Linda Della Donna is working in the field this week. While she is away from her office, past works will be shared.
|It's a beautiful day in the neighborhood. --Mr. Rogers|
For the Newly Widowed
Top Ten Tacky Things "They" Will Say, and
What to Say Back
by Linda Della Donna
The funeral is over.
You’ve written ten thousand checks. You've signed your name ten thousand times. You've stamped ten thousand envelopes to ten thousand thank you notes, and ten thousand times you wished you were dead.
The sight of Mr. Mailman, FTD, and your friendly next-door neighbor reduces you to tears.
You don’t hear the sound of water gushing out a faucet.
You can’t see.
So, what’s wrong with you? You wonder.
The answer: You’re grieving.
And now it’s time to get out of the house.
However, before you step one bunny-slippered foot out your front door, beware -- friendly neighbor is waiting.
That’s okay, though, because after reading my top ten tacky things people will say and how you can react to them - like a good scout - you will be prepared.
Here they are, starting with the least tacky to the most tacky:
10. How much money did he leave you?
I know what you’re thinking. No one will ask you that question.
Surprise. They will.
Money questions are paramount on nosey people’s minds -- Soon as news gets out that your husband is dead.
They’ll also ask, Did he have insurance? Did he leave a will?
Best response: MYOB. In simple language, None of your business.
9. Don’t worry, you’re young. You’ll meet someone else.
On the long list of ugly, this one rockets to the top.
A new widow needs desperately to preserve her late husband’s memory. Replacing him, even in thought, at this time in her life is her choice.
Best answer: I am really not up to this conversation, at this time.
Then steal yourself.
And walk away.
8. Can I list your house?
Everyone believes they know what is best for you, dear newly widowed.
Even your next-door realtor.
Selling your home and moving away is at the top of his list.
Secretly, I’ve wondered if realtors and funeral directors network.
Best advice: When you find yourself barraged by friendly neighbor realtor, tell him, or her, I am not interested.
If friendly neighbor realtor persists, take action.
Contact the realty company that holds his license.
Request your name be removed from their mailing list.
Contact your local police department and file a complaint.
7. Don’t worry, I’ll take care of you.
Fast, faster, fastest!
6. I’m not really married. My wife and I have an understanding.
Meet this one with a cold stare.
For effect, ask friendly neighbor to, Speak louder. Tell him, I’m recording this conversation.
5. Don't tell my wife, but ...
Same response as Number 6, above.
4. I know what you need.
Unless friendly neighbor’s toting a crystal ball, nobody knows what, you, dear newly widowed needs. Not even another widow.
Choose answer number 7, 6, or 5.
3. When are you going to go out? C’mon! It’s been more than (fill in the blank) years!
Put the burden of a response to this question on your friendly neighbor.
Ask: What’s so terrible about being alone?
2. OH MY GOD! I CAN’T TAKE IT! Can I have his watch?
I have 8 wristwatches that belonged to Him. They sit in a shoebox on my dresser.
Best answer: No.
1. I’m going to sue you!
This happened to me.
Best advice: Keep your mouth shut. Hire a lawyer.
Coping with the death of a spouse is difficult.
You, dear newly widowed, may feel overwhelmed, and, unwittingly, you may find yourself volunteering information when what you really want is to be private.
Don’t be afraid -- be prepared.
Read my top ten tacky things people will say.
Practice ways to react to them before going out the house, and before you know it, you will see each new day will be filled with sounds of music and rays of sunlight instead of your friends’ and neighbors’ tacky comments and questions.