Why Her?

In grief, many of us ask ourselves: Why me? Why did this have to happen to me? It’s a natural part of the grieving process to feel as if we have been singled out and made to suffer. As we meet other widows and widowers and hear their tragic tales of love and loss we (perhaps) answer our own question with: Why not me? None of us – even widows – are immune from life’s cruel twists and turns. I know widows who have lost more than one spouse, who have faced new bereavements whilst still grieving past losses, who are battling life-limiting illnesses. But yesterday I heard news of a widow for whom I thought: Why did it have to happen to her?

One of the members of a bereavement group I am in – Widowed and Young – has lost a much-longed for baby. Her child was full-term, but unborn. I don’t personally know her, but I have followed her journey through grief and news of her pregnancy. On the 4th April and approaching the birth, she posted that she was frightened that her happiness and hopes for the future could be snatched away from her again. Others who are parents consoled her that all expectant mothers feel the same, that she had nothing to worry about, that everything would be fine. Two days later, her baby was dead.

Being a widow isn’t an insurance policy for future happiness.

Sometimes it should be.


Image by Sarah Wilkins


Reply April 11, 2015

That was the one question that sometimes tormented me. Why Her?
She was a better and kinder person that I will ever be and most certainly did not deserve the cruel fate of a rare and aggressive cancer. But, shit happened, as they say.
"Hope for the best, prepare for the worst" was our motto during her illness. Neither really included many thoughts about the future since it was very much one minute, one hour and one day at a time.
My solution to the issues of future happiness is not to have too many expectations. This may sound depressing and miserable but I view it more as simple pragmatics. It is an insurance policy with low premiums. My almost sub-conscious assessment seems to have calculated some qualitative aspects. Risk (what you insure against) is usually based on 2 things - likelihood of something happening and the effects (or affects?) of such an occurrence. Having low expectations is therefore an advantage.

Planet Grief
Reply April 11, 2015

ChrisJ: I know what you mean. JS used to 'accuse' me of always expecting the worst, but I used to say that it meant I could go through life constantly delighted that things worked out far better than I imagined. Usually.

Your statement that your wife was a better person that you will ever be struck a chord. When I was sitting in front of Doktor R (remember her?) I was crying and telling her about my friend, Karen, who died a dreadful death of melanoma tragically young. I said to her that Karen was everything I wasn't and it was so unfair that she died and I was alive. Of course Dok R picked up on this and tried to run with it, but I wasn't going to be drawn in to any deep psychological games. I simply meant that how good someone was, how kind and gentle and selfless bore no reflection to the hand they were dealt in the lottery of life.

    Reply April 11, 2015

    Yes to all.
    (Although I HAD to search and remind myself about Doktor R.)

      Planet Grief
      Reply April 14, 2015

      How could anyone forget Doktor R?! Seriously, I have a lot more time for Doktor R now than I did then. She wasn't the right fit for me, but in her own way she was part of the process I had to go through to get where I am now. In other words, she's someone else I can blame!

        Reply April 15, 2015

        I did not forget but I needed a reminder on some of the details. Part of the process is perception. Dr R. and the Bdy-Wdy would have made their very crass and clumsy contributions.
        I kept away from all counsellors and found more consolation within philosophy rather than psychology.