inner voice, which sometimes is my out loud voice as well, says, "You don't know what he would want for me, so please stop."  It's like they forget that I am the person who knew my husband best, so if anyone would "know" what he wanted me to do, it would be me.  And as if I don't already know these things. 

I especially hate, "He'd want you to be happy."  Well, of course we always wanted each other to be happy.  But he'd also know that it would be impossible to be truly happy without him. 

Even though well intentioned, I find those specific cliches condescending and hurtful.  I don't respond angrily, but I try to make it clear that it is inappropriate to me.

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foreverhis
30 minutes ago, Maria_PI said:

Funny that phrase is what I tell myself so often to justify things I am doing that wouldn’t exactly fit in a grieving widow behavior, like laugh or eat well, buy myself an expensive high quality item - that’s what he would have liked me to do.

Absolutely.  You know him; you know what he'd want for you.  No one else gets to say that--just you.  IMO, there's no reason you even need to justify your choices, but it is nice to kind of bring our loves with us as we try to navigate a new life.

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16 hours ago, foreverhis said:

But he'd also know that it would be impossible to be truly happy without him. 

Even though well intentioned, I find those specific cliches condescending and hurtful.

Of course!  I hope to God I've never said that to anyone!  We learn so much going through this ourselves, it takes on a whole different meaning.

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On 12/26/2020 at 10:16 PM, Sparky1 said:

Wow widower 2, I just read most of your website and it just impressed me very much. You explain the grieving process so accurately, it's practically how I am going through it myself. My wife also had a rare cancer, hers was in the adrenal gland, of which the odds are 1 in a million. I bookmarked your site and will keep checking in. Many thanks.

Many thanks, you don't know how much you made my day!  If it helps/helped even one person somehow, it was worth it. And I'm so sorry for your loss. If you want to rant about the ineptitude/apathy of our medical profession, esp as it relates to rare cancer, feel free, I can relate!

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On 12/27/2020 at 11:18 AM, KayC said:

Yes, it is a good site!  You've come through so much, Widower, in the beginning you were ready to tell people where to stick it (which is fine too) but now you've progressed to taking into consideration their intent, that is huge!  Of course it's good for us to do that, in the beginning, not always so easy though.  I tend to be very candid, although I try tact if it'll work. ;)  Great job with your posting/website! I, too, saved the link, I like your tips!

Very kind of you also, thanks! I'm all for and so respect candor; it's highly underrated in our walking on eggshells world. As for tips, I think you have the crown on that one :)  It was nice to see when I first read it that we had various similar things; it was a verification of sorts.

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2 hours ago, widower2 said:

If you want to rant about the ineptitude/apathy of our medical profession, esp as it relates to rare cancer, feel free, I can relate!

Of course, I have lots of pent up raving I could do. Family doctor, neurologist, oncologist, endocrinologist, nurses, you name it. I have many questions and very few answers from all of them.

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Roxeanne
On 12/29/2020 at 12:44 AM, Missy1 said:

Hate those to, I also get angry when I hear, this was his fate! 

I hate that too, and hate  another one: "let him go!"...

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Yoli

"let him go", seems an awfully hurtful thing to say. Disrespectful to the fact that they existed, they were here, created a life and memories, loved and was/is loved.

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Roxeanne

Yoli i think who said that had compassionate intentions towards me...i was so devastated by my pain! But i hated it 'cos the last thing i wanted to do was "let him go!"

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steveb

I absolutely despise “let him/her go”.  Some folks could give a rat’s ass about our loss.  It seems lately I’ve been quick to dismiss folks that give me the wrong vibe so to speak. Ain’t got time for them.

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KayC
3 hours ago, Yoli said:

"let him go", seems an awfully hurtful thing to say. Disrespectful to the fact that they existed, they were here, created a life and memories, loved and was/is loved.

If anyone had told me that I would have had an emotional outburst for sure!  Possibly tears, possibly anger, maybe both!  And heaven help them when I do!

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Roxeanne

I have to explain why she said to me "let him go!"

'Cos she believed that with your pain you keep  him here instead to let him go on his spiritual journey..

Anyway i hated hearing her day that...

Of course say that...

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widower2
1 hour ago, Roxeanne said:

I have to explain why she said to me "let him go!"

'Cos she believed that with your pain you keep  him here instead to let him go on his spiritual journey..=

How nonsensical. Obviously I have only my own opinion and beliefs on this, but it makes zero sense to me that someone's spiritual journey hinges on whether loved ones left behind are in pain. If that was true, they'd ALL be S.O.L. Their spiritual journey is exactly that: THEIRS. Not ours.

 

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KayC

Still best not voiced to the person, they are scrambling to deal with it as best as they can already!  Guilting someone isn't going to speed up the process any!

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Roxeanne

I would like to spend one word for people who don't know how to react to our loss.

I did the same thing.

Until you directly experience the loss, you don't know.

They too!

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foreverhis
On 1/4/2021 at 12:18 PM, Zee24 said:

Also saying that you are not the first person this has happened to and then quoting examples of everyone they have known who suffered from bereavement and was younger. None of this changes anything, its not a competition about who’s suffering the most. 

So true.  Sometimes I've notice members here write things like, "I know others have it worse.  I feel selfish for [whatever subject]."  I tend to chime in with exactly what you wrote:  This is not a contest where only the person voted to have the "worst" loss matters.

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Diane R. E.

Yesterday, someone said regarding loss of a spouse "It was God's plan". That statement totally rubbed me the wrong way. Let me say, I believe in God and in the afterlife. But because we live in an imperfect world and because humans are not perfect, I believe that sometimes bad things just happen. If I thought that my husband's death was God's plan, I probably would be angry with God, but I harbor no anger. In fact, I find solace in talking to God (as well as talking to my husband). I sincerely hope I'm not offending anyone - I respect everyone's beliefs, but the statement left me completely upset.  

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Diane - I don't think anyone here takes offense, Free country right? :) I also hate when people say God's plan. It implies that it was for the best that the person is gone. It also implies the opposite, that if the person was still here, that would be bad. I cannot see how my wife's death is good in any way so I definitely hate when people say that.

 

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2 hours ago, Diane R. E. said:

I believe that sometimes bad things just happen.

I 1,000% agree!  So many say that, what the ___ do THEY know about "God's Plan!"  Easy for them to spout when they're not the one going through it.  Watch how fast they backpedal when it happens to them!  Sorry, this one really gets me!  I'm a Christian too but you'd never catch me saying something like that to someone.  So if their house burns down, their child dies, they lose their job, they get Covid, their daughter is raped, what then?  All God's plan???  I think NOT!  We live in a fallen world where God has taken his hands off for a time but it will come back around and everything will be righted again!  A LOT of things happen that aren't "God's Plan."  Like sin.  Death was never part of His original "plan."  

Okay, I'll get off my soapbox.  But in case you haven't seen this, here it is:
https://onlineministries.creighton.edu/CollaborativeMinistry/Grief/avoid-cliches.html
http://www.griefspeaks.com/id9.html

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Diane R. E.

BBB, LMR, & Kay; thank you so much for your support on this. The comment about it being God's plan affected me so much worse than other comments. I think it invalidates one's loss.

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4 minutes ago, Diane R. E. said:

I think it invalidates one's loss.

It certainly does!  Saying it’s “God’s plan” is callous. It’s almost like folks say that as an afterthought. 

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2 hours ago, KayC said:

God has taken his hands off for a time but it will come back around and everything will be righted again!

Thanks Kay, that is well put. Everything God created, He gave free will. We don't know the why or the how but it sure does hurt losing your partner and I guess it's only natural to question. We can only hope by faith that eventually we will be reunited with our loved ones.

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I had such a bad day yesterday and I reached out for someone to talk to. This is what my friend just wrote to me:

"You actually have control of your mind and could, if you really wanted, decide to be happy or miserable but you are unhappy because he has moved on and left you, is it worth it?"

I felt like saying, 'one day you'll find out' but that's not necessarily true.

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On 1/10/2021 at 2:28 PM, foreverhis said:

things like, "I know others have it worse.  I feel selfish for [whatever subject]."  I tend to chime in with exactly what you wrote:  This is not a contest where only the person voted to have the "worst" loss matters.

 

I actually went to see a therapist and in so many words she kept coming back to the "others have had it worse" routine. I tried to explain (also in so many words) that other people's sorrow is terrible but frankly irrelevant to my situation. Needless to say I didn't see her long. 

  

8 hours ago, Diane R. E. said:

Yesterday, someone said regarding loss of a spouse "It was God's plan". That statement totally rubbed me the wrong way. Let me say, I believe in God and in the afterlife. But because we live in an imperfect world and because humans are not perfect, I believe that sometimes bad things just happen. If I thought that my husband's death was God's plan, I probably would be angry with God, but I harbor no anger. In fact, I find solace in talking to God (as well as talking to my husband). I sincerely hope I'm not offending anyone - I respect everyone's beliefs, but the statement left me completely upset.  

That's probably because it was grossly insensitive and plain flat stupid. I think I'd counter with something like "I see, so if someone you loved had a heart attack right in front of you, you wouldn't rush them to ER right? You'd just say 'it's God's plan' and sit around to see if God decided to let them live or not?" 

So many bad things happen to so many good people that if someone really thinks that's "God's plan," IMO they have a seriously warped idea of what God is about. I think God's plan is to let life be whatever it is, because only then is it truly LIFE. If he stepped in any time something bad was about to happen, it'd be some sterilized imitation and we aren't really living. 

 

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foreverhis
4 hours ago, Sparky1 said:

We don't know the why or the how but it sure does hurt losing your partner and I guess it's only natural to question. We can only hope by faith that eventually we will be reunited with our loved ones.

IMO, it's not only natural to question, it's natural to be angry as, well, you know.  IMO again, it's okay even to "yell" at God (in whatever form you believe).  A caring God can take both our love and our anger.  Letting it out like that is often beneficial--and I truly, truly do not think God minds when we need to "vent' that way.

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19 hours ago, Diane R. E. said:

The comment about it being God's plan affected me so much worse than other comments. I think it invalidates one's loss.

And I think you're right.  I don't think I'd have any hesitation telling someone so.  I grew a lot of moxie when George died.  I literally had to tell my sisters what was/was not appropriate in grief response.

 

13 hours ago, foreverhis said:

IMO, it's not only natural to question, it's natural to be angry as, well, you know.  IMO again, it's okay even to "yell" at God (in whatever form you believe).  A caring God can take both our love and our anger.  Letting it out like that is often beneficial--and I truly, truly do not think God minds when we need to "vent' that way.

I agree!  I tell people God has big shoulders, He can take it!  Not meaning disrespect to Him or anything, but He knows us and understands more than we realize.  

15 hours ago, widower2 said:

You'd just say 'it's God's plan' and sit around to see if God decided to let them live or not?

Right!  I think people that spout stuff like that, it's more convenient for them to believe these black and white statements and spout them, how nice and convenient for them!  But let THEM go through what WE have gone through and see their questioning begin!  Life is not so simple as all that.  It annoys me to no end!!!

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I’m already being pushed into medication by my family.. and it’s only been 6 weeks. I’m not depressed, I am grieving. No one around me has ever lost a spouse - my parents are lucky enough to still be together. No one has any idea that a pill will not make the loss easier. So I have to hide my grief. I cry alone. I try to be chirpy around them to avoid the cliches and the push to medicate. 

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3 hours ago, Elsa said:

I’m already being pushed into medication by my family.. and it’s only been 6 weeks. I’m not depressed, I am grieving. No one around me has ever lost a spouse - my parents are lucky enough to still be together. No one has any idea that a pill will not make the loss easier. So I have to hide my grief. I cry alone. I try to be chirpy around them to avoid the cliches and the push to medicate. 

Elsa, I'm sure your family is only trying to help, but taking meds is your decision.  I took some anti-depressant meds prescribed from my doctor to help me get some much needed sleep, but they made me feel like crap, so I threw them away.  During the first 6 weeks, I was a complete mess.  My kids got me through the first 3 months after my wife passed.  I hope you feel a better soon.  

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19 hours ago, foreverhis said:

it's natural to be angry as, well, you know.  IMO again, it's okay even to "yell" at God (in whatever form you believe).  A caring God can take both our love and our anger.

Trust me, I've had my share of being angry and yelling. Every day, many times during the day I ask God why, why? You took my wife from me, why couldn't she have lived longer, she wasn't that old. You took my motivation away, she was all I had and so on. I'm sure everyone has had similar anger...

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foreverhis
On 1/12/2021 at 7:46 PM, widower2 said:

I hope you're right or I'm screwed lol

Yeah, me too.;)

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foreverhis
7 hours ago, Sparky1 said:

Trust me, I've had my share of being angry and yelling. Every day, many times during the day I ask God why, why? You took my wife from me, why couldn't she have lived longer, she wasn't that old. You took my motivation away, she was all I had and so on. I'm sure everyone has had similar anger...

Indeed I have.  I've been angry at everyone and everything, and especially at myself sometimes.  Definitely furious with a few of his doctors. 

While my love was fighting his cancer, I bargained and pleaded in the most ridiculous way.  I asked to take his pain on myself.  After he died, I was so angry and wanted to know why.  Though John and I walked away from the specific denominations we were raised in, we never let go of our universal faith.  So I "yelled" about how wrong and unfair it was, etc.  And never once did I think, "Boy, God's going to really be angry with me about this."

I think it's only human to want to know why and to be angry.  I've come to realize that I won't get those answers in this life, but maybe in the next.  I suppose though that when it's my time and I am reunited with my soulmate, the "why" I feel now won't matter as much.

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On 12/26/2020 at 6:22 PM, widower2 said:

Exactly Kay, well said.   With rare exception I hate cliches, and precisely because they are cliches...but ones relating to loss are the worst of all. I tried to address some of these on my web site here FWIW (#2 on the list)...similar to what you're saying Kay:  https://griefhelp.webs.com/know-someone-grieving   That web domain is going away, but when I move it, I'll have to add those others. But again I would suggest to try and keep a person's intent in mind vs the bumbling way they go about it (yes I know easier said than done). 

Widower2, I just read your webpage. Everything you said is so true, especially the “THE INFAMOUS "FIVE STAGES OF GRIEF". Thank you so much for putting this together. 

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17 minutes ago, RainyPNW said:

Widower2, I just read your webpage. Everything you said is so true, especially the “THE INFAMOUS "FIVE STAGES OF GRIEF".

I came across "the 5 stages of grief" not long after I lost my husband. I was wondering what I was supposed to bargain with. I had nothing. My life? Thats all I could offer, to what end? So my husband could be the one suffering instead? Ridiculous!

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I was asked a couple of days ago by one of my closest friends « so, the 5 stages, which one are you at? »... They don’t understand how insensitive and cruel this feels - I know they don’t mean to be horrible just inquisitive but yes @widower2 reading your website I agree so much with it... my number one overriding emotion is guilt, none of those others. That guilt is what comes rushing back anytime I catch a wave of grief. Things should have, could have been different for him and I could have made a difference if I had paid more attention.

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foreverhis
5 hours ago, Elsa said:

I was asked a couple of days ago by one of my closest friends « so, the 5 stages, which one are you at? »..

The whole "five stages of grief" wasn't even intended to be for us.  The study was to look for commonalities in patients who were given a terminal diagnosis.  Plus, to categorize grief of any kind into neat little stages or steps people are supposed to walk through in a straight line and come out the other side "back to normal" (or whatever) is not only wrong, it's insulting and hurtful to us.  All it does is make others feel comfortable.  Grief is so uncomfortable and frightening to most people.  Our society barely admits loss and grief exists, much less teach us anything about it.

Here's an article I found that really helped me talk to people about it.

The 5 Stages of Grief and Other Lies

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I was asked a couple of days ago by one of my closest friends « so, the 5 stages, which one are you at? »... They don’t understand how insensitive and cruel this feels - I know they don’t mean to be horrible just inquisitive but yes [mention=298270]widower2[/mention] reading your website I agree so much with it... my number one overriding emotion is guilt, none of those others. That guilt is what comes rushing back anytime I catch a wave of grief. Things should have, could have been different for him and I could have made a difference if I had paid more attention.

Elsa, I can relate so much! As far as I am concerned, grief doesn’t have stages but rather different forms. I never was angry or in denial, but the guilt was and still is the overwhelming form of my grief. I was lucky so far no one has said anything insensitive to me, at least of the people I have spent time with or let close to me since my husband passed. Which are only a couple really. My sister is just there for me, never probing anything I don’t want to talk about. She is smart enough to know that she can’t relate as she still has her husband alive and well, never spent time apart since high school, so no comparison whatsoever to my situation. My mom is herself a new widow so we just talk about our lost husbands, and about ourselves, cliches are not even necessary, they are for people who don’t know you or haven’t gone through anything like this. And it’s striking how different our grief is about my dad. I don’t have guilt about my dad, just profound love and sorrow. Her grief is mostly guilt and bouts of depression. Each relationship and circumstance is so different that to fit them in certain categories is just unfair.


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