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Smith: Grief has no set time table

November 06, 2012|By Steve Smith

It was just a line in last week's column, but it prompted several responses, most of which were positive.

The line mentioned that I had someone new and special in my life and in most circumstances, that would not be a big deal for a single man. The difference here is that my late wife died five months ago and for some, there is not enough distance between her death and the start of another relationship.

Those people are wrong, but trying to convince them is nearly impossible because they have some idea in their head that I need to wait a certain amount of time before I start dating. Whether they believe I should wait out of respect or just to give myself time to make sure I am "grieved out," so to speak, they have this time frame in their heads and it is unshakable.

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The truth is that I have more than someone new and special in my life — I have a girlfriend. If that bothers some readers or some friends and family, too bad. What these people do not understand is something I learned through the amazing support team at Hoag Hospital during my late wife's treatment for brain cancer.

I learned that everyone deals with these situations differently. So, for example, when my best friend went missing in action after he heard the cancer news and was not in contact with me for about a year, I did not judge him because I believed what I was taught. I knew that some people would run to me and some would run from me. I learned that I should not judge the people who run from me because they were dealing with this tragedy in their own way. Call it denial, perhaps, it doesn't matter — that is their way. Running from me did not mean that they did not care about me, it meant only that they were dealing with death and even at arms length, it made them very uncomfortable.

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