Move on ... don’t lash out after loss

Maureen Kennedy
Maureen Kennedy

Jane lost her father a few months ago. Naturally the whole family is grieving but, as is often the case, the person who feels the loss most is the partner left behind who has the awful void in their life on a daily basis.

Jane’s parents were in their 70s and married for over 50 years.

They had a good life as a family and later as a retired couple. They had their health problems and a few too many arguments but they pulled together.

Jane says that since her dad’s sudden death, her mum has ‘turned on her’. She cannot say anything to her without harsh words being returned.

If she says something nice, it’s rebutted. If she offers help or advice she is accused of interfering.

But her mum is angry. She hates that her husband ‘left’ her with things left unsaid and problems unresolved. So she is lashing out.

This is not unusual. Often when a person loses their partner, they also lose their ‘punch bag’. The person they hit out at when they are in a bad mood or a foul temper. The person they can let off steam at knowing that all will be well because that’s how they function. So when the partner dies, there is no longer a punch bag.

So who do you hit out at? In this case, it’s the strongest of the children.

The one who can take it, or whom they think can take it.

The other factor is that, in her mum’s eyes, Jane is living her life.

She sees Jane with a husband and three young children at the start of their lives, very much as she was all this years ago.

Jane has all the good things to come, her mum sees only emptiness.

She has also lost her status. As a couple, they were in demand, but as a widow she won’t be invited to as many things and it will be mostly close friends whom she sees.

Sadly, this is the circle of life.

But try thinking what the person who has passed would say. Would they want you to behave like this? Surely not.

So once you have licked your wounds, it’s time to face the world again with a determination that you will make the most of the next, albeit quite different, stage of your life whatever it brings. And know that your partner would be proud of you.