The man I thought I was going to marry died suddenly and young, and while we’d both moved on and he married someone else, I feel like someone punched me in the chest. But also a part of me feels like I don’t have the right to be as upset as I am. We haven’t spoken in years. I was asked to stay away from the funeral out of respect for his widow (whom I’ve never met). I get why, but it just seems like now the business between us will never be finished. I guess I don’t know where to go from here. I have all this grief that I don’t even feel a right to.
You have every right to grieve in whatever manner is necessary.
I don’t know who asked you not to attend the funeral, but unless it was someone speaking directly on behalf of his widow, I would ignore them and go to the funeral anyway. (Since you’ve never met the widow, I doubt this warning came from her, and I’m guessing it was just someone with a personal opinion who’s meddling.)
Unless there’s some serious shit between you and the widow, it’s not at all disrespectful for you to attend his funeral. You don’t have to be all front-row about it, but he was a major part of your life, and you deserve to be there as much as anyone else.
However you decide to say your goodbyes and pay your respects, this is really only the beginning of your grieving process. His death is gonna fuck with you for a long time in ways that you won’t be expecting. Not only is it okay to feel all that shit, but you kinda have to. It doesn’t matter that your lives diverged. He was a part of your life, and you were a part of his. That will always mean something, and it will always be important.