Unlike the Victorians, I don’t believe we should dictate how long a widow or widower should grieve. As I’ve suggested throughout this book, each of us grieves differently and takes a different amount of time. In my opinion, having formal or informal grieving etiquette is unreasonable. However, we seem to have gone to the opposite extreme. Victorian widows were allowed, and even expected, to grieve for at least two years. Victorians didn’t tell each other the grief had gone on long enough. They didn’t expect a widow to be social or “over the death.” They didn’t try to rush grieving people and tell them they should be happy again. They didn’t change the subject if a grieving person discussed their deceased loved one. Instead, they were open to talking about death. They didn’t pretend death doesn’t exist or ignore it.
In contrast to the Victorians, I felt that people expected me to be okay after just a few months. People seemed surprised that years later, I still cried and still wanted to talk about Reg. They seemed surprised that I still missed him. As I discussed in another chapter, many friends expected me to date again and even negatively judged me for not dating.
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