A lateral Xray demonstrating prevertebral soft...

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Not the emergency room staff or the policeman who they called.

“Your car doesn’t have a scratch on it,” he told her. “Are you sure it was a car accident that caused your injuries?”

That’s the question she’s been asked over and over. And over and over she’s lied.

L1 and 2 fractures, whiplash and a bruise that covers the soft tissue just above her wrist like a gladiator’s arm band.

Pneumonia set in. Oxygen rate plummeted to 60%. Her lips turned blue. And still she lied.

He hovered around the nurses’ station demanding that only he be allowed to make medical decision for her and that only he be contacted in case of emergency. The nurses’ suspicions confirmed.

He took her home on Tuesday when no one from the family offered to take her in. She cried, but still lied.

“We’ll see what happens, “Mom said.

“He’ll kill her next time is what will happen,” I replied. Or if she’s not that lucky, cripple her more than he has.

She won’t work again. The doctor told her it’s unlikely given the injury. She’s not quite 43.

No one believes her and I thinks she knows this, but she can’t quit or walk away because she’s submerged in the idiotic notion that love should be complicated or it’s not real. That the more awful – the more love. That men who treat you like crap just need more understanding, sympathy. That if you can just can’t a little more abuse – verbal, emotional, physically – he will finally see your worth and repay your persistence with the same level of love.

I’ve been reading about the plight of the woman dating the widowed man. It’s bad romance ala the Louisiana trailer park.

“I love you, but I’m not in love with you.” Translation? “I appreciate that you hang on and have sex with me but I am looking for someone who is not you and I will leave you for her the moment I find her. And I did warn you.”

Men who love you don’t hit you. They don’t make you cry. They don’t keep pictures of their dead wives on the night table, knowing that it creeps you out and makes you doubt yourself. They don’t play word games or mind games or take frequent “potty breaks” from you.

Men who love you don’t string you along. They don’t insist that “marriage is just a piece of paper and our love is beyond that” when they know you are only agreeing to keep from losing them. They don’t let their friends or family mistreat you and they defend your goodness and honor. They chose you in all situations

Men who love you show it. It’s in their tone and their eyes and their touch. Always.

She lied again. He took her home to that FEMA double wide reject off a cornfield in the middle of nowhere Wisconsin where no one will hear what happens next.

Which should be just about the time we arrive if history counts for anything.

Prometheus, by Gustave Moreau, tortured on Mou...

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“Let’s trade in all our judging for appreciating. Let’s lay down our righteousness and just be together.”
Ram Dass

Does being opinionated count as “judging”?

Yeah, I kinda thought so too. Damn you, Ram Dass, for your timely appearance in my reader. And for being so “yoga” to boot.

Sometimes being yoga is very inconvenient

Apparently, though I have not bothered to ascertain the facts by actually trudging across the webosphere to take a peek, the Women Who Love Widowers site took issue with my perspective on … probably everything, knowing how that sort of thing goes – as you, dear long time readers, know that I do.

A commenter on another blog ever so kindly gave me the heads up on the “brutal blasting”  directed at those of us who, um, take a different stance on dating, remarriage and the bereaved. Never mind that once having been bereaved gives us a bit more of a leg up on the whole subject, or that by flaming out in a predictably postal way, it sort of proves my point that the GOW’s are no less mired in grief myth than their counterparts on the widow sites.

But whatever, it comes as no great surprise someone takes issue. With me. About widowhood – the blog, the movie, the book, the EXPERIENCE.  Grieving myths exist for a reason. That being that the myth is so much easier to accommodate than the reality, which requires honesty, introspection and work. Myth is sexy. And who can fight that?

Back in the day on ye olde widda board, I entered into the arena with some truly hardened battle-axes as I naively sought to point out that attitude counts, resiliency matters and that grieving is really just another life experience. It isn’t personal. It’s doesn’t make you stronger, and it doesn’t come with entitlements attached. You aren’t allowed to wallow or wail at others’ expense. It’s simply not okay. Grief should never be used as an excuse for anything. Call it whatever floats your semantic boat, but please don’t make it a life long affliction – because the research doesn’t back that up. It just doesn’t. Irritating, I know. Who couldn’t use a tragedy with lifetime pity powers? Sadly, the seemingly arbitrary year cut off that society clings to has actual basis in fact.

It’s not meant to be a career. Shit happens. You deal and move on. Most people do not come out on the other side of a life-altering experience with enough distance to be able to counsel others with any degree of objectivity or integrity. It doesn’t make them self-serving for wanting to try but when your scope is too narrow to admit other perspectives, or the possibility of being wrong, then the probability of misleading others instead of helping them is high.

And it’s not like I knew any of this going in. I learned it as I went along, so I can assure you that mistakes were made. That’s just part of the adjustment, but so long as attitudes adjust – and allow for others to adjust as well – it’s all good.

So people are angry with me because they feel judged, but I’m just saying is all. If believing that grief is a factor in a man’s not making you and your relationship a priority works for you then it works. I wonder though why one lonely opinion in the blogosphere can call up vitriol in someone who feels secure in what they know.

Over the last four plus years, I have been somewhat regularly ridiculed for my belief that grief is doable and eventually over, and my disinclination to buy into the somewhat female view that dating and remarriage is a difficult path fraught with woe. That’s not true from my perspective or my actual experience, and over time I have simply stuck to the reality of what I know and who I am. I am even friends – virtually – with many widowed who believe in Kubler-Ross and secretly think that one day I will dissolve into a puddle of latent or delayed grief due to my serious denial issues – which is nonsense. There is no evidence to support any of those ideas. But we agree to disagree and we share our perspectives and experiences in the various online venues – where I am thought to be, if not completely atheist then certainly a heretic – and we remain friendly.

Not all widowed are hysterical turf warriors or unhinged loonies.

That was a joke.

Seriously, lighten up.

Mea culpa, I believe but don’t know for sure because I ducked Latin in high school because the nun who taught it was very scary, means “my fault”. It’s “yoga” of me to take the hit for this. Very good for my karma. So I will.

But I stand behind what I wrote. I won’t be harangued (pretty anonymously really as no one seems to want to discuss it with me here, which doesn’t surprise me at bit really) out of what I believe or who I am.

I am happy. I have never been so happy as anyone who knows me for real can attest. I know who I am, as Rose would say, and I am not bothered*.

*That’s a joke too. Really. Sense of humourous perspective is a good thing to cultivate.

We suffer from the need to skip the work and let someone else tell us how. But that never works. It’s a patch at best. Books, gurus, groups, ideologies, philosophies. They are starting places. It eventually all comes back around and down to you. Are you willing to push through?