Miss Marple and the Timeline for Good Grieving

Miss Marple

Last year I wrote a piece for the Telegraph in response to Sheryl Sandberg’s Facebook post about life after her husband’s sudden death. Sandberg emailed me personally afterwards.

“I thought what you wrote was the most uplifting thing I have seen,” she wrote. “Thank you so, so much.”

After I’d picked my chin up off the floor, I decided to reply. We exchanged a couple of further messages, and during our brief exchange, she wasn’t one of the most famous and successful women on the planet – she was just a regular young widow who had lost the love of her life in tragic circumstances like me.

Which is perhaps why I feel compelled to respond to the latest revelation in Sandberg’s grief journey – the fact that, ten months on, she is reportedly dating again. Wonderful news, right?

The self-appointed Armchair Arbitrators of Good Grieving (or AArrGG! as they are henceforth known) don’t approve. “Too soon!” was the declaration of one. “The love of her life? I don’t think so!” sniffed another. The dot-eyed denouncements reached a startling new low, with some AArrGGs going all Miss Marple and suggesting she’d bumped her husband off.

Ten months may not sound like long, especially if you’re a judgemental bully with no experience of devastating loss. When you’ve lost the love of your life, the days, months and years ahead without the prospect of your soulmate yawn forth like a terrifying chasm. Getting through ten minutes can be difficult enough, never mind ten months.

New relationships after widowhood are charged and complex things. Those who enter into them should not have to adhere to any timeline for grieving, especially ones laid out by anonymous keyboard commentators who have nothing better to do.

One of Sandberg’s friends said:

“Everyone is happy for her, because she deserves to be happy.”

Close the casebook, Miss Marple. That’s all there is to it.

 

Advertisements

16 thoughts on “Miss Marple and the Timeline for Good Grieving

  1. Hi Lucie, It’s the same old story people passing judgement without walking in someone else’s shoes or being in their head!!!!!! Your spot on, just be thankful she’s happy. Caz xx

  2. I have to admit that *before* I probably fell into that judgemental pool of thinking ‘it’s too soon’ etc. I now know better. Time has a totally different meaning now and above all else we deserve to be happy. If that’s alone then fine, but if it’s with someone else then that should be celebrated rather than criticised. Much love as always Lucie xx

    • Hi Fi, lovely to hear from you!  If you’re in the public eye like Sandberg I guess it’s inevitable you’ll come up for public scrutiny. But I don’t understand why people permit themselves to be so self-righteous and vicious about someone they don’t know on a public forum. You may have been in ‘the judgemental pool’ but I doubt you would have felt compelled to voice it in quite such a cowardly and insensitive way. Much love to you as always too x

  3. If a grieving widow finds any kind of love (eternal or otherwise) then its good news. The same for any widower. The Armchair commentators have far greater problems themselves to think about. I lost my only child – a daughter of 18 – Caroline – and I have still not found any reason for hope or optimism in the world yet. Then again it is only Day 247…. and counting

    • Hi Chris, Thanks for reading and commenting. I’m so sad to hear about Caroline, how utterly heartbreaking. I hope that one day soon the counting will stop and you are able to see some light in the world. I don’t know if you write, but I can recommend it as catharsis; letters to Caroline, perhaps, or conversations you’d like to have? Take care of yourself Chris. Lucie x

  4. There is no “right” or “wrong” time to find love after loss. My wife passed away 4 months ago after a very short battle with cancer. We’d been together for 20 years. She told me that she wanted me to find love again. I have no idea when or if that will happen. I know that, at the moment, it’s not even something I’d consider as, for me, she’s the only one I’ll ever love. But I know that, in time, I may indeed find someone I care for and if I do, I know that she’ll be looking down on me and telling me to make the most of my life.

  5. I’m ashamed to admit (if I’m honest, which I try to be) that I may have fallen into that judgemental category prior to losing my own dearly beloved, Ben The Titan Saint-Onge, on January 13th this year. Now I’ve entered a world I never chose to live in, and although I am not remotely ready to meet someone I can certainly appreciate the loneliness and desire to be back in couple-hood. (Is that a word?). Anyway, I’m thrilled for her. I vividly recall the day she lost the love of her life because I knew that in short order I was going to join her world.

    I’m hope she’s happy. I’m glad she’s happy. I hope that is a world I am able to join again someday. Thanks for your blog.

    • Ahh I’m so sorry to read your story on your blog Wendy. How utterly tragic. I sincerely hope you find some happiness in the future, whenever that may be. I’m sure Ben will be benhind you all the way. Much love and solidarity. Lucie x

  6. Yes! Shut the fuck up (sorry. I’ve grown a potty mouth since my husbands death”) and worry about your own damn busniess. Life’s hard enough without people being assholes for no good reason. Find happiness. End of story

  7. I justI just happened upon your blog today. My first thought was “what can I possibly say?”. And then I thought…uniqueness. Individuality. Who am I really, standing here alone, changed in every way? Me. I have to find me again. It’s about a “healthy selfishness” I guess. Despite all of the rubble, advice, and people around me; despite all of the chaos within me, I have had to realize and accept the retraction of all I’ve shared. Seeing myself as me, here, now, in this moment; facing the greatest self-recalibration I will ever know. But doing so with the undisputed revelation that whoever I end up staring back at in the mirror, from this moment, I know that I am becoming the best of me for having experienced all that I have with my love – my husband. My point is, when all is said, & said again, I have come to believe that from the start, even though we are a common species, we each possess at least one indelible aspect; the emerald at the center. It’s what we inately identify as our saving grace after all else fails us or falls away. Seeing it is hard. Remembering that it’s there at all, I think, is the true challenge; especially in the throws of grief. I can attest it was the absolute last thing on my mind. But it turns out that I had been looking and searching from the very moment my husband passed. Looking for that one thing that only you recognize as necessary to begin the journey to healing. Time. Distance. Reflection. Circumstance. Each is boundless; each unique for every grieving soul. In losing my husband I am forever bound to all of you. For each of us, I pray & hope that it is in our uniqueness we are able to find that one ‘thing’, at least, that sparks even the slightest glow. The emerald. Reminding us that we can exist as individuals again. Even when parts of us forever belong to another. It is a challenging endeavor to reinvent one’s self again. But to me, the opportunity to become better for it is a parting gift from the love of my life. Just remember, a bit of selfishness IS required…. for a while anyway happened upon your blog today. My first thought was “what can I possibly say?”.
    And then I thought…uniqueness. Individuality. Who am I really, standing here alone, changed in every way? Me. I have to find me again. It’s about a “healthy selfishness” I guess. Despite all of the rubble, advice, and people around me; despite all of the chaos within me, I have had to realize and accept the retraction of all I’ve shared. Seeing myself as me, here, now, in this moment; facing the greatest self-recalibration I will ever know. But doing so with the undisputed revelation that whoever I end up staring back at in the mirror, from this moment, I know that I am becoming the best of me for having experienced all that I have with my love – my husband. My point is, when all is said, & said again, I have come to believe that from the start, even though we are a common species, we each possess at least one indelible aspect; the emerald at the center. It’s what we inately identify as our saving grace after all else fails us or falls away. Seeing it is hard. Remembering that it’s there at all, I think, is the true challenge; especially in the throws of grief. I can attest it was the absolute last thing on my mind. But it turns out that I had been looking and searching from the very moment my husband passed. Looking for that one thing that only you recognize as necessary to begin the journey to healing. Time. Distance. Reflection. Circumstance. Each is boundless; each unique for every grieving soul. In losing my husband I am forever bound to all of you. For each of us, I pray & hope that it is in our uniqueness we are able to find that one ‘thing’, at least, that sparks even the slightest glow. The emerald. Reminding us that we can exist as individuals again. Even when parts of us forever belong to another. It is a challenging endeavor to reinvent one’s self again. But to me, the opportunity to become better for it is a parting gift from the love of my life. Just remember, a bit of selfishness IS required…. for a while anyway.

  8. I lost my husband in mid 2016. I’m 40 and I’ve become very close to a work colleague since December after finding out we like a lot of the same things. He’s 24. We talk for hours and chat at work and outside of work. It feels good to have that again. I don’t know if he feels the same way I do but I think I’m falling for him.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s