Butterfly on Queen Anne's Lace

Grief, and then … Self-pity?

There is a place, I’ve read, where grief becomes something else. A writer I read from The Huffington Post called it “self-pity”. The “oh poor me, look how sad I am”…and she’s right, you do. Some for an hour, some for days, others for years and years…but we all do. It is an aspect of grief no one really talks about. My Mom and I have talked of this feeling, but we thought too its many things; word it how you like…but anyone who has tasted grief knows.

Just now sitting outside, I was again thinking on that, and gauging my level of self-pity ratio. I decided it was going up, and this nonsense needed to stop. Wear black (if I want to) and walk with pride, behind whichever mask I choose to use, and just deal. Stop crying every goddamn time I feel like…I’m good I think, eh? Washed my face now with cold water, once too too often now, perhaps.

In honour of that I decided to acknowledge my Facebook status as “widowed”. It has bothered me what exactly I was for some time. Tim and I were not married…but whatever, I joined in companionship and promised him all the same shit…just not all at once and not in front of family and friends; atleast not in such a direct fashion. But, I declared all the same stuff, at one point or another. And death do we part, was understood loud and clear.

I’ve grieved before; when Grandma died, when Mom died, when my marriage died…but this time my mate died. This grief is different. That women who talked of self-pity was right on, and finally I guess maybe I have the courage to admit that, with or without a marriage certificate, a spouse dying is different then a marriage dying.

At some point with a divorce, you see it (well, if your clever) that it’s an opportunity for growth. It’s very sad and there are alot of similarities, but I can say with some experience, that it is in fact very different. Something died, yes.

I realize that I’d never thought of myself as a “divorcee”…but god help me, I feel like a “widow”. There is a difference.

There is a point, where for me ceremony takes a sidecar to all that, and the loss becomes more than the will. In a way, what I am saying by posting myself as “widowed” on facebook, is I ‘m saying…”I’m not single, I’m not divorced, I’m not any of the other things on your list…I’m Widowed”. I’m sad. I lost something. I had no say…it left. I had atleast something, OBVIOUSLY, to do with marriage ending, but this is different.

A new friend from work commented that I lacked confidence in myself, and that I shouldn’t. I thought…”you have no idea kid how wrong you are”…atleast lately. I’m quiet, I’m nervous, sure…haven’t done this kind of thing in 4 years…but I know I’m good..I’ll be fine. I’m just sad…and I’m fighting it and trying not to be anti-social.

This training part is hard though…drives me crazy. I have to know this stuff…but man, is it ever a drag having to learn. But I have to or I will have not one fricken clue where to find anything.

So what he has mistaken for lack of confidence, I’ve realized recently was just self-pity. Rats. Buck up, kiddo…not so bad. …not that MY grandmother would ever have said it like that…but you get the gist.

Maybe this is because I have always thought that the best way to deal with something is to walk straight head-long into it, come what may. Get it over with, analyze the shit of it, and move on.

I’ve stumbled this time though, I feel like a weak kitten sometimes and dang, I don’t like it. Yet, I can see the light, as I know is there. We all forget. It’s hard sometimes to change. Move on, put it “really” in a box and have it all not seem like some sort of unreal, reality sometimes. I sometimes shake my head in disbelief at it all. Wipe my hand across my face, take a breath, and think “whew, I’m so TIRED of this shit”.
SO…you learn to somehow walk forward, and you learn how to smile again.

…inspired by Weekly Writing Challenge: Fit to Write

7 thoughts on “Grief, and then … Self-pity?

  1. Excellent post, Paula. I wholeheartedly agree that losing a spouse is NOT the same as getting divorced, and I resent folks who make the comparison. If you’re divorced, you lose the marriage and partnership, but it was a choice and your ex is still alive for you to communicate with if you want to. If you’re a widow/widower, it was not a choice, you were helpless to stop it, and your partner is gone Forever. End of story.

    I’m currently struggling with the self-pity thing too. Or maybe it’s lack of focus. Or both. I want to “snap out of it” but I simply cannot figure out the next move. It feels like I’m wasting time. Very frustrating.


    1. I know. Ditto. I just want everything to just be ‘ok’ again…or not to feel this “woe is me” so often…it’s not like me. ..and indeed it is very frustrating. I guess it will just take time. I’m maybe focused on it now too since my birthday is tomorrow…and this time last year was very hard…and now he’s not here…and I just want to weep. Everyone else is going on with their life…and I’m lost and bewildered sometimes, and yes, I feel this sense of “oh, poor me”.

      {{{{hug}}}} thank you niva..


  2. A profound and provocative post.

    I believe the thing that keeps grief from turning into self-pity is hope. In the Bible, it says “We grieve, but not as those without hope.”

    While I have not faced the pain of losing a mate, I have been able to face the temporary loss of my marriage (through separation), the death of loved ones and friends, the end of my pastoral career and current loss of income, because I have hope that the path I’m on leads to a blessed reunion and abundant life.

    It still hurts like hell, but I know the pain will pass.

    Thanks for such a thoughtful post.


    1. First off…thank you Tony

      I’m not sure it’s always about hope though, it often just sometimes overwhelms you and no amount of faith can knock you out of that…accept for maybe faith in the passage of time :-\

      I have that faith myself…in the path I’m on…god alone knows where its going…but “ours is not to reason why”.


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