Thursday, 22 December 2011

Culture clash and grief

I haven't posted for a while because I have had loads of other stuff going on in my life, actually lately it feels like my life has been all about work.

Anyway, Christmas is upon us and I'm spending time with the family which is always great, chatting to Little Sis is always good for my soul and I am spending sometime with Little Brother and Baba tomorrow.

Last time I was here, Little Sis introduced me to a lovely lady who is sort of in the same boat as me... no she isn't a birth mother, but she was married to an Algerian man which unfortunately died when he was back visiting Algeria this summer.

It is strange that after so many years, I finally get to meet someone who I can identify with, someone who shares my experience of losing your soul mate.  Being from two different cultures is hard in any relationships but more so in death.  I tried  once to explain to Little Sis that for me a part of the goodbye would have to see him being lowered into the grave and that their tradition of having his body in the house before the funeral would have shattered me into so many little pieces I would never have recovered.

It is not that others don't empathise with us, it is just if you haven't being in our boat, how can you understand:
  • how it is to loose someone when they were thousands of miles away from you and you did not get a chance to say your final goodbye before they died. 
  • what it is like not to have a grave to go to as they are buried in their home country
  • how we feel "alienated" from part of the grieving process because the cultural difference, including not not being able to attend the funeral
  • the fact that your cultural background has a process of dealing with death you will need to follow and this might be at odds with your husband's family's beliefs.
  • that we want to remember our husbands in our way - you see, you know your husband better than everyone in his family, there are things about him he would only you knew and this might be how you want to remember him.
  • and finally, we that we do not want to find ourself a new man, partly because (for me I had already my soul mate) but also that we are worried that if we fall in love again and this person too might be taken away from us.. 
the only person who can understand this is someone who have walk down this path before you... I just hope that I can be there for this lady the way I wished someone could have been there for me.

For today, the two of us are spending a day together and she is taking me to  a beach somewhere, I did suggest that we did something for our beloved hubbies like maybe get some flowers and have our own private memorial service for them.  She thought that was a good idea and I'm actually am really looking forward to this.   Strange... but I think I have never actually had a "memorial service" and I do not think she had one either.  For me it might be nearly 17 years late but as they say better late than never.

Hopefully, today is a step towards healing both of us and maybe a start of a wonderful tradition for the both of us.

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