I received a text over the weekend letting me know that a friend’s wife had passed away. He was a friend from a previous work place that I regularly keep in touch with. I had never actually met his wife, but only heard of her through my friend. They were at a difficult time in their marriage. She was having health problem that, based on what he told me, may had degraded her mental health. What he described to me was someone who was cruel and mean, particularly to him. She had isolated herself in a back bedroom and rarely came out and almost never interacted with him. There were several instances where she had called the police on him alleging physical abuse. According to him, she had even alienated her children. She only considered her sister as family. Not an enviable situation to be in.
Receiving the news of her death put me in a difficult social situation. I have seen before when an abusive spouse dies and immediately is forgiven of all sins and only the good times are remembered. The first time caught me off guard and I committed a social mistake by not recognizing that death changed the situation. I was guarded this time and would not make that mistake again.
I called my friend and spoke to him. As I expected, he was devastated by her death. Despite her numerous health problem, I don’t think he had mentally prepared for her death. He spoke of her in loving terms as if their life together had been one big honeymoon. He was a dutiful husband and he sincerely loved her.
As humans, we have a tremendous capacity to forgive. We also want to desperately forget the bad parts of our lives. I think this is normal and perhaps healthy. I think this is what true love does. I have seen people who are bitter and never let go of the hate and abuse. However, I think with those individuals are seeking attention and victim status from others. True love forgives and forgets the abuse and remembers the love.
Nota Bene: I hope you found this post helpful, but it was really written to help me process my thoughts and feelings about this situation. I find it helpful to write about difficult situations.