How many times have you seen someone lose someone & get a sum of money. Then you see them go on vacations, get plastic surgery, buy a new car or just “blow” it? How many times, honestly, have you seen that and judged them in your head? Surely you would know what to do with the money right? You know far better than they do, the person suffering. You deem them reckless and judge their decisions.
I am writing this because I am sick of people not understanding the correlation between grief and money, and why any idea a non-griever has about it is likely wrong. Money does not bring your person back, but it helps you not rot. It does help you stay alive. I’ll explain.
I received two larger sums of money, one being half of a life insurance policy and the other being a GoFundMe. At the time, I didn’t give a shit about either. I was so happy people were expressing their kind words & support, but I couldn’t get happy over the money like I would have if my husband had been alive. It felt like a trade that I did not consent to. I felt like my husband was a sacrificial lamb. It felt gross to get it.
Until I needed it.
I paid my mortgage for nearly 9 months- so I was able to do something “good” with it that was obvious to everyone. But not everyone can do that, and that is totally okay. It really is. I would say half of the money I put to good responsible causes, the other half I literally blew. And I won’t fucking apoligize for it- and if this applies to you too, stop feeling guilty. You deserved any second of happiness or distraction in that horrible time. If you blew every cent you got, yeah you realize later it sucks, but know that more importantly, it kept you alive during a raw disgusting time. You still have to live, even if you don’t want to.
When your person dies, you are overwhelmed. It’s chaos. People are having to make very big decisions, very quickly, and under so much stress. Then you plan their funeral. You pick the flowers, the colors, what they will wear, what you will say. You are so occupied nothing matters.
Then you get home and you realize, there’s nothing left. This is your new life. It will be like this forever. There is nothing left to plan and they will never come through that door ever again. Everyone resumes their normal life, they have to, but yours is all fucked up.
And that’s when you realize you did need it.
People do not realize how quiet it is for a griever or how lonely they are. It is not realized how many times they want to call their mother and tell them something, but then they realize they have to keep it in- because she isn’t here, no one is going to care the way she did. People do not understand how quiet it is when you lose your spouse. My house had 4 children, one being a baby, and I swear I had the most quiet home in the world. I hated it.
So instead of sitting and thinking and sulking, we got up. I asked the kids what they wanted to do. We weren’t already blessed with unlimited funds, so if I didn’t get those prior funds, we would have had to sit. You can only go to a free park so many times. And don’t get me started on parks- the last thing we all wanted to see was a dad smiling and pushing his kid on the swing.
One day we decided to go to Barnes & Nobles. I am using this example specifically because now that I am no longer immersed in raw grief, I’d likely not do this, but at the time it was needed.
The kids walked in and I told them they could have whatever they wanted. Any book, any toy, as much as they wanted. So my bill came out to $900.00. Something I wouldn’t and couldn’t do in my regular life- but my regular life was gone.
In our new life, we realized we do not have time. There is no longer “oh in 5 years we will…” or “maybe one day we will buy that!” We have no idea when our time is. Knowing this fact and it being so in our face- some days I just let the kids have whatever they wanted. We realized how short our time was and there may not be a tomorrow.
I have seen people critized for this too: “spoiling children,” after they experience loss. Except this rule doesn’t apply when they have lost their parent, asshole.
They literally lost 50% of themselves and they deserve to have that made up by any means available. They are not regular children; therefore regular rules do not apply. Buying them each $300 worth of items didn’t fix the permanent hole in their heart, money will never do that, but it did provide a distraction. I was upfront with my kids and told them we wouldn’t always do this- but for now, we would do whatever any of us wanted. It didn’t matter what we spent, we needed the distraction.
Money should be given to grieving people. Grieving people spending money should be left alone and not judged. They need distraction because their life has just become horrible. If they are able to get up (which is a chore in itself) they will need something to help them.
The first month, perhaps longer, I could not get out of bed. I woke up and after I realized every single day it wasn’t a nightmare, it was reality- I was upset I didn’t die in my sleep. Every day I literally had to sit and think of a reason to get up. On the days we didn’t have to be anywhere, that was especially difficult for all of us. Having money helped all of us move. We could go somewhere.
One such distraction we did was a trip to Seaworld. I was going to let the kids buy whatever they wanted in that park, but we didn’t even make it to one ride. One of my kids absolutely lost it. So we went back to the hotel, wasted a super expensive ticket and just sat on a tablet for hours.
But it didn’t matter, because we got up and moved. That was the most important thing, even if it meant we “blew” money.
Money matters to a griever because they likely don’t want to eat or have the energy to cook.
Before my husband died, we made a complete dinner from scratch every night. After he died, none of us were hungry. The one time a day we felt as though we were starving (because we weren’t eating) the last thing we wanted to do was cook a full meal- which in itself was so triggering. So we ate out, almost every day. So expensive. But the most important thing was that we ate.
Not every person grieving gets a random sum of money, but they fucking should. It should be a known thing that if someone dies, you give them money, literally so they can blow it. If they don’t blow it that’s great, but if they do just let it be.
Today I donated money to a family that experienced a loss. When I was doing it- all I thought, was I hope they spend this however they see fit. No matter how ridiculous it looks, because I don’t care. I saw my donation not as some self-righteous gift with hopes that they will use it in a way that I deem appropriate, but rather as hope that the small amount might give them a reason to get out of bed. That when they finally decide to eat, they can reserve the little energy they have and just order something. That I kept them alive for another hour, because they had to do something, whatever that something is for them. That they might be able to a buy a 15 minute distraction with it.
To my non-grieving people: Stop critizing grieving people for what they do with their money- you are so lucky you have no idea and you can’t relate. The only time you should intervene is if they are about to lose their house or something of the like, which isn’t a common thing so just be quiet.
To my grieving people: If it’s in your Amazon Prime cart, just proceed to checkout.