Today, I am angry.

I’m angry because so many in the widowed community are told to “get over” it. To just “move on”…to “stop holding onto the past”.

But there is so much that family, friends and society don’t see or refuse to see. Our loss didn’t end the day our spouse was laid to rest. It didn’t end with a memorial service or a cremation. The truth is, for many, the actual death and the goodbyes are only the beginning of our grief and loss.

When you tell us to “Let it go”, you’re telling us our children’s grief doesn’t matter. You aren’t there for the emotional breakdowns, the cries for their mother or father, the destructive behaviors, the bed-wetting, the acting out, the cutting, the drug use, the suicide attempt. How the hell are we supposed to get over something we’re currently living? How do you tell a preteen, already struggling with the nuances of high school, to “get over” the tremendous loss he feels about not having his father there to guide him into manhood, or ask a daughter, who needs her dad to show her how a man treats a woman so she doesn’t blindly follow the first guy that shows her some attention, to “move on”?

We live grief every day!

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On the days our children are mocked and ridiculed for having a parent whose life ended as a result of a suicide, should we “get over it” then too? When we’re forced to explain to an 8-year-old that there was nothing he did wrong to “cause” his dad’s death, where are you? When our children question their worth, their value and who they are in the world because of a parent’s suicide…where are you? Do you have anything else to offer beyond questioning our parenting skills?

We live grief every day!

How are we supposed to “move on” from our loss when the doctor’s words are replaying over and over in our head: You have cancer. Doesn’t the fact that our children already lost one parent make us immune from further tragedy? So yes, on the days we wonder if our children will be left orphaned, we’re entitled to cry about our spouse not being here. We’re allowed to lie in bed and try to make sense of the unfairness of life. You don’t get to stand outside our grief and dissect the tiny parts you see.

We live grief every day.

When abandoned by friends and family and the loneliness seeps in. When we make poor choices in new partners because we just want to feel worthy…loved. When we settle for much less than we deserve because we don’t think we get to have another great love story, why aren’t you there to uplift us? Instead, you’d rather gossip about how our spouses would be turning in their graves. You’d rather point a judging finger than to be there.

We live grief every day.

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And, you good “church folks”…the ones who all but turned their backs on us when our faith was shaken to its core. When we were mad at God and stayed away from church. When we didn’t know the words to pray because we felt God had abandoned us. When we questioned why God would allow such a wonderful person to be taken from us for what seems like no reason at all, why didn’t you offer to pray for us instead of shunning us? Where was your fellowship then?

We live grief every day.

The next time you want to put our grief under a microscope, please be sure to look at all of it: the financial struggles, the attempts to save the house, the depression, the children who are struggling, the judgment we receive, the search to find our purpose, the loneliness, the drama of dating, the crumbling of relationships with in-laws, the disappearance of friends, the weight loss/gain, the memory lapses, the bad decisions, the physical toll of grief, the criticism by own family, etc. Live my life before you tell me how you could live it better.

Grief. We live it EVERY. DAMN. DAY!

Mom to a feisty preschooler, Kerry Phillips became widowed at age 32. She runs an online support group for young widows and widowers venturing back into the world of dating and is a blogger for The Huffington Post.

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