Social expectations surrounding Widowhood & Grief

Hi loves! I hope everyone is having a good week so far. I’m slammed packed with doctors appointments this week but I thought today would be a great day to talk about something most people don’t talk about. Social expectations surrounding widowhood and grief, especially for young and unmarried widows like myself. 

Let’s start off with this.. Doka (1989) defined the social rules of grieving as “A set of norms that attempt to determine who, when, where, how, how long, and for whom people should grieve”. 

It seems to me that to this day, people go off of these social rules of grieving “norms” when coming into contact with or having a conversation with somebody who is grieving. Especially for widows and undoubtedly, unmarried widows. I find that odd considering we have all lost someone close to us, whether it be a significant other, a parent, a sibling, a grandparent or a child. Since we have all lost someone close to us, you would think people would know that every grief journey is unique to that person and that person only! There is no right or wrong way to grieve! Every loss and every grief journey is different based on the person and their relationship to the departed and there shouldn’t be social rules of grieving “norms” given that no grief experience is the same.

I’m sure if everyone put their thinking caps on and used common sense, they would realize and see that their grief journey with whatever loss they’ve experienced, was not the same as Joe or Nancy down the block. That goes for somebody who lost their spouse, partner or significant other. Unless you have lost your significant other, you have no earthy idea the pain or grief we are experiencing and feeling on a daily basis which is why on a side note I feel like the response “I know how you feel” or “I know what your going through” from someone who has NOT lost their significant other is honestly quite insensitive. Just like if someone lost their child, I would never in a million years say “I know how you feel” because I sure as hell don’t!!

On the topic of every grief journey being different, everybody experiencing grief differently and the most common responses, something I found that I love was that “You cant dictate how a person feels”. This is a great statement for anybody grieving. I think so many people expect grief to be a one size fits all experience which I think in turn, leads people to expect people to feel a certain way during their grieving process, most likely the way they felt during their grieving process as if their experience and grief journey should look like theirs. I think it all kind of comes back to the same thing. Every loss, every grief journey for every single person out their is different which means every single person out there is going to experience different feelings and emotions. I don’t think there should be a “norm” for grief, it makes it seem like there are certain things that are and aren’t okay and certain perimeters for grief and I think that doesn’t make any sense at all considering every loss is different, in every way possible.

Something funny I found in one of my favorite books for widows was that people believe that you either are or should be wearing a permanent black veil🤣🤣🤣 I swear Carole Brody Fleet is hilarious the entire book!! You can get a copy of her Widows Wear Stilettos book on Amazon right here and if you’d like you can also check out my Grieving over the holidays, especially the firsts… blog post where I talk more about her book and how it has changed my life and grief journey. There are so many things in her book that helped me, some things that I could never do justice talking about on here and plenty of good and much needed laughs. If you want a little sneak peek into her book before getting yourself a copy, feel free to read my blog post I mentioned above! I do think she is correct in that statement that basically once our significant other has passed people look at us like we shouldn’t go dating other people, like we have to sit here with a shrine and have a pity party until it’s our time.. Which is not the case! It may take time to get to a place where you think about dating or there may be some who would prefer to not date again. Either way, whatever you choose is okay! It is your journey and you get to decide for yourself, don’t let anyone tell you any different!! Me personally, I have no interest in dating or finding someone else right now and possibly ever. At the moment I don’t see that in the future for myself and that is something I am okay with and have come to terms with but that doesn’t by any means, mean that can’t change. I may not want to right now and don’t see myself wanting that in the future but I’m also not counting it out. Things happen and people come into our lives so don’t count anything out just yet, take your time, heal and just see what happens!

Hopefully this opened some eyes into the life of Widowhood and the grieving process whether that be for widows or anyone else grieving. Stay tuned for my blog post Saturday, 12 little things I find joy in over the holidays as an unmarried widow!

Talk soon,

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