Shortly after my mother-in-law passed away, my father-in-law, only in his late fifties, said to me with tears brimming in his eyes, "You can't understand this until you've gone through it." It's a moment I've never forgotten. It taught me that there is a difference between compassion and empathy, and it is good to be compassionate as long as you remember the limits of your empathy.
I believe his counsel has helped me in my life as I have the opportunity in my professional work to be associated with many widows and widowers. They have taught me many things about grief, about life, and about love as several of them have opened up their hearts much as my father-in-law did.
I admire each of these people for their courage and their faith and their hope that they can emerge stronger, more compassionate, and supportive of those who walk the same path they are walking.
I am quite sure none of them have ever said, shrugging their shoulders, "When my soul mate died, it was a great lesson! I learned that I want to be remembered! La-di-da, la-di-da."