Monthly Archives

May 2017

Why Taking Time with other Widows is Important for Healing in Grief

“Only other widows can understand what you are going through” I have been told. I had forgotten this until a recent gathering of widows at a restaurant for dinner. It is a safe space to talk about your husband and family without getting weird looks or making friends feel uncomfortable. I guess the bottom line is the shared experience and all the diverse ways of coping. You can see it in others, a time for crying, a time for sadness, and a time for joy all rolled into one. You don’t have to know each other well to know what we are going through. There are so many decisions to make and a life to build. We discuss our children and how they are coping. It’s a place where your kids in therapy feels normal again as many share recommendations for their therapist.

I hope we can be that for each other here as well. A common experience building trust and encouragement among ourselves. I have been so lucky to have great people surrounding me with love and support. I hope that for you as well. But there are things we can do to open ourselves up to relationships. Here are some suggestions that have helped me.

1.       Volunteer:

Helping others helps you by taking your attention off yourself. It is always a mood elevator to feel you are helping others. But an extra remarkable thing about it is the people you meet, whether it be who you are helping or other volunteers.

 

2.       Join a group:

Find a group that feels right for you whether it is a grief support group or a social group. This can help you find people to share ideas and share common interests.

 

3.       Get involved in your faith:

It’s a suitable time for whatever that means to you. There are book clubs, places of worship, and faith groups. Connect with others of your faith or explore other faiths with new crowds.

 

4.       Do something new:

I mention this a lot but putting yourself beyond your comfort zone and taking chances opens new possibilities of new friends and relationships.

 

There’s a balance between finding your place where you feel “normal” or comfortable again and sometimes finding your place in unlikely places when we embrace new experiences. Just in the last few weeks I have done several new things, I would have never done before now. I painted a house for Habitat for Humanity with other church volunteers. I worked the reception desk at our church’s senior prom for those over 70. I drove nearly an hour each way to have dinner with other widows in a social widow’s group. I have had a ball doing these things and they are all new experiences. We can continue to grow and make new relationships by opening ourselves to others and new situations. There is a place where we feel normal and comfortable again. We just need to find it and be that for each other. Let me know what you have done to increase your relationships.

Anger and Coping with Widow’s Grief

 

It’s a year and 3 months since my husband passed and I can honestly say I’ve never spent a day angry in all that time. I’ve looked at the stages of grief many times over the past year: denial, anger, bargaining, depression and acceptance. I kept staring at anger and saying why would I be angry. I wasn’t angry at my husband, far from it. I wasn’t angry with God. I was puzzled by anger. Maybe because of my upbringing I just avoid anger at all costs. Well, long story short, as they say, today I am angry.

 

I don’t know what to do with my anger. I’m angry I must do all the things my husband always did. I’m angry I had to spend 4 hours yesterday working on my monthly schedule and my monthly budget which he always kept. I’m angry I must do all the housecleaning, shopping, cooking, parenting, laundry, paying bills, all while working full time. Just me. I know by this time you are saying, “Stop whining, single parents do this all the time” or “What are you complaining about? He obviously spoiled you”.

 

You are right on all accounts but I’m still mad. I’m angry at the situation. I’m angry this has happened. I’m angry at what I am missing in not getting to grow older with my spouse. When My husband and I would argue, I would say “I’m mad at you” and with my southern accent it would always sound like mad “atchoo”. But don’t you have to have someone to be mad at?

 

Ultimately, I think the deep guilt I’ve harbored over the last year has been anger at myself and I didn’t realize it then. Well, I’ve kicked around things in my home and cried it out and nope angry doesn’t really help anything. Okay, so trying to stay positive here. What would help me to not be angry?

 

1.       Forgiveness and mercy

 

I’ve mentioned this before in talking about forgiving your mistakes, but here I think it is even more needed grace in getting over anger.

 

2.       Recognize my successes

 

I’m often frustrated with things not going the way I planned and this is close to anger. I must keep reminding myself just how far I’ve come in the past year and I did that.

 

3.       More planned relaxation

 

There is always something that must be done and I feel like I’m running between tasks. So, slow down and plan for downtime.

 

4.       Exercise

 

Believe me I’m usually the last person you would think who would be suggesting exercise but it is a fantastic way to deal with anger. I can push myself hard on the bike and it gets rid of anger and elevates my mood with all those endorphins.

 

So, there you are my advice about anger and coping with Widow’s Grief. I’m sure there are many more I haven’t thought of here in this article. I’d be interested in hearing about your experiences with anger related to grief and how you have dealt with it. Feel free to share some of your ideas.