I Will Never Move On

Last night, I was talking to a new widower friend of mine on the phone, when he suddenly shifted the topic of conversation and posed a huge challenge to me. Im not sure if he saw it as a challenge, but I did. He asked me to do him a favor. When I asked him what the favor was, he said, very matter-of-factly, as if it were the simplest of things to accomplish: “I want you to change the world.” Oh, IS THAT ALL??? Should I do this right in between my morning coffee and my teaching job? Or perhaps I could fit it in right after cleaning out the kitties litter box and my second load of laundry. Maybe I can multi-task and get this done while I simultaneously file my taxes. Sure. Change the world. I will get right on that. (Can you sense my sarcastic tone?)

In all honesty though, after I got off the phone and stopped to think about it some more, the challenge did peak my interest in many ways, and I was somewhat flattered that anyone would think that little ole’ me could ever be capable of something as huge as world-changing. This friend of mine finds me inspiring, mostly due to the honest way in which I write about grief. What he doesn’t know (until right now, when he reads this) is that him giving me that challenge has inspired ME. He has inspired me to try and do better. The fact that he believes I am capable of such a thing, is providing me with the fuel to light the fire that sits inside. I would have never thought to make it a goal to change the world all on my own, but now that it’s been planted in my head and heart by someone else, I might as well give it a shot, right? I heard a quote somewhere recently, that really stuck with me. It said: “Change the world, by changing your mind.” Or “change your mind, and change the world.” I can’t remember the order that it was said in, but it almost doesn’t matter, because it pretty much means the same thing. It all comes down to perception. The way that people see or perceive something, has to first change, in order for everything around it to also change.

So, with that in mind, I am going to write about something that truly needs to be written about. I am going to put it all out there, and hope that the message gets passed around as much as it needs to be passed around. I am going to count on my widowed community to help me share this very important and vital message, by sharing this blog piece with any person who has ever told you or implied to you in any way, shape, or form, that you need to “move on.” I am going to write the truth, and then wait for that truth to become contagious. Just as this false idea that people who lose their spouse or partner need to “move on” has spread like wild fire, this new message needs to cause a fire ten billion times bigger. This fire needs to put that old one to shame. It is time to make a change.

Any widowed person will tell you that we have heard time and time again, the endless parade of well-intentioned, thoughtless comments that come our way, within minutes of losing our life partners and the life we knew. These comments include such classics as: Everything happens for a reason. // Time heals all wounds. // God never gives you more than you can handle. / It was God’s Plan. // God Needed Another Angel. // I know exactly how you feel. // You need to get over this. That is not the full list of whoppers – just a few of my favorites. But what all of these comments have in common is this: they make us feel worse, not better. They make us feel like our emotions aren’t real or don’t matter, because they are dismissive and they don’t validate what we are actually going through. The truth of the matter is, nobody could ever know what we are going through or what this IS, until they themselves have gone through it. Most people want to help. Unfortunately, most people are pretty clueless as to how their words can affect us, and most people don’t stop and think about just how insensitive these cliches can feel, when heard by someone who is in tremendous and very real pain. On top of all that, we, the ones who are in the tremendous pain, are told over and over again to just put up with these thoughtless comments. We are told that people are “only trying to help”, or that “they don’t know what to say”, and we should smile and nod and be grateful that they care. I’m sorry that people don’t know what to say. But I also feel like it’s time to change the conversation from “they don’t know what to say” to “let’s teach them what is not so good to say, so that we can stop using that as a convenient excuse to say hurtful and unhelpful things.” As the brilliantly smart and world-changing Maya Angelou famously said: “When you know better, you do better.” I think it’s time we do better.

So let us begin with the King of all Insensitive Comments: “You Need to Move On.” “It’s time you moved on.” Or any other of the many variations that include the phrase and the idea of “moving on.” Of all the many comments that are said to widowed people, this is by far the most common one, and also the most harmful. The reason it is so harmful is that this message is implanted into the widowed person’s heart and soul, over and over again, at EVERY stage of their grieving process, by many different people. We begin to hear this “move on” mentality on the very first day that our person dies. Just hours after my husband’s sudden death, I was informed that making the decision of whether or not to donate his organs would help me to “move on.” Then, at his funeral, I was told that the services and the wake would all help me to “find closure and move on.” A week later, when I was being held captive in the four walls that used to be our home, I was being told in condescending voices that it was “time to donate some of his clothing, so that you can start to move on.” Four and a half years later, and people are still beating me over the head with their chants of moving on. “Why aren’t you dating anyone yet? You need to move on.” “Why are you still going to that Widow Camp? Don’t you think it’s time to move on from that?” “Why are you still talking to his family? He is dead. You aren’t his wife anymore. So they aren’t your family anymore.” (Yes, someone actually said this to me. Really.)

These awful ideas are repeated into our souls, as if stamped onto our foreheads by people who have no idea of what they speak, and this becomes harmful. Because we start to believe it. We start to believe that there is something wrong with us for NOT wanting to forget about our person. We start to think that maybe we are doing this all wrong, and maybe we are weak and stupid and not well, because we still love them and we don’t want to place them on a shelf in our past, to collect dust forever. We start to very slowly lose pieces of ourselves, and unwillingly lean into what society is telling us instead. All of this is extremely harmful to our souls. Why?

Because none of it is real.

Because it doesn’t exist.

Let me say this as simply as possible:

There is NO SUCH THING as moving on.

It’s a lie.

It’s a fairy-tale concept, invented by those who don’t know what to say.

It is invented out of ignorance and fear.

They want you to move on, so that they can feel more comfortable with your presence.

If we can all just pretend that this scary death thing never actually happened, then it would all simply go away.

Except it doesn’t ever go away. Not for you. Not for the person living inside of it. It becomes you, and you become it, and you become wrapped up in each other. Death and life become one, and everything is different forever. The death of a spouse or partner is different than other losses, in the sense that it literally changes every single thing in your world going forward. When your spouse dies, the way you eat changes. The way you watch TV changes. Your friend circle changes (or disappears entirely.) Your family dynamic/life changes (or disappears entirely). Your financial status changes. Your job situation changes. It effects your self-worth. Your self-esteem. Your confidence. Your rhythms. The way you breathe. Your mentality. Your brain function. (Ever heard the term ‘widow brain?’ If you don’t know what that is, count yourself as very lucky.) Your physical body. Your hobbies and interests. Your sense of security. Your sense of humor. Your sense of womanhood or manhood. EVERY. SINGLE. THING. CHANGES. You are handed a new life that you never asked for and that you don’t particularly want. It is the hardest, most gut-wrenching, horrific, life-altering of things to live with.

To top it all off, people who still have their partners beside them, treat you differently. People like to think that they suddenly know what is best for you. People treat you like you are a child who cannot make decisions. They want to treat it as if it were maybe a divorce instead of a death. They want you to put that person in your past, like some “ex” lover or some regretful mistake. These insinuations are beyond hurtful to the widowed person, who is still and always will be very much in love with their person who died. And so, what ends up happening, most times, is that the widowed person feels more and more alone as the months and years go by, until eventually, they just stop talking to their friends about their loss altogether. Their friends and family then wrongly assume that because they don’t talk about it anymore, they must be “over it”, and therefore, everything is fine. Meanwhile, the widowed person continues to suffer in silence and mounting isolation. For us, it is a very scary place to be. And this is how the cycle of unhealthy perceptions of grief and death continues.

In the past four and a half years since my husband died, I have become friends, both online and in-person, with a lot of widowed people. We help each other. We call each other family. We are the family that you gain, when the family you knew is gone. We talk to one another about the pain and the heartbreak, and the changes and the shifts, and the complexities of life after death. A huge part of the reason I am writing this blog today, is that I have seen countless upon countless posts in the closed and private widowed groups, where a widowed person has been forced to hear from some family member, friend, or acquaintance, some form of “you need to move on.”

The way they say it comes in many forms. One widow parent who I know, was judged and lectured by her family, because she dared to share memories with her own children about her husband /their father. The family told her that she shouldn’t do that because she wasn’t helping her children to “move on from him. ” They told her it was not healthy for them to be “sad” over his death. Another friend was offered money by a relative, for every picture he took down from his nightstand, of his deceased wife. Another friend was pushed into a new relationship before she was ready, because her buddies thought she should “get out there again and start dating.” Another friend was judged because she still goes to the cemetery often, to visit with her husband. On and on the judgments come, each one breaking my heart more than the one before it. And while I cannot stop these people from giving their clueless and harmful advice, I can hope that maybe some of them are reading this somehow, and I can ask them to do me a favor.

I can ask them to ask themselves what kind of message do they think they are sending to their widowed friend or family member, with this type of “move on” mentality? Really. If you are reading this now, I would like for you to think about that for a minute. By telling a widowed mom or parent that they shouldn’t share stories with their children about their dad, isn’t that sending a message that their dad’s life meant nothing? Isn’t that sending a message that they should simply forget he was and IS their father – just pretend he never existed? And what about the widow or widower who goes to their spouse’s grave-site – whether its on special anniversary days, or a couple times per week? What message does it send to tell them to stop going there? Isn’t that like telling them their love didn’t matter? Isnt that like implying that erasing them from their hearts is better than honoring and remembering them with love? Why on earth are we shaming people for loving others eternally? Why are we making them feel as if that is not normal, when in fact, it is not only normal, but probably the most beautiful thing in the world. When a celebrity dies, we gather on social media and we share their pictures, their art, their music, their talents. We celebrate them and remember them, and we say “Hey, remember when he did that one film? That was a classic that will last until the end of time.” Yet, when the person who was the center of our universe dies, and we dare post a picture of them or speak of them a few months or years after their death, we are looked at with judging eyes. We are given pity and lectures about how “stuck” we are, and we are made to feel as if it is very, very bad what we are doing. This is so wrong, and so backwards. We should not have to shamefully love our people. The entire message of the move-on mentality, seems to be this: forget about them. Its in the past. Pretend it never happened.

But here’s the thing. That is not possible. You cannot forget love. You cannot pretend it away. The death of the person you love, only ends a life. It does NOT end a relationship. The truth is, LOVE is the only thing that we get to keep forever. Love is the only thing that we can take with us. Love is the only thing that never, ever dies. To take that away from someone, is not only unhealthy – it is cruel.

I will never move on from my husband. I will never NOT love my husband who died. I will never leave him in my past, like some forgotten old shoe I never threw away. This applies forever. Even if I should fall in love again. Even if I should marry again. Even if I should live every dream that I have ever dreamed possible. Even when I am old and gray and ancient, should I have the honor of being allowed to live that long. Even then. I will NEVER not be connected to my husband. He lives within me now. Whatever I do, wherever I go, I carry him with me. He is a piece of my very soul. There is no moving on.

Here is what I WILL do:

I will live the biggest and brightest and most colorful life that I can, because my husband does not have that choice. I will cling to every new joy that I feel in this life, because I am still alive to feel it. I will honor the life and the love that my husband and I shared, by being the person that he fell in love with. I will always find ways to keep remembering him and sharing his story with the world, because that is my duty and my HONOR to do as his wife, and his widow; and because sharing their story is how we keep them alive and relevant. I will continue to grow and to learn and to hurt and to feel and to fear and to fly. I will scream when I need to, cry when I have to, and laugh as much as my body can handle. I will tell all the people that I love, that I truly love them, and I will make sure they know this as often as possible. I will leave behind something of importance in this life, something of value, that someone , someday, can read or look at or see or feel, and it will make them think in a different way. I will love harder than I have ever loved before, and I wont feel guilty for loving again, because I will know in my heart that my husband’s love is inside every love I have going forward. I will choose to believe that he is somehow still here with me, and I wont question or doubt all the many times that I feel him. I will embrace his energy inside the music, and I will dance to the rhythms of our forever connected hearts. I will speak his name whenever I want to, and I will do this proudly, because that is what he deserves. That is what we ALL deserve – to not be forgotten, and to be spoken of with laughter and joy and remembrance, by those that will always love us. I will move INTO my future, step into my life, and I will carry him with me at every turn. I will take risks, and be afraid to fail, but go for it anyway, because I know that in the end, none of us get out alive. I will know that life is terrifying and chaotic and unfair and filled with sorrow and pain, but also exhilarating and wonderful and surprising and incredible, and a beautiful gift that keeps unwrapping, each and every time I make the decision to get out of bed. I will promise to do all of these things and more, and if I’m very lucky, maybe I can even change the world.

And I will never, ever move on.

If you enjoyed this post, please consider leaving a comment or subscribing to the RSS feed to have future articles delivered to your feed reader.

62 thoughts on “I Will Never Move On

  1. I’ve always known deep down you are going to change the world, or something. I’m glad someone has started a fire inside of you so maybe now YOU can see what we all do. Anything you need, I’ll be here behind you cheering you along the way. You got this love. And when you finish your book, and you go huge, I’ll be sure to make sure you have a cupcake party. I love you!

  2. Yes. I have been trying to ‘educate’ people about this. They need to be told, and this needs to be shared with everyone!

  3. It is so true what you say here. It takes someone who has gone through it able to understand the grief and pain your going through. As much as you live your daily life we didn’t ask for this new one, but we have to deal with it.

  4. Thank you for writing this for me to read it is all so true . An I can say that I have the most wonderful family an friends Cuz it will be two yrs March 8 2016 that I lose the part of my life I wasn’t ready too lose an not one of my family r friends have never once told me it’s time to move on Cuz they all know that’s not going to be easy for me. He is apart of my everyday life there no way i’ll ever forget him. Thank you!

  5. I know how you feel. Everything you’ve said is so true. I lost my husband almost 2 years ago and when someone asks me why I’m sad and I tell them it’s because I miss him – well they don’t get it. I can’t pretend that the best person, my best friend, my first love, the best husband ever, no longer exists. He exists. He exists. I will never, ever move on. To me that would be denying who he was and what he meant to me. I hope this makes sense, I’m rambling.

  6. awesome post… simply awesome… found this shared in the facebook group “Widows 55+”, and your words are what i type, over and over… i am not here to make another person comfortable. i am here to celebrate the time i have left on this orb… and to be “the rememberer”.

  7. Yay yay yay! You have spoken the words that fill my soul!! My husband passed 6 months today and to think of ever moving in is totally not in my realm of thought at this point and it never will be!! Thank you so much !!!! My husband is engrained in my heart, soul and spirit and I shall carry him with me all the days of my life! Thank u again it warmed my heart!

  8. I lost my wife 2 months short of 59 years of a lasting love story,I was never told to “move on” and I feel blessed because it’s impossible to move on.I think of my beloved wife every single day,how can you move on from the most lmportant loving person that you shared your life with.I applaud all of you that have shared your heart.warming innermost feelings on this site.

  9. Kelly, this was so perfectly and beautifully written. You are an amazing writer. This was such a special post because you were able to put into words what countless widows and widower feel and think, but don’t know how to express. I can see so many people printing this out or emailing it to their loved one’s. I think I might even do it, and say “Here, read this. Really read it and let it sink in. This is how I feel. These are the thoughts and feelings I have, and this is exactly how you make me feel when you say things like what are mentioned in this blog. And guess what? I am NOT the only one who feels like this. I am not weird for not having ‘moved on’ and I am not wrong for having a ‘Daddy’ shelf in my room, displaying my husband’s ashes, a picture of him, his wallet, his favorite hat, our wedding rings and even his diabetes kit, so my children have a reminder of him. So everytime they look at it they know, ‘I am not an orphan. I have a dad. He was a great dad. He lives in heaven now, but he loved me when he was alive and he loves me now that he’s dead”.

    Thank you for writing this. It made me feel good, nornal, inspired, and I can’t wait to read some more of your blogs, and maybe even start my own. I am a writer too, but my writing is kept in a journal, and is for my eyes only. But you may have just gave me the courage to share, share in the hopes that maybe I can help or inspire someone, the way you helped and inspired me.

    Rock on Kelly.


  10. Wow! This was an amazing piece. You are right, people don’t know what to say so they shouldn’t say anything at all. The best thing to do is just be there for the grieving, to listen, share memories when they want to share, and let them know your loved one is always with you. I lost my dad 2 1/2 years ago. He was my best friend. I will never move on. There isn’t such a thing as moving on. I do honor him each day however by being the best I can be. I have a warm feeling in my heart knowing he will always be with me, and this makes me smile.
    I also have miscarried years back and similar situation where people don’t think before they speak. Well, I’ve heard hurtful comments such as, “oh you’ll have other children, you’ll move on in a couple of months, when are you going to start trying again”. The list goes on.
    My heart goes out to you. You are doing the right thing by taking the negative of what people say and turning it into a positive by teaching ignorant people how to talk with the grieving. I hope this goes beyond this blog bc it is important for all to read, hear, learn. God Bless!!

  11. Kelley, this is one of you most heartfelt posts! I just want you to know that we speak of Don often and whenever we have the chance..how could we not..he was and still is a man that was a positive influence in all our lives and a man who made our daughter so happy. We must all “carry on” without him but will “carry on” with his love and memory as we live each day we are granted. Every new person we meet will eventually know Don and the kind, kind person he was, who, for a very unfair short time he was with us, gave us wonderful memories that will stay in our hearts and shared with others for our lifetime. Love you!!!

    • Thank you for telling me that, mom. It is VERY important to me that he is never forgotten about, and he will ALWAYS be a part of me. Always. And even though he had his own family technically, WE were his family, and he loved you all so, so much.

  12. Tomorrow is one year since my husband died. I am still very much in live with him and cannot belueve it has been a year. I could never imagine a life without hom and yet here I am. Starting over and not by choice, very few understand the level of sorrow we experience. Thank you for stating this so beautifully

    • I know just how you feel Debby Leighty. I lost my wife just over a year ago and as i am not very good with words i echo your thought and your words at what we have just read. Thank you.

  13. This is all so true Kelley Lynn. Can’t wait to see your presentation again in San
    Diego in June. I’ll try to remember to bring the credit card of my wife’s that won’t die, but excuse me if I don’t because I might have widow brain. See you then.

  14. Kelly,
    Thank You for “Changing the World” I have been widowed for 21 years, I am just now getting into possibly dating for first time sine I lost my Husband. I am on the private widow page, and I look forward to keeping in touch and building a new friendship. Everything you wrote is the truth, and you were smart enough to bring it to the front of the line. I did more then half of what you are talking about especially sitting at home in seclusion with my Son who at the time was 7 yrs old when he lost his father.
    Other friendly reminder that I would like to bring to your attention especially with young children, is this. We grieve as a wife, our children grieve loss of Dad, parents grieve loss of children, so therefore not only does your blog apply to widows it applies to all family members.

    • ABsolutely. I can only write from my personal experience though, and my husband died before we could have kids together, so for me personally, its just ME, and he was my entire family. But of course – it applies to all family.

  15. I am coming up on 3 years since I lost my husband and i have been hurt over and over by the “well meaning” comments of people who just don’t understand. Thank you so much for expressing so eloquently what this feels like. I for one will carry my love for him in my heart forever and I would never want to lose that! I will not be moving on.

  16. Kelley, you have so many talents, but I have to say I think perhaps your greatest gift is you ability to express so many different feelings with your words. This is a beautiful piece, so warm, loving, helpful. Our Don lives on through your expression of endless love and understanding. Keep writing love, and thank you.

  17. Beautiful thoughts and writing Kelley. I hope the message spreads far and wide. It reminded me of this saying from sages past: “Whenever love depends upon some material cause, with the passing away of that cause, the love too passes away; but if it be not dependent upon such a cause, it will not pass away forever.” In other words, real love is forever. We keep loving. We don’t “move on”. Should I someday have to deal with this kind of loss, I will remember this blog, I’m sure.

    • Thats the thing, Michael. EVERYONE will have to deal with this kind of loss one day. Anyone who loves someone else – one of you will die first. Humans die. We can either shut ourselves off from love and live in fear of death, or keep loving and loving even harder, knowing that our time is limited. I love the quote, by the way. Thank you!

  18. The problem is…that when they’re not telling you to “move on,” “get over it, “snap out of it,” they’re simply avoiding you. You’re not “fun” anymore.

    But thank you for putting some of what I’ve felt and said to others into words. I’m still married to my husband, my best friend, my hero, the better part of me. I always will be.

    I still just want to go with him. Were it not for the animals that are our “fur children,” I’d have followed him in literally a heartbeat.

    • GAil I had those thoughts I just wanted to go be with him but we have animals and a daughter who is 20 but would be devastated to lose me too. So I made that decision quickly not to hurry along my time but to wait for God’s time.

  19. I have always been baffled as to why no one ever tells us to forget our parents, grandparents, siblings or any other departed loved one, but when it comes to our spouses they almost demand that we forget them. Why? No other person in my life has ever meant more to me than my Mike. I spent 24 years with him and I’ll be damned if I will ever relegate him to nothing more than a story to tell at the holidays.He has been gone for four and a half years. I loved him then, I love him still. Thank you for speaking out on this. I’ve just learned to ignore the noise and feel what I want.

  20. Kelley…you ROCK!!!! Thank you for putting into words what is in our heart…we WILL indeed never forget them, and we WILL keep their memory “out there.” It’s true, they ARE still with us, still surround us with their live…always.

  21. Thank you for your beautifully written, thoughtful article. In the last year, five beautiful women I am close to lost their husbands. They range in age from 37 to 72, each one enduring unimaginable pain and changes with their loss. One of them posted your article on FB and I’m so glad for it.

    Each one of those women is, in her own way, trying to keep her husband’s memory alive. One, in particular, is struggling because her family insists she “get involved in a project” and stop focusing on losing her mate. Yes, they did say that. Focus on something else other than your mate of 40 years!

    I’m only now understanding how important, and courageous, it is for these women to keep those memories alive. I have my husband (& my dog!) and I can’t, no matter how hard I try, understand what these amazing women deal with day after day, but your blog is shining a light into those murky areas and I am thankful to have read it.

    • Julie, thank YOU for being the kind of friend that every single widowed person dreams of having. nonjudgmental. Caring. Empathetic. THAT is what we need. Thank you for reading this.

      • I just heard from one of those brave women that she read the whole article I sent her and is now reading your blogs too, and how it validates what she’s been feeling all along. So, thanks again Kelley. I love how we can reach out and connect to help each other. Take care!

  22. Thank you for writing this, it will resonate with so many. A recently widowed friend posted a link to this blog post on her Facebook page and I am so glad to read it – the first time I have seen your blog. I lost my husband 6 years ago and would have found your insights to be a great source of support had the blog existed then. I agree that we never move on – life marches on relentlessley and we learn to live with our circumstances. Too often this is interpreted by others as ‘moving on’, but it is just what we have to do. I could write so much but will leave it there and just say thank you for your bravery and drive to write pieces like this for the rest of us to lean on and learn from xx

  23. Thank you.
    I am not a widow, but that doesn’t matter. The death of a loved one, EVERY loved one matters and should never be treated like it is trivial. Memories are all that we have sometimes, and they are the most precious jewels in our hearts.
    Trying to make someone forget a loved one is like cutting part of them away and telling them to “Forget it! It will heal.” Yes, you can function without a finger, a hand, a foot, an eye, but your life is Forever changed and you have to learn to deal with day to day things and how to function without that piece of you that you have come to count on. You CAN function, but it’s harder and the memories of how it was before are ever present.
    It’s the same when you lose a part of Your LIFE. Whether a Parent, a child, a sibling, a Spouse (who is often a best friend and confidant), or anyone who is dear to you, you’ve lost a part of you that you simply can not replace or “regrow”. You learn to live with the loss, you learn to function, but you NEVER EVER forget.
    There is no such thing as “moving on”.

  24. My friend Rachel forwarded me here. Thanks for the thoughtful and self respecting words. Nobody has yet asked me to move on, and now it’s been a year since losing my wife, the center of my universe for over 30 years. You’re so on target – every single thing has changed, and most people don’t get that. In all fairness to the well-wishers who speak such hurtful things, I like to think that if I were ever to ask someone to move on, I would be asking them to not let their memories of their previous life paralyze them, leaving them unable to function in today’s world. That is the only thing that I wish I could move on from.

  25. What does “move on” really mean anyway? To me, it’s one of those psychobabble phrases that sounds deep on the surface, but has no meaning. All I can think of it meaning is that I should forget that my Elaine ever existed. I know that those that haven’t been through it don’t know what it’s like, and I can’t fault them for that. There was a time that I didn’t know what it’s like, and I wish I still didn’t. So they feel they have to say something, and in their ignorance, they say something stupid, or not helpful, or even hurtful, or maybe all three. The ones I remember the most are not the ones that said something to help (I don’t even know if that’s possible) but the ones that DID something to help. I knew within minutes of my Elaine’s death that the “if you need anything just ask” people didn’t mean it. The one that invited me to lunch. The ones that shared stories with me about her, no matter how small or insignificant they may have seemed, those stories were like gold to me. The one that greeted me enthusiastically and with many kisses when I showed up to her birthday party. I told her “I don’t know whether to laugh or cry.” She answered “Do both!” Those are the people I will always remember, and that’s saying something since I was in such a fog for so long I don’t remember much from that time. Nobody really has to say anything. Just be there.
    Thank you for a well written and very insightful article.

  26. No one wants to see anyone they love suffering or in pain. We never forgot the ones we love and lose. We honor them with how we live our lives when they are no longer with us. Moving on or continuing our lives does not mean forgetting someone existed or acting like we are not effected.

  27. omg … I thought I was reading this about myself. This IS my story too. Feb 16 was 16 years. I so remember vividly talking about our retirement years and its now around the corner. I remember our plans, our joy,our dreams. Your last paragraph *I will live the biggest and brightest and most colorful life that I can, because my husband does not have that choice. I will cling to every new joy that I feel in this life, because I am still alive to feel it. I will honor the life and the love that my husband and I shared, by being the person that he fell in love with. I will always find ways to keep remembering him and sharing his story with the world, because that is my duty and my HONOR..* resonates with me. Whatever I do, wherever I go he’s with me. How would he do this, what would he do and at times giggling at my thoughts and taking chances. Thank you for writing this article.

  28. I’ve owned this particular t-shirt going on ten years now, and all I can say is, “Brava!” You may not have moved on, but you *have moved forward and reinvented yourself… as we all should, in order to assimilate our loss/grief. Not everyone does even that much. It takes tremendous courage and effort.

  29. Thank you from the bottom of my heart! Every feeling in my soul is in this blog! I have felt so alone for over a year because I’m not grieving how others “think” I should. Your article SHOWS us that we are not alone and our grief is not “wrong”. Thank you, thank you, thank you.

  30. I thank God for your boldness as people need to understand when they are not helping a grieving heart with insensitive comments such as ‘you need to move,’ or ‘you just shouldn’t be in this much pain.’ What’s funny is I just wrote a blog post about this very issue on my blog Mourning2Morning. Post called Understanding My Journey. You can visit at http://www.mourning2morning.com I added this poem to my blog post and I would love to share with these individuals on this group discussion:
    Don’t tell me that you understand,

    Don’t tell me that you know,

    Don’t tell me that I will survive,

    How I will surely grow.

    Don’t tell me this is just a test,

    That I am truly blessed,

    That I am chosen for this task,

    Apart from all the rest.

    Don’t come at me with answers

    That can only come from me,

    Don’t tell me how my grief will pass…

    That I shall soon be free.

    Don’t stand in pious judgment

    Of the bonds I must untie.

    Don’t tell me how to suffer,

    And don’t tell me how to cry.

    My life is filled with selfishness,

    My pain is all I see,

    But I need you , and I need your love…


    Accept me in my ups and downs,

    I need someone to share,

    Just hold my hand and let me cry,

    And say, “My friend, I care.”

    J. Hendel-Author

  31. A wonderful article, except you are wrong about one thing– people do ask those who’ve lost children and parents to “move on” as well. A patient of mine recently lost her full term baby for reasons we do not know. She knew her daughters rhythms and motions, imagined her temperament and likes, planed for her future. People have told her the same things–get over it, have another, move on. People’s well-intended but tone-deaf remarks are shared by all who grieve.

    • Thank you Michelle for letting me know that. I do realize everyone gets these comments, it just always seems like when its a partner/husband/wife that dies, people want to treat it like a break-up or divorce, and want you to put them in your past – which I will never do – whereas with a child or parent etc, people are sometimes a bit more empathetic . bu you are right – all who grieve have to listen to insensitivity from the outside world.

  32. This is the best article I have ever seen, it says what I always wanted to say. Thank you. On 3/ 9/ 16 is the 10th anniversary of my beloved husbands death and I still have the same pain I had 10 years ago.

  33. Thank you for this beautiful blog. I have not lost my husband to death, but due to divorce. I know it’s not the same, but it’s very similar, in my case. There was so much beauty in our life, that can’t and won’t just be cast aside. Yes, grieving has no time limit and the love, memories and beauty will continue forever! THANK YOU for changing My World! I wish you all that you dream of and more.

  34. A friend of mine sent this to me. My husband died June 8, 2013. I blogged about how he became sick, then after he was gone. I blogged about my journey (www.writefromhere.com) into the dark depths of self regret, guilt, agony and depression. Now I am happier, but i will never forget him.

    No one told me to “move on,” but I was told “isn’t it time to take off your wedding ring?” and “you should start dating again,” and the best one “you need to put him in a jar and put his memory on a shelf,” ironically he was buried not cremated and how can you do that anyway?

    It’s almost three years since he left (how else do you explain it) and I feel uncomfortable sharing it with too many people. I’ve met a man and I care about him. I am ready to move on in a direction that is healthier for me, but I will never forget my husband. Thank you for your words. They are from the gut and true and what I feel (particularly the last paragraph). I wish you well and happiness, but please don’t ever forget.

  35. 3 years ago today my beloved Todd passed. Where has time gone, everyday is such torture! I thought I was alone in how I feel, then I read your blog……. I am still so broken and lost.

  36. Thank you for writing this. On March 9-16 it will be 10 years since my beloved husband , my soulmate Joe passed away. All the while when he was fighting cancer i thought by some miracle he would be cured, I did not hope he would be cured, I THOUGHT he would be cured. Even when the doctor told us he would have 2 weeks to live, I thought he would be healed. How could he not be? I could not live with out him, I could not breath with out him, I could not function with out him!.So when he did pass away , it was not real yet, I could not grip it. After 2 weeks when everyone was gone, I woke up on the couch where I had slept for 1 year, because my husband had to sleep on the recliner, anyway I woke up and it hit me: He is gone, the love of my life is gone. I had a panic attack and then went in to the kitchen and smashed dishes. I cried and I screamed. From that day on I spiraled in to this dark place that I thought I would never come out off.For a couple of weeks all I wanted to do is sleep, the pain was too much and when you sleep you dont feel pain. I did not want to see anyone because they would all tell me that it was going to be alright some day. No,no it was never going to be alright.! My sons girlfriend found me in bed one time crying my heart out. She was a hospice nurse, she dragged me, yes dragged me to griev counseling. Slowly I saw there were other people like me, I was not he only one who felt like this. And now I still love and miss my Joe, I dont want another man. I want my Joe. I still feel broken and have times I cry. But I can function better, but I dont think that people who have not gone through this will ever understand. I go out with my friends to dinner or movie and I have a good time. But I dont think I will ever be whole again.

  37. I have felt so alone. I was searching for the right group online where I could be real and hear others who are real. I could have wrote these very words myself. I am a writer but you wrote my heart, my mind, my soul in a way that I cannot pen yet. I need to write but I have hit a wall. I am sad right now had a fairly good day and then just hit a wall. Billy died suddenly in his sleep on November 3 , 2015 no notice. I miss him so much, we were best friends and had a story book romance how God brought us back together after a one night stand when I was 15 which produced our 45 year old daughter who was placed for adoption. We remarried when she was 17 after a whirlwind romance. I want to write the story but I do not know if I can. I am so thankful I found this blog and the widows group. My membership is pending.

  38. How can I become a member, I totaly like this group, it knows just how I feel. I can not say to people how I feel, they think I should have moved on alreasy. It gas been 10 years since my beloved husband Joe died, I still mourn, I still hurt.

Leave a Reply