View Full Version : A question from my son

01-12-2014, 02:02 PM
I was in the car with my 9 years old boy, waiting for my eldest son who bought something in a shop. Suddenly he asked me
"Dad, is there difference between feeling of being a widower and feeling of being a male divorced?"
I was shocked to hear it, but I replied "Yes, there is difference"
"What's the difference?" He asked me again
It made me confused, but I answer "Eemmm .... no, not so different. But why you ask like this?"
"I am just curious"

Maybe he can understand what I feel as a widower. But I am surprised because he was so curious to know the difference between feeling of being a widower and feeling of being a male divorced. He is 9 years old boy!

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sister herb
01-12-2014, 02:54 PM
I donĀ“t see it very surprising as life has put your children think many things last times (after they lost they mother), specially the things what might not comes very often to the mind of 9 year olds.

May Allah protect always this little brother. :statisfie

01-12-2014, 03:20 PM
What a mature question for a boy of his age!

I have never been widowed or divorced myself ... but I imagine that the sense of having lost one's life partner is possibly not so different.
Your son sounds like somebody who is concerned about the feelings of others and who likes to understand. You must be proud of him! :)

01-12-2014, 03:32 PM
I don't know exactly what to say.

Technically, being divorce means that the 'pair' has separated. For the child(ren) it means that their parents would not be living together anymore but the child(ren) can still meet up with the other parent.

Being a widower means that the other half has left the world and the child(ren) will never see the other parent again.


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01-12-2014, 04:04 PM

You should probably sit down with your son and have a one-on-one talk with him about this question what he means because it can be kind of confusing the way he worded it.

Both being a widow and having your marriage fail (divorce) is a big test from Allah Subhanahuwallah. What you do prior to this happening is really important from the eyes of Allah Subhanahuwatallah and your own well-being.

Start with talking about your situation right now with your son. Being a widower, you know that your first and only marriage
(I think) as well as your wives' first and only marriage (I think) was a great success. That Allah Subhanahuwatallah is pleased with your effort of getting married and staying married as Marriage completes half your deen. http://www.islamhelpline.net/node/8512 ... When Christians get married, I believe they say, "Till Death Do Us Part." But Half Of Those Marriage's Fail... In your mind, you know in your heart that you did the best you could have done for your wife, and that you will see her in Jannah with a beautiful smile, body, and maybe have your favourite rice ready for you ;D

As for divorce, it's much more tougher and harder to go through each process. When a divorce happens, the greatest victim is not you, or your wife,
the greatest victim after a divorce are the children. They will feel unwelcome, confused, and blame themselves for what occurred. They won't know who lied, who cheated, who was wrong. So if you would like, talk about divorce with your children and how you and your wives' hardship throughout marriage got you into a lot of problems, BUT your wife stayed with you and Allah Subhanahuwatallah will be graceful with it.

Widower: a man who has lost his wife by death and has not remarried.

Divorce: legally dissolve one's marriage with (someone).

When marrying, we should choose righteous spouses who adhere firmly to their religion, who respect the sanctity of marriage and the importance of good treatment (of spouses). It is not permissible to be careless with regard to this matter. Such heedlessness has become widespread nowadays, with regard to this important matter. People give their daughters and female relatives in marriage to men who do not fear Allaah and the Last Day, and they end up complaining about the husbands and they are confused about how to deal with them. If they had looked for a righteous man before marriage, Allaah would have made it easy for them (to find such a man). But in most cases this stems from negligence and a failure to seek righteous husbands, and a bad man can never be suitable. It is not permissible to take this matter lightly, because (such a man) will mistreat the woman and he may lead her away from her religion or influence her children. End quote.


01-12-2014, 04:15 PM
We back from dine out, and on the way we talked about plan to go to my sister in-law wedding. She is a widow and the man who will be the groom is male divorced who has had close with my wife family, through my sister in-law son, since around two years ago.

Maybe it's inspired my son to ask that question.


01-12-2014, 04:59 PM
Hmm, something may have sparked that question and if it's your sister-in-law getting married to a divorcee, it may have made your son wonder if you too will remarry? In any case, this time will be much harder on your children as they've lost their mother and undoubtedly miss her a lot. So you may want to discuss the matter with them, to get all their feelings out into the open.

01-12-2014, 05:01 PM
Assalamu Alaikum

As they describes it,"Like father like Son",Masha Allah.Apparently,He seems to have a deep sense of “knowing” that accompanies empathy and understanding of others.Anyway,hope you will enjoy this read.

The Divorced and the Widowed normally agree to share a thin isthmus of common ground where the idea that each state marks a loss of a marriage is concerned, but while the Divorced believe the losses are slight variations on the same theme, Widowed adamantly object to what they see as a presumption.

Divorced feel that mourning the end of a marriage with its letting go of hopes, dreams and an intimate enduring relationship mirrors very closely the process that widowed must also go through.

“Except for that dead body in the room,” widowed counter.
And they are correct.

Let the howling protest of dissent begin.

Though divorce is not as dissimilar to the technical aspects of being widowed as widowed would like to believe – or the comparison as offensive - though they might howl with the ferocity of Hamlet ranting at his mother – any person who seeks empathetic ground with a widowed by offering their divorce for comparison is going to be met with disdain that is barely a step above that reserved for those people who try to compare the death of their Fluffy or Spot with a widowed person’s spouse.

Divorced (and probably a few widowed as well) miss the point though because they are looking at the forest and not the type of trees that populate it. It is not the dissolution of the marriage that is the issue but the mechanism of grief that it triggers. Grieving just a marriage is far different from the grief that accompanies the profound loss of a person. Widows aren’t grieving marriages.

Pros and Cons
While grieving the loss of their marriage, a divorced person might recall the benefits now lost and the good times had but at the heart of divorce lie very good reasons for separation which outweigh the formers. That the cons eventually carry the day is what helps the divorced person move on.
A widowed person, by and large, has a “pro” heavy versus “con” light list. He/she is seldom under any illusions about the marriage or the late spouse, but for him/her the good outweighs the bad. There is a good reason for that. Though the grief industry has defaulted over the decades to highlight the sadness, it is actually the positive emotions and memories that sustain the bereaved and are essentially what moves them forward and back to life.

So when the divorced person needs the focus to be on the very good reasons for moving away from a former marriage and bond in order to move on and perhaps build a new life and relationship with someone else, the widowed person needs to hang on to the good memories and positive attributes of the deceased to keep from drowning in the intense sadness. This helps with the healing of the broken bonds that they never intended to break. The regaining of optimism feeds their resilience, which research has shown is what separates the majority who weather bereavement from those who are incapacitated by it.

Protesting Too Much
Therefore, the “sainting” of a late spouse/union, which baffles and irritates potential new partners who have divorced or never-married points of view is important for the widowed person if they hope to move on with someone new.

George Bonanno in his book, The Other Side of Sadness, notes that the overwhelming majority of bereaved will focus on good times and traits to the exclusion of the negative. They will do this even though they know the deceased and the relationship weren’t perfect. The need to look on the good side is integral to the healing process.

Widowed folk tend to react vehemently to the idea that their situations are like divorce at all. Often they will retort, “I didn’t choose to be widowed.” Which is a stinging indictment of the divorced and never-married.

No little boy or girl grows up dreaming of being one half of a “broken” marriage or being viewed as emotionally dysfunctional because they enter their middle-aged without having settled into marriage. That’s silly and incorrect.

However, the reality is that divorce, or never marrying, offers a slightly better measure of control than widowhood, which basically offers none.

Not The Same
A key then to avoiding a clash of expectations/world views in a relationship where one party is widowed and the other is not is recognizing that the emotional factors necessary for moving into a new relationship are different for both parties.

Divorced need the good reasons for having moved out of a past marriage to motivate them towards a new relationship, and widowed need their good memories to remind them of why moving into a new relationships is well-worth doing.

Pushing a widowed person to “cough up the goods” on a deceased partner probably slows their healing process. It’s counter intuitive to what some call the “grief process”.

This isn’t to say that the new partner of a widowed person should be subjected to frequent (or any, really) out of context trots down happy memory lane. It does mean that a person who is still doing a lot of that type of verbalizing is still likely working towards – not acceptance (the idea that the bereaved struggle to accept the reality of death is a fallacy as that comes quite quickly really) – but towards a place where real building of a new relationship and moving on can begin to happen.

The Reality of Grief
The other difference between divorce and bereavement is the intense sadness. In Chapter Three of The Other Side of Sadness, Bonanno discusses one of his case subjects, a man named Robert, who lost his sister to a brain tumor. Though Robert had experienced the loss of both his parents earlier, it wasn’t until his sister’s death that he truly experienced a profound loss and the grief that comes with it.

Too often people make the mistake of believing that losing anyone (or a pet) means that we all share a common experience known as grief. It is, however, the connection between two people (and no, not a person to pet) which determines the intensity of the grief. Often the connections between spouses, or between parent and child, are the deepest, and therefore the most heart-rending of losses we can ever know.

Even Bonanno reminds his readers that intellectually we can know what grief is and yet have no actual understanding of what it feels like unless we have experienced the intense connection to another that can near literally tear our hearts in two with its almost depthless sadness when we lose it. Such a profound loss leaves the bereaved consumed to the point where breath feels precarious and tears are impossible to stem. It’s a crushing darkness in the brightest sunlight, threatening to blot out sanity itself.

Grief is essentially a stress reaction employed by the mind/body to help deal with the feeling that we are physically at risk. It’s oscillating nature defies current grief industry definitions that would have us believe that it is continuous, plodding from one step to another until it reaches a finish line. The human body couldn’t withstand the stress and for this reason – good feelings, positivity and happy memories are vital. They are the “eye” of grief’s hurricane without which it would kill us.

So when a widowed person tells someone, “You don’t understand” and that person takes offense/exception – it’s likely because he/she has yet to encounter this profound level of sadness that is otherwise known as grief.

It’s neither a good nor a bad thing to “not understand” but the attempt to superimpose another type of loss over the top of a widowed person’s experience to make it fit is asking for misunderstanding with compound interest.

Widowhood and Divorce share the loss of a marriage. What they don’t share are the same means for moving on or the same level of grief.

01-12-2014, 05:16 PM

Widower is final journey with that particular partner. You cannot solve the problem of death. It can happen anytime. Not by choice. You may remarry, but to a different person. You can work through everything else but death.

Divorce is a choice.

Only similarity is that you are without partner.


01-12-2014, 07:55 PM
Children speak the truth and can sense things & pick up things even when the adults try their utmost to hide things from them...

I think your son is also in need of a fatherly chat. Comfort him and speak to him even if you think he is too young to understand - it will open up the doors of communication and you will have a stronger bond as a result. Insha Allah.

May Allah swa help you and your family in this life and the next Ameen.

01-13-2014, 01:19 AM
Originally Posted by greenhill
Only similarity is that you are without partner.
Living without partner is the only similarity between widow/widower and divorced people. But other things are different. What widow/widower feel on their deceased spouse is different than what divorced people feel on their ex who still alive.

Originally Posted by Dreamin
Hmm, something may have sparked that question and if it's your sister-in-law getting married to a divorcee, it may have made your son wonder if you too will remarry?
I think not my sister-in-law, but the man who will become her husband that sparked my son to ask that question. My son knows that man is male divorcee, maybe my son heard it from my wife family when they talked about him.

Originally Posted by Dreamin
In any case, this time will be much harder on your children as they've lost their mother and undoubtedly miss her a lot. So you may want to discuss the matter with them, to get all their feelings out into the open.
At the moment I feel that my children haven't ready to accept a new woman as their mother. I know they still need a time.

Originally Posted by Iceee
When Christians get married, I believe they say, "Till Death Do Us Part."
I am not Christian, but "Till Death Do Us Part" was my promise when I got married. My other promises were "There' s no another woman" and "Whatever happen to my wife I will not leave her and I shall always love her".

The last year of my wife life was the hardest time when I must take care her, bathed her, cleaned up her because she could not do anything. But I never complain, not only because I love my wife, but also because I felt grateful. At least I had a wife while some other people were still unmarried.

Grateful on the spouse who Allah give to us. This is what will make us always love them.

01-13-2014, 05:12 PM
Few days ago my eldest son told me when he back from school
"Dad, I want to hold Qur'an recitation event for mom!"

I understood what he meant. He wanted to invite people to gather, read tahlil and surah Yaseen. Something that not from sunnah but have become tradition in my place. I told him
"You don't need to hold event like this. Just send du'a for mom"
"But I have been saving my money!" he replied.
"How much?"
"Enough for the consumption, I have counted it"

I felt touched to hear it. But I just smile and told him
"Just send du'a for mom, and save your money".

I was so surprised when I realize my son love to his mother.

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