As several of my widow friends have started dating and even remarried, I’ve noticed a really weird reaction I’ll have. When she posts a picture with her new love, I’m often taken aback seeing her with a different man.
Keep in mind, I NEVER MET her late husband. But because I’ve gotten to know him in reverse through the stories and memories told, I feel like I’m his friend and know what their family should look like, that he should be in the pictures with her kids, he should be on that vacation with them, all the things… so, yeah, it seems super strange seeing her with someone else.
And now that I’ve been on both sides, I think I may know how many of YOU have felt as I’ve shared my grief journey over these past four years.
When you see me with Kjell you probably have these thoughts:
I’m happy for her, but it’s really weird for her to be with him.
She moved on so fast.
Has she forgotten about Wayne?
How can she have a smile on her face?
What do her boys think? Is he trying to replace their dad?
But if I post a memory with Wayne you probably have these thoughts:
That’s disrespectful to Kjell.
Does he have to walk in Wayne’s shadow?
Why hasn’t she moved on?
Did she love Wayne more than she loves him?
I get it! I really do.
But please know, it’s an incredibly hard balance between honoring a life once lived and also celebrating a new story God is writing.
Can I challenge you with this? (And I’m also telling myself this!!) If you have a friend “moving forward” through a tough thing (death/remarriage, divorce, dating, rebellious kids, family struggles, job changes, mental health issues, whatever it is) try not to compare their past with the present. Don’t judge, don’t offer advice, don’t gossip; just love on and pray for them as they take those difficult steps forward towards the unknowns of their new norm.