This widow's posts about life without her husband will tug at your heartstrings

Anjali Pinto is using social media to chronicle her life without her husband from places they visited together to memories that they shared

Anjali Pinto lost her husband, Jacob, on New Year’s Eve of the year gone by. Anjali had been married to him for four years and lost her husband due to aortic dissection. She took to the internet to share her story on The Every Girl where she said, “This rare and often fatal condition has few warnings.” After her husband’s death, she began writing about him, sharing her experience of the void that her life has been since he passed away on her Instagram account. Most of these posts are Anjali thoughts about what her world would have been had her husband still been by her side. The photos that she supplements the posts with are equally heart-wrenching and draw from the fondest memories she has of him.

Her Instagram bio reads: Daily reflections on a world without my husband and is rightly so as blogs about going on with her daily routines where she misses her husband. Even the slightest actions like reading a book sets her off down memory lane. As she shares in this post that after she finished reading the book Love is a Mix Tape she realised how reading from a widower’s perspective changed the meaning of the book for her altogether.

In one of her posts, Anjali writes about the loss of her husband with whom she shared four and a half years of her life:

One minute he was there, brushing the hair out of my face to kiss me on the forehead and the next he was gone.

Anjali’s thoughts are a mirror to the society’s taboo on grief culture as she vents about how annoying it can be to repeatedly hear: “I know what it’s like to be lonely, well not as lonely as you,” or “I’m so happy for you,” or “If I were you I would just want to go back to my routine.” From people expecting her to go on with her routine as though nothing happened to those who share their opinion about how her public display of grief bothers them, Anjali has faced flak for expressing her sorrow online.

Grief is very much a taboo in our culture. As much as we want to help people that are hurting, we are never taught what to say or do to help. We avoid the conversation all together, or talk about something that makes us more comfortable. People have said to me, meaning to be supportive, remarks that are so upsetting it’s mind boggling. “I know what it’s like to be lonely, well not as lonely as you,” or “I’m so happy for you,” or “If I were you I would just want to go back to my routine,” I have no desire to be critical of people, it brings me no pleasure. I want to be thankful, that I am alive, that I am supported. I want to take what they meant to say instead of what I heard, which is “you’re in my thoughts.” For each of the really dark days I’ve encountered since Jacob died, I have had a mechanism to cope. Friends, traveling, my family, his family, great books, massages, nature. If you have a friend or a loved one going through a loss, do not assume what they are feeling. Do not tell them everything will be okay. Do not tell them what you would have done if you were in their situation. Just listen. Be patient. Be compassionate. Be flexible. Show up. Tell them something that you loved or admired about the person that’s gone. If you never met them, say you wish you had. Acknowledge their loss. Thank you to each and every one of you who has shown up.

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In another post, Anjali says that she sees beauty in death as she writes:

We rarely speak of the beauty in death. Through this experience, I have come to appreciate every little thing my husband did to express his care for me.

Anjali goes on to explain the kind of man Jacob was and the kind of friend that he was. These posts are a direct reflection to Jacob’s personality and the kind of mettle he had.

Jacob was so good at being a friend. He was great at making them, for his warm and open personality, but he was even better at keeping them. He was always helpful, kind, and genuine. It amazed me how easily he welcomed my friends – into our home, our trips, or our yard – and made them his also. No plans were ever strictly ours because there was a chance a friend we hadn’t seen in awhile was available and could join us. With his little humorous comments, he made friends on the Internet in every direction. That’s how he met me. I used to think it was chance, but now I realize more than ever it was him. He was so special, so willing to put his hand out and offer friendship. Because today feels especially hard, I would love if you shared something about your friendship with Jacob that you treasure.

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This one post about her work shows how she struggles with it paints the kind of image we all have about the bereaved lives of people. For anyone who hasn’t lost a dear one, such daily life routines should come naturally to Anjali, but she goes on to describe how on the contrary even her work reminds her of Jacob and his work ethics.

It’s a very fine line to push the ones you love to achieve more, but also be supportive and accept them for who they are right now. I’ve been thinking a lot about what work does to define you. Your legacy, your influence. I’m handing my job over to someone new, and I wish J had the same opportunity. His special perspective and unique skills are lost without him. I know how satisfied he was to do his job and fulfill his dream to make things with his hands, yet he did not have the time enough to really emerge as the artist he was. We had talked about what his website would include – a mix of photography, furniture and design. A few tense conversations led me to feel guilty, having maybe pushed too hard for his long term plan. But by the time of his death, we had really fallen into a safe spot of collaboration and joy in helping each other achieve our dreams. Photo by @jcb_jhnsn

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And this final post about Anjali discovering an old film roll from their first trip to Seattle will sear through your heart.

I took one photo with Jacob’s contax t2, and the roll of film rewound. I had no idea what he had last photographed with it, but anxiously got it developed, waiting to see his message to me. It was a chronicle of our first trip out to Seattle in January after my brother, sister and two nieces moved west. We went sledding, walked around the lake, played with the girls, saw a waterfall & watched the sunset. We savored each moment with a new appreciation and tenderheartedness, knowing we would see so much less of them in the coming year. This particular visual letter to me is as clear as it always was – tell the people you love how much they mean to you, and never stop seeing the beauty in being together.

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Grief is grief, whether it’s public or private. If she gets release from her pain by sharing it with others, should we deny her that? Tell us your thoughts in the comment box below.

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