Thursday, August 20, 2015

Kathie Lee Gifford is Already Looking Happy at Work? Guess She Didn't Love Her Husband Enough.



I bet that title made a few of you want to reach through your computer screen and smack me.

Good.

This morning I was taking a break from work and turned on the Today Show and there was Kathie Lee, bouncing around with Hoda.  I did a little bit of a double-take and thought, "She's back at work already?"

I was one of the many widows who cringed when I heard that her husband, Frank Gifford, had passed away - not necessarily because I'm a huge fan of hers, but because I hate hearing that anyone is about to go through what I've been through.

It has made me less sympathetic for the dead and more concerned for the living.

Anyway, I was thinking that anyone who hasn't experienced the loss of a spouse might be watching her, thinking, "Wow.  She got over that fast."

I can assure you...she didn't.

I was watching her on screen, going through the motions of her normal life and for a moment I could feel where she is and where I've been; attempting to get back to normal, functioning so perfectly that no one would ever guess her  inner turmoil.

But there's a problem with that - and the problem is everyone else's.  It's the same problem we all run into when we date, move, keep working, or move forward in any way at our own pace.

Other people think we're not as heartbroken about our spouse's death as we should be.

And if that's what you're thinking, I feel it's my duty to say on behalf of the widow community....

SHUT. UP.

If Kathie Lee is like the rest of the country (and I know she's not, but let's pretend she is) her office could have given her three days bereavement leave before they expected her back at work.  She could have just decided that a routine of any kind was better than staying at home with her own morbid thoughts as company.  She might have needed to just get out and be with people.  She could have adopted the old "fake it 'til you make it" motto that has gotten me through a few rough spots.

None of that has anything to do with how much she loved her husband or how she's actually feeling.

She could show up on the red carpet tomorrow on the arm of a new man.  That could be because he's a friend.  It could be because he's a lover.  It could be because he makes her feel secure in this new horrible world she's in.  It could be because he gives her something to look forward to and makes her week a little more bearable.  She might need the companionship.  She might just want someone to hug her when she needs it.

None of that has anything to do with how much she loved her husband or how she's actually feeling.

Kathie Lee could tell you tomorrow the entire story of her husband's death without shedding a tear.  She could tell you the most intimate details about his last moments.  She could someday stand stoically at her daughter's wedding or give a speech in front of thousands about who her husband was with dry eyes and a smile on her face.

None of that has anything to do with how much she loved her husband or how she's actually feeling.

Many of us who have traveled this path have been judged for how we've coped and and the pace at which we've progressed.  We're either stuck or insensitive - there is very little room in the public's opinion for the grey area that is reality.  And the reality is this.

No matter your experiences you have no idea what someone else is truly going through.

Even though I'm a widow, I can't imagine what is actually going through Kathie Lee's mind as she goes through the motions at work, grocery shopping, or out to dinner with friends.

But I can assure you, as you judge her for pasting that smile on her face mere days after losing her husband...

...that smile has nothing to do with how much she loved her husband or how she's actually feeling.

31 comments:

  1. Excellent article.

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  2. It is never easy to lose a loved one. I know I speak from experience. I suppose there are those that think that after 52 years I didn't love my husband "enough" because I chose not to don black and get all weepy in front of them. I did and still do plenty of crying alone. There isn't a day goes by that I don't wish I could share some little thought or joke with him and he isn't there and I lose it privately. He suffered so that I'm glad he is no longer in pain. If the story is correct then Frank Gifford did not suffer and she was spared that ordeal, thank God. I am so glad you wrote this article. It means a lot.

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  3. I am overawed by this lady. How she spoke of the faith she and her husband shared. Public personalities/professionals seem to be trained to manage their emotions. I bet she was full of the peace and joy of the Lord. Powerful, beautiful woman. I hope and pray she has loving family and friends who will be there for her as and when she needs support. Thank you for sharing your thoughts. Babs.

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  4. I saw her on her show and noticed the smiles etc. I could also see the pain in her eyes as she carried on. I admire her for giving all she had. Why do people expect a spouse that is left on this earth to just roll up in a ball for months on end just to prove to the world they care for their loved one. Good article.

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  5. I also happened to see the show because I am off this week from my job. I had never been a huge fan of hers (indifferent, not dislike), but I admire her now. I think her love for Frank very much showed as she spoke of him and their faith and life. I returned to work in between my husband's death and funeral...not working full days but fairly close. Bottom line...we all handle life in different ways, including grief.

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  6. WOW. Guess I hit a nerve with this one! Thank you all so much for taking the time to comment. I truly appreciate it!

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  7. All so very true. Well said.

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  8. Very well written article and thank you for it. You hit the nail on the head on many counts and as I lost my husband a year ago, I knew I was a strong woman (reiterated by many of my friends and family), but they don't see the "other" side - and yes, everyone handles death differently whether it's a spouse or other loved one or a friend. There are days that I can tell the story without shedding a tear and others that I cry like a baby. Thank you from one widow to another.

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  9. The hole in my heart never goes away. It has been 2 1/2 years. I have remarried but still suffer from PTS remembering what pancreatic cancer did to him. I have a sign in my kitchen. "Lord, give me coffee to change the things I can, and wine to accept the things I cannot." All we can do is take one day at a time. My Joy is in the Lord because I know WHERE my Love is.

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  10. I wondered about this myself. I even asked on Facebook. I wasn't judging her, just wondering if she was taking enough time for herself. Your article helped me understand.

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  11. Very well spoken. I am so happy you put into words what I could not. It affects us widows so much more than anyone could know. You have two choices; either live your life in fear of what others may think and causing more depression on yourself or accept the things you can not change and rejoice in the life they lived and keep their legacy alive therefore also keeping your spirits alive. Moving on no matter what the timing may be, doesn't mean forgetting, it just means being happy once again.

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  12. YES! Well said. As someone who volunteered for years at a hospice, I can say, each person left behind grieves in their own way--each way, perfect for them.

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  13. Very well said. I have not lost my husband, he did have a double stroke. I am very glad he is still here with me. A dear criend is not so lucky. Her husband had a heart attack while working in Japan. He was only 42. They never even got a final kiss. I know you are probably thinking they would not have if he died here too but that is not true. She could of gone to a hospital here and gotten to talk to him, give him a kiss, etc. Even if he had already passed. He should have lived to 82, at least. It is very sad!

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  14. Very well said. I have not lost my husband, he did have a double stroke. I am very glad he is still here with me. A dear criend is not so lucky. Her husband had a heart attack while working in Japan. He was only 42. They never even got a final kiss. I know you are probably thinking they would not have if he died here too but that is not true. She could of gone to a hospital here and gotten to talk to him, give him a kiss, etc. Even if he had already passed. He should have lived to 82, at least. It is very sad!

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  15. Yes - couldn't agree with you more. Sadly, widows are usually have much more empathy for others than those who haven't been there and are prone to judge. And guess what? When they do experience that loss, I won't judge them for how they deal with their grief...

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  16. 30 year old widow for 6 months, and I feel moreso than others that I am judging myself. That I don't know the right steps to take without my love by my side. I am doing what I think he would hope that I do, but there's no Emily Post for Widows (or is there?). I wonder if people question anyone's return to work, or anyone's actions as they trudge on this journey.....are they more in awe, than judging? Can we cut them some slack for just not getting it? People tell me "I can't imagine what you're going through.." I tell them, "Don't. It's terrible." Sure, there might be some people judging, but maybe not as much as we judge ourselves as we take small steps that we don't want to take. As we move further away from the happy lives we once had....I think it's more that people don't get it, then they are truly judging. Or maybe I'm naive, which I suppose is a little bit possible. Mostly, I think more people feel sorrow for Kathie, and it's inspiring to watch her try to move forward. My bet is that tears are just under the surface, as they are for me, and just might be forever.

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  17. So tired of judgments from those who have not walked the "widowed walk" and sadly even from some of those who have :( This is one of my favorite blogs that you have written. Your first line was priceless!

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  18. Widowed just under six months ago and I went to a wine tasting with friends the next day and was back at work the following Monday. None of the reasons had anything to do with how I felt about him. Had I'd been the one who passed on, he would have done the same thing, and I would have encouraged him. It wasn't unexpected. It was the busiest time of year in my office. My co-workers needed me there doing my job, part of which was helping them do their jobs. I knew I would fall apart later, but I didn't have time right then. Nobody we knew had a problem with it.

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  19. Good article. Read it with tears tucked back...

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  20. Excellent article! I completely agree.

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  21. Judgment hurts as bad as the loss. Thank you for this article. I will keep moving forward the way I can move forward.

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