Thursday, September 23, 2010

The Front Line

Upon widowhood, the people in your life immediately split into three factions.

The first, the DGI (Don't Get It) Masses. They seem to be the most prevalent but this is likely just a trick of the mind - they seem to crowd around you the most simply because they are so damn memorable. They often are too busy thinking of themselves or how they feel to bother being concerned with what comes out of their mouths. They pop up all over the place - at the grocery store, at work, at home, even at the bloody funeral.

*Said in a spooky whisper* I see DGI's. They are everywhere. And they don't even know they are dumb.

I won't get into all the entertainingly ignorant things said to me over the last six months - they are too many to count and most deserve their very own post. So lets move on.

The second faction, which is actually larger (instead of just seeming so) are the Indifferent Masses. These are the crowds of acquaintances, friends, neighbours, family, coworkers, and random strangers who are so moved to discomfort at the idea of death (particularly their own) that they avoid you at all costs.

These are the ones who have not bothered to call, email, or stop by even once in the last six months. 'It's not my place' they tell themselves. 'I don't know what to say' they insist. Many of them I have even begged to help me, suggesting words or actions that would bring comfort, but they have refused with their silence. In truth, they are merely scared and choose their distant comfort over the possibility of a few awkward moments. Or perhaps they have just forgotten that car accidents are not contagious.

They are perhaps the most hurtful because their distance shouts that they care so very little for me and what I am going through.

The third group is one that does not get nearly enough recognition. They are brave, they are uncomfortable, they are willing to risk a few tears and an ever-running nose. This tiny handful of friends, that my counsellor refers to as 'the front line', have been there every day. They are the ones who call even if they have nothing to say. The ones who stop by just to make sure I'm not shutting myself up and hiding from the world. The ones who give up their time and peace of mind to be sad with me when I am incapable of anything else or to cheer me up when I need it.

They run errands, take care of paperwork, drag me out of the house, make me laugh, let me act strangely, forgive my widda brain, and never once make me feel like I am anything but their Emily, loved just as much as I ever was. They do not judge my actions but merely support me in what makes me happy, knowing just how fragile that happiness is. They cannot possibly understand but do everything they can to try to. They see me at my worst and are genuinely happy in the moments when I am at my best, because they are the few who can truly recognize the difference.

I wish there was some way to recognize them or pay them back in full. In a world where indifference reigns supreme and people so easily slide in and out of your life, they are treasured gifts. And I am so grateful for each and every one of them.

So today I just wanted to say, hugs and love to all the 'front line' out there.

May you be blessed beyond measure.


  1. What about the people that try really hard but never seem to get it right? The ones that screw and say the wrong things and live too far away to visit or stop in? The ones that have no ill intentions or would never mulisciously (wrong spelling) hurt you or try to make things hard or more stressful than they already are? but it seems otherwise and can never really understand why it's taken the wrong way.
    I truly do care about you and there hasn't been a day or an hour that's gone by that I wonder how you are and wished I could hug you or listen or make you laugh or do something to eeze the pain you feel. I hope you know that no matter what happens and what decisions you make I am here.......loving you the best I know how no matter how little that may seem.

    Your sister,

  2. This post's only intent is to encourage you, Emily, not to try to defend anyone or to prove anyone wrong.

    I just want you to know that you are prayed for by people you don't ever see you or have very little opportunity to make personal contact with you. Sometimes, people are misconstrued as being invasive or nosey if they call someone in your situation whom they didn't really know or to whom they were not close before. (this is not an excuse, though)

    I still have Craig's picture up, reminding me of your missing lover and to pray for you every day. Just so you know, Emily, that some of your 'front line' people are just a little more invisible, not because we want to be, but for some of us, distance, or the fact that we have never been very well acquainted with you and/or don't see you very often, prevents us from being physically there for you on a regular basis.
    I'm not trying to 'defend' anyone or invalidate your point, because I know there are a lot of insensitive and indifferent people out there. Once it is their turn to be in your shoes, they will have a completely different attitude. I just wanted to encourage you by letting you know that you have a lot more people out there who are supporting you than of whom you are aware.

    I only pray that our prayers are effective and that you will receive strength for the day, both from the God from whom it came the day you had to read your VIS and from those who are close to you and have regular contact with you. I also pray that they will receive wisdom as to how to best support you.

    P.S. How is the job and house decision making going? - been praying for wisdom about that for you, too.

  3. This is a great post. I totally get everything you said... but you missed a group. The other widows out there. The ones that you could have met just once and already you feel like you have known them your whole life. They will get you immediately. they remind you that you are not alone in your pain and in your grief. You are walking beside us in the journey. We will take your hand... and please take ours. We understand.
    take care, dear.