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Etiquette for those left behind


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Hi, I hope this isn't too insensitive, that is why I entered it under grieving. I am not sure what the rules are these days for those of us grieving. Like - as a widow - am I supposed to wear black or darker clothes - or just regular clothes - how does that go? I am conservative by nature so I am sure I haven't offended yet, but I just don't know what we are supposed to do to show respect or for how long. I have been living quietly, as well, by preference, is that expected, too? What do you all think? I did get some new furiture, it was very needed. Otherwise, I just work outside (yardwork) a lot and go to bed early.

PS not much is different. I feel a tiny bit better since starting bereavement counselling. It isn't even content, it is being with people in the same situation I am. I still have some anxiety but I think it is slightly improved. My older dog is sick, hips going out, I am worried about her, I cry about her and about everything a little. I think it is just an excuse to let some of it out.

Thanks, Margaret

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I think that "etiquette" for grieving is far different now than it was in Victorian times. No crepe over the windows, wreath on the door, black veil, etc.

I would think, Margaret, that you should dress however you feel comfortable. If you feel you need to be in dark colors for a while, wear 'em...if "widow's weeds" are too depressing for you, wear what makes you feel better. I have a bright tie-dyed shirt I wear on exceptionally gloomy days - like those involving needles. It helps with my mood.

I believe that how you deal with your grief is a personal thing and that you should do what gives you comfort - whether that's comfy old sweats, Jim's most worn lined flannel shirt and fuzzy slippers for a while or a black outfit. Do what feels right for you and helps ease that feeling of emptiness.



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As usual, Becky is first in line with common sense wisdom.

Do what you think you should do, to please yourself. You know what's in your heart.

I am so sorry for your loss. It's okay to cry about your dog, I know I would too.

Just remember, one foot in front of the other, one day at a time.


Prayers, always,


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I agree with the others Margaret.. You do what you are comfortable doing, there are no rules like there use to be, unless you come from a culture that has specifics about mourning..Everything is still so raw and new for you, it takes a while for life to make sense again,praying that you may find some peace and healing down the road...

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Margaret, glad you are in a support group, and hope it will be helpful to you. it is normal to feel things more deeply during your bereavement. When I lost my parents, I cried in all sad movies, more than usual. When you are reminded of things, it may tug at your heart, and that's okay. My advice on what to do is: Do what you feel is right for you. I don't think there are any hard and fast society rules anymore. Blessings. Don

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Hi Margaret.

I agree with the others. Act the way you need or want to act or behave, dress, talk, walk, drive...etc.

After the death of my brother, Dick, I wasn't even aware that I was doing anything differently until it was several months after his death. I realized then, that I had gravitated to black and bought black things without even putting an association with grief tied to it. I even bought a black comfortor and black shoes, and articles of clothing which I had never done in the past. For some reason, that is the way I felt..wearing dark colors, etc.

The easiest place for me to wail ...(mourn/cry/ scream ...wail) was in the shower for some reason. I would be thinking about him or my other brother or parents or niece or grandmother, and just bust out in a wail...the cells in my body needed to physically be released in sound and emotion and tears... out out out.

Hope that you do feel acceptance in your community in your method of expressing (or not) your grief.

What do you need from me/us to better help you through, Margaret?

love, Cindi o'h

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I just saw this and the question really grabbed at me.

I think everyone handles grief in their own way and I don't think it should matter what you wear, how you act, or how much you go out. Everyone should respect the way you want to work through it. If you want to wear the brightest of colors, you should. heck, it would probably cheer you up some.

I hate to say this, but I have thought alot in the last couple of months about how I would act if I lost Dave . . . and I have decided that I would do nothing different. I would wear the same clothes, get up and go to work (after I am able to that is), take Faith to school, fix the same food, go out with the same friends. I would never even consider changing any of my habits out of any sign of respect. In fact, Dave would want me to carry on. The important thing is that he is never ever forgotten, especially by our daughter, and I will do everything I can to keep his image and influence in our home. That being said, I don't plan on losing him any time soon. But after getting the last, awful diagnoses that he got a few months ago, I admit to being guilty of THINKING about it.

Margaret, I want you to know how much I really admire you. You are a strong, good, kind hearted, wonderful person. I just wanted to say that.

God Bless,


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Having been a surviving spouse ( I dislike the word widow) for almost four months now, I notice I haven't changed the way I dress or my life style either.

I do notice that I am feeling emotionally better at four months then I did at three months into it. I still cry, but it's more like twice a week now rather then every day. It doesn't really matter to me how others are looking at me; many of them are also still grieving his passing. I know he would want me to carry on with what he and I started together which is basically loving our family and serving in our community.

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Thank you Cyndy, I much prefer surviving spouse to widow.

Margaret I have changed nothing, not the way I dress, not the groups and outings I have always done, nothing. The thing that changed was my heart, it is broken. Earl loved me because I was a complete person without him and he just totally enhanced my life. I am still a happy, optimistic person, that is my nature (bumbleing idiot some would say).

I don't believe my loss should be outward. I wore Earl's wedding and signet ring on a necklace for a few months and then I stopped, not for me but I thought it was presenting a constant reminder of my loss to my family, friends and coworkers. I was not looking for them to constantly acknowledge my sorrow and grief, but was wearing them to hold Earl close to me. I now realize that Earl is and always will be with me, just in a different representation. I was in the shower this a.m. and said 'Hey Earl where are you?' and my heart felt a tug. Was that my mind, you bet, but it helps me stay close to him.

Margaret, we all have to do what is right for us, whether it be mourning the loss of our loved one or facing a serious disease ourselves or just getting up each morning. Our obligation to the world is to live life honestly, with compassion and hopefully with some return to our communities.

Cherish your memories of Jim, be thankful for the glorious time together and continue your life as Jim would want you to.

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