By Alma Gill
My husband was killed in a car accident. We were high school sweethearts and married over 30 years. I would say we were very happy and secure. We were also best friends. I was so heartbroken at my husband’s death that I decided on a closed casket. His family wanted an open casket. I agreed to open during the viewing and closed at the start of the funeral. The decision was a comfort to his mother. During the visitation, his administrative assistant cried so loud and hard that all eyes were on her. When she went by to pay her last respects, she leaned over and kissed my husband. I think that was totally disrespectful. It’s been three months, and I want to contact her to find out what exactly was going on between her and my husband. What do you think?
B.M., Texas Dear B.M.,
Please accept my condolences. The death of a loved one affects your mind, heart and the core of your existence. When life takes you down this path, some days your heart literally aches from the pain and sorrow.
You’ll feel a variety of emotions; that’s a part of the grieving process. It’s understandable if you feel guilt, angry, confusion and fear all at the same time. This may become your new normal. That’s ok; it will take a great deal of courage and strength to labor through this tragedy.
Now, to answer your question: I think it’s important that you take time to recognize the different emotions you face. Remember, it isn’t necessary to react to every action. It seems to me that while still centered in grief, you’ve become consumed by something perceived in your fragile state of mind.
It’s not necessary for you to contact your husband’s AA and chastise her for grieving his death. She scheduled and planned his days, every weekday. A few of her responsibilities were to anticipate his professional needs and assemble information that allowed your husband to be the accomplished man in charge that he was. This doesn’t mean that they had some type of physical relationship. He could have been a great mentor to her, looked up to and admired.
With all due respect, you’re trying to cross a burning bridge when it’s unnecessary for you to get to the other side. I think you’re mad and angry over your husband’s sudden death, and you’re looking for someone onto whom you can transfer just a portion of your pain.
Don’t lose sight that the two of you were together for a long, long time and flourished in a fantastic relationship. Shower yourself in the blessing of having such a wonderful marriage for so many years. Fuel your spirit with joyful memories, daydreaming of the embarrassing and funny experiences you two shared.
For years to come, expect your grief to flow like a raging river, and other times like a running stream. Eventually, you’ll find your life raft. Hold on; don’t let go. Meanwhile, make an appointment to see your clergy or sit with a grief support group. I’ll be praying for you.