A tragic loss changes you. It can make you see the world in a new way. What may have seemed important before, may seem completely different after. These are some things that I have changed my outlook on since my husband died.
- My children’s grades – I know – you are already horrified. I certainly wasn’t looking for my children to fail and I always wanted them to try their best but to me their mental health and happiness were far more important. Sometimes something has to give, and I decided to no longer focus on whether they got As or Bs, or even Cs. I was good with them not getting into Harvard.
- Dinner reservations – First of all, I no longer had a partner to go out with. Before my husband died, our weekend plans were very important to me – who we were going out with, which restaurant we would be going to, etc. Suddenly, that all seemed so unimportant. It felt better staying at home with my daughters or friends or just me. I had no FOMO whatsoever.
- Things – I am not saying I don’t love a nice pair of shoes or want to drive a decent car, but I no longer try to ‘keep up’. Putting the fact that I can no longer afford to spend recklessly aside, I realize how little all of that matters. I don’t want to cherish things, I want to cherish people.
- Worrying about others judging me – I admit that I was always a little insecure. I worried about what others thought of me. Was I wearing the right thing? Was I saying the right thing? Was I raising my daughters the right way? I really don’t care anymore. I have suddenly put my life out there for the world to see and if anyone wants to judge – go ahead.
- Being married – People are always surprised when I say I’m not looking for my boyfriend to propose anytime soon. I have learned to be independent and I like that about me. I am happily sharing my life with him but I am good without a ring on my finger right now.
- HOW I remember my husband – I may not do what I am “supposed” to do. I don’t visit the cemetery often and I don’t go to synagogue (he actually hated sitting in services and I’m sure he would laugh at me if I that was where I chose to remember him.) My girls and I remember him in our own way – we talk about him and look at pictures often, among other things. Our family rituals are what keep him alive in our hearts.
- Petty arguments – Where I once got angry with friends or family over something small, I am now much more able to let it go. Life is too short to fight with those you love.
- Having tons of friends – When something tragic occurs, it can make you reevaluate. I know who my close friends are and I love and cherish them. I also love having friends who I am not in contact with as often but are always important to me. I am just no longer looking for tons of new friends. I am happy to meet new people and it’s great if we click, but I am not in search of big groups of friends.
- Someone saying “the wrong thing” to me – This took a while. For the first few months after Howie’s death, if someone did so much as look at me the wrong way, I wanted to kill them. How could people say the stupid things they did? But, after some time passed, I realized that we are all human and make mistakes. Death is an uncomfortable subject for people and the wrong words do slip out. As long as someone does not blatantly ignore me or say something purposely unkind, I can easily forgive a misspoken comment.
- Growing older – I am definitely not a fan of looking in the mirror and seeing wrinkles, but the fact that I am in my fifties does not bother me like it once would have. Life is a gift and I am thankful that I am still here to enjoy the good things about being my age and I am lucky to be able watch my daughters grow up.
Stacey Feintuch is a freelance writer who lives in northern New Jersey with her husband and two boys. And she’s Stacey with an E opposed to this site’s co-founder, Stacy.