This might be unfair but I believe it to be true. Divorce is worse than your husband dying. It feels awful to say it particularly as I am in the midst of witnessing a family member having been left a widow. Perhaps this is what brings me to this post, watching and reflecting.
When widowed, you’re allowed to grieve. You’re entitled to a period of mourning and it’s expected. Rituals take place which may allow for closure to take place. But most of all, there is a constant stream of sympathetic family members and friends at your door, flowing in and out. Photos, anecdotes and memories are shared about the one departed, smiles crease over faces as silly moments are recalled.
During divorce, you’re expected to get over it. No one brings over bowls of pilau, there are no sympathy cards, in fact people may shut you out as though you drove him away. Family/friends initially appear, in the first couple of weeks, then fade out having felt like they’ve done their bit. You’re forgotten about sitting in that little house, people not realising how lonely iddah is and how tortured you feel. Real sympathy but most important of all, understanding, is in short supply.
When your husband dies, there are no doubt plenty of happy memories which can be looked back at with love and affection. After divorce, the good memories are buried along with the bad. It’s no longer appropriate to talk about them and you’re aware of that shift in atmosphere if you bring up his name…..so you stop, referring to him only as a past “friend” when asked who you tried that diner or visited that country with.
Divorce is not seen as life impacting as death. Yet what people fail to realise is that the grieving process is identical. I have been told on numerous occasions during the past month that my pain was in no way comparable to that of a husband’s death particularly as he cheated. What they fail to realise however is that for me, the day he chose to leave, my husband too died yet I will never be afforded the same sentiments as that of a widow.