I was going to title this blog post “To the idiot who preached at my husband in the gym yesterday” but decided against it at the last minute.
But my blog post is going to deal with that incident and let you into our lives and our rawness, once again. Not because we need your sympathy but because our pain needs to serve a purpose. And if that purpose is education, so be it.
My husband is a bereaved parent, just like me. Men deal differently with pain and sorrow, as we all know, but that does not mean that they do not feel the anguish of parting with a beloved child.
My husband is a great dad and loves both his children very much. He has very strong bonds of love with Emma and with Georgie, bonds that transcend death and distance.
My husband’s heart has been left bruised and emotionally, he has been severely traumatised by what he has seen his son go through.
My husband displays signs, just like I do, of post-traumatic stress disorder in the form of IBS, as physical symptoms and a lot of anxiety, as emotional ones.
My husband has been told, just like any other boy, from when he was very young, that men need to be strong and that men need to provide. He has been doing this excellently, allowing me to stay at home and look after Emma and my own bruised heart.
But my husband needs a sympathetic ear and loads of love, just like I do. As a woman and a blogger, I have been at the receiving end of love but I think it is time we made it clear, bereaved fathers needs grace and love and understanding too!
I have recently come across the spoon theory, an extremely helpful concept that people with chronic diseases are advised to apply daily. People who have a long term illness or suffering are encouraged to get to know themselves and their strength and use their energy wisely during the day, to help them manage daily tasks.
Unconsciously, this is what we have been doing as bereaved parents as well, in order to survive. We have had to relearn to live and spare our energy by avoiding people and activities that leave us completely depleted. This is one of the reasons we decided to stop going to church, as the preaching not only did not help with our pain, it actually drained the meager resources we would have had, by presenting us with a God-theory that for us couldn’t have been further from the truth.
But yesterday, while at the gym, my husband was submitted to a completely unrequited tirade of arguments in God’s defense from a guy who thinks himself a Christian.
I will never understand the need to preach at someone. But to preach so bluntly and insensitively at someone you know to be in emotional pain and anguish is, to me, inexcusable.
I wish this reached the guy. Not only his ears but his heart.
I wish to tell him that yesterday, his tirade of self-assured religiosity left my husband with zero “spoons”, in the short space of a few minutes.
That probably unlike you, you
pompous little prick fervent little Christian, he had to face 12 hours of driving and work in harsh conditions, tormented by an all consuming anger we know too well and you know none of, as you have never felt the pain of losing someone you love, I am pretty sure.
That last night, I left him with my precious surviving child, while I was out at a bereavement seminar (oh, the irony, right?) and although he would NEVER do anything to harm her, he was totally incapable of providing for her needs. His all consuming anger blinded him totally to everything around himself and made him withdraw into his shell, like a wounded animal.
That upon my return, he was almost incoherent with emotional exhaustion and collapsed into bed and a heavy slumber of temporary obliteration.
That all this, ALL this, could have been avoided if you had displayed more empathy and less bigotry yesterday morning.
You, my non-friend, who call yourself a Christian, should have been a helping hand; your words could have been a salve for my husband’s broken heart. Instead, you chose to tear into his heart, uninvited and with great violence.
I do hope this reaches you.
I do hope that if you are to learn one thing from your “Christian” walk is that love can be expressed in so many other ways, words being the least effective.
I hope you learn to be someone’s strength by showing empathy and care and not drain someone of the little strength they have.
Be well, and please, for everybody’s sake, stop preaching!
Oh goodness, how appalling. I’m so sorry this happened to your husband. I can’t imagine what made this man think he had any right to make any comment at all? I’m dumbfounded.
It’s astounding when people who think of themselves as Christian or enlightened or whatever term they use to define themselves, totally fail to show the fundamentals of their beliefs in their actions. I can only hope that this man’s intention was to spread hope or offer comfort in some way but may have inadvertently come across as preaching. Nevertheless, regardless of what you are trying to offer sometimes the kindest thing you can offer rather than your pearls of wisdom is an empathetic ear and a judgement free zone.
That’s awful I can’t believe how insensitive people can be. How dare they preach at your husband they don’t know what’s best for him or your family. Everyone deals with things and copes differently, there is no right or wrong. I hope this does get back to that person x
Firstly, the fact you so openly acknowledge your husbands pain is good in so many ways. Sometimes it’s easy forget the dad in the issue for many. Not to preach or push anything but being part of the online Facebook group for dad’s (The Dad Network) has helped massively for myself to get through a variety of pain and situations, as well as others who have been in similar situations, to know that dad’s can experience such horrific aspects of life and know that dad’s have feelings too and can seek people to talk to. (Although I probably sure that he has people who are a sympathetic ear)
Secondly, as a Christian, I bloody hate Christians at times! Nothing worse than preaching to someone about pain and trying to force another opinion on them. They don’t know, can’t empathise and shouldn’t force it. I would never do that and actually don’t preach as a Christian full stop! Offering someone to listen and talk to not someone to then preach at him. Awful that he had to deal with it; it really shouldn’t have happened!
It’s unfair and unintentional that father’s are often ‘forgotten’ when it comes to the loss of a child and navigating grief. I am so sorry to hear of Alex’s unpleasant confrontation, no one has the right to preach to anyone, let alone a complete stranger who has experienced the worst imaginable loss. Christian or not I think that many people have lost the ability to show compassion for others, to just listen and offer comfort. So many people are too quick to think they have to force their beliefs or ideas onto others without knowing anything of their circumstances or life story. I hope that Alex doesn’t encounter this idiot again and isn’t put off from going to the gym. I also hope that he finds strength and a little happiness to carry him through. Don’t be afraid to ask for help if either of you, or Emma need it.
Oh my goodness how awful! So sorry to hear everything that you have been through. I read a quote last year that has stuck with me about never knowing what the person standing next to you has been through. This is so true! Sending you all lots of love x
This has angered me. For your sake, for your husband and you darling daughter. It frustrates me so much when Christians believe they know all because God is on their side, it paints a horrible picture for non-religious. I really hope that you can move on swiftly from this situation
I’m sorry to hear he had to go through this, I have never seen anything but anything admirable from Alex and I know he didn’t deserve this. Some people will always feel the need to make others feel small to feel superior, but know that you are the stronger people, the kinder people and the more worthy people and that no matter what, Emma and Georgie obviously have so much love for you both that little people like this man don’t mean anything. I know words can’t fix it, but I mean it all from my heart xxx
Ugh this is so horrible. Why people feel the need to judge others and give their opinions on other peoples lives (Christian or not), really angers me. We all have opinions and think things of others, but to judge someone without ever knowing them, their story or why they are how they are is just out of order. They say you should never judge a person without walking a mile in their shoes, it’s so true. I hope your husband isn’t too affected by this idiotic person now, god some people really need a reality check! x
I’m so sorry this happened, how can people not realise the damage that their words can do? It amazes me everyday the things people come out with.
What an awful situation for your husband to have been in, words can really wound the heart and we should all be more careful how we use them
I am sorry that your husband went through this – noone has the right to preach to others, nobody else walks in your shoes. Even when it comes from a well intentioned place, people can sometimes fail to see the damage their words can do.
I’m a spoonie, so I know what you mean, and it’s cruel for someone to come in and take your husbands spoons away like that. Thankfully he has you by his side as it sounds like you understand him completely. I’ve seen in situations similar where partners are torn apart by the grief you have both suffered.
I am also a Christian but I think it’s very unchristian to preach to others like that. A Christian offers love and support and if needed prayers, not religious rants that only make you feel worse.
I’m glad you wrote about this, sharing may make others see the light in a different way.
Wishing you and your husband many spoons to get through xx
I am so sorry, what an arsehole the guy in the gym must have been I hope your husband is feeling better now x
I am astounded, but not surprised, People should learn to shut up, if they have nothing nice to say. I hope that he gets the help and support.
Aww I’m so sorry to read this. I cannot imagine what losing a child feels like, but my parents lost a child a 3 yrs of age (before I was born) and I saw first hand what that did to them. My Mum would often cry…. all through my childhood. Even though she was happy and went on to have more children, the loss was always there. My Dad however didn’t like to talk about it. I felt for him because he couldn’t. Dad’s always feel like they need to be strong and suffer in silence. I wish you all the best xx
I’m so sorry that this happened to your husband, people just do not think do they? This is an upsetting but necessary read. I cannot imagine your pain but I hope your husband is feeling a little better today, as best as he can do anyway. X
What a thing to do! If he was a genuine Christian you’d think he’d have thought before opening his mouth to preach.
It never ceases to amaze me that people can be so insensitive! I do believe that it really is true – you never know what hardship or proverbial smelly stuff someone else is going through, so to be kind to everyone.
Someone who modelled for a photo shoot I did, she has beautiful ginger hair (think Annie) and so do her children. Someone approached her and asked her when was she “going to stop having ginger babies?” WTF???? People a SO rude.
Stay strong and big hugs to you all xx
Oh what an insensitive Human Being. An ounce of human compassion is all that is needed. I hope your husband finds his spoonful of courage very soon
I am so sorry this happened, some people just don’t think of others do they? Lots of love to you both. xxx
How awful for him. Why oh why did someone decide to do that to him when they know what he’s going through. This is why religion angers me. It must’ve knocked him for six. I hope he finds more of that spoonful of strength soon and can get passed that incident at the gym. The spoon theory sounds like a good one to follow to help get strength day by day x