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12 Tips to Help with Internet Safety against Widow Romance Scams

Widow Romance Scams

Even though I knew it couldn’t be true. I was recently suckered into an internet conversation with a seemingly nice man that turned out to be a Widow Romance Scams. I’m so embarrassed but a sucker none the less for wanting at least a male friendship conversation. I joined an internet dating site and I often have Facebook messaging on my blog here at A Widow’s Heart. There are widowers out there who also need support. I know that the experience of being a widower especially with children is different than our experience as widows. https://www.patriciamckenna.blog/

I won’t bore you with all the details but I encourage you to Google Widow Romance Scams. Apparently, we look like easy targets that give in to compliments and loneliness. Unfortunately, this can lead to broken hearts and broken wallets. Once you are made to feel you know them then they start asking for money for many different urgent personal problems or maybe just to come see you. Eventually, the person disappears with your money and you’re left not knowing what happened.

Remember you never know who is really behind that text, email, or Facebook message. Photos are often stolen from the internet without the person’s knowledge and used for Widows Romance Scams. Fake Facebook profiles are created and friend requests are sent. Never accept a Facebook Friend request from someone you don’t know in real life even if it says you have a mutual friend. https://www.facebook.com/groups/AWidowsHeart/

Here are 12 tips to help you with internet safety and avoiding Widow Romance Scams:

1. Men who have names that are 2 First Names like for example William George
2. Men who claim to be in the military since these photos are stolen more often and women tend to trust a military man.
3. Typos, poor grammar, misspelled words often throughout conversations
4. Inconsistencies in storyline information about themselves
5. Lies that always have an excuse
6. Flowery romantic language from someone you just started talking to recently
7. Professions of love from someone you just started talking to recently
8. Always an excuse not to meet for face to face date
9. Photos of themselves with cute children supposedly theirs because this increases trust
10. If you have never met someone face to face then you don’t even know if they are real.
11. Conversations are more often about you to gather more information about you
12. Often addresses you as “Dear”

Often it can be more than one person portraying one profile since different people can work on different shifts. More often the conversations occur late at night when widows are more lonely and open to influence. Perhaps, a sad commentary on the world today that people would prey on widows who can be so vulnerable. It is not new. It just has spread to the new medium of the internet and social media. They were the snake oil salesmen of yesteryear. Gosh, I sound old. Nevertheless, I hope these tips help you to avoid heartache and empty wallets, especially during the upcoming Valentine’s Day season. Join our New Closed Facebook group for A Widow’s Heart for Women Only with increased safety and peace of mind, https://www.facebook.com/groups/AWidowsHeart/ I look forward to talking with you in the group. Peace and all Good.

A Widow’s Christmas None the Less

A Widow's Christmas Decorating the Christmas tree

I’m sitting in the dark with just the light of my Christmas tree. It is my 52nd Christmas but my first Christmas without my husband. The live Christmas tree fills the air with the thick scent of pine. I find peace and stillness here by the glow of the Christmas tree. I have discovered new levels to A Widow’s Christmas this year. Like every season, nothing comes as easy as I think it should or would as a widow. So, this is Christmas after loss and tragedy, A Widow’s Christmas, and it mirrors or magnifies how we try to live our lives as widows every day.

What Christmas means to me is love and relationships. Some traditions no longer make any sense, like for my family piling in the car to look at Christmas lights. But some you just modify, for example, my son will be reading The Night Before Christmas story before bed. Life keeps tumbling along and it is what you make of it even now. I can honestly say I have been filled with Christmas spirit. The anticipation of Christmas morning is still alive and well.

Last year I ran away from A Widow’s Christmas on a trip to Europe. This year I have been running toward A Widow’s Christmas. The waiting of advent for the birth of Christ we celebrate at Christmas has reawakened my sense of gray areas and not everything is black and white. I have found joy, adventure, and stillness this Christmas season. Christmas is a promise of a better life, stability and staying awake in preparation. All these things are still true. But Christmas, cuts much, much deeper with loneliness and a realization of changes when you are a widow. Christmas is different in our various stages of life.

Christmas as a child, as a teenager, newlyweds, your first child, big family gatherings, as a widow, and as a grandparent. Our Christmases mark time but our Christmas joy remains. As a widow, it’s no longer about giddy happiness but a gratitude for the love and relationships in my life. This is my Widow’s Christmas joy and it remains even after loss and hardship. It’s perfectly okay to miss our husbands who are now in heaven, but we need to make sure we don’t miss out on the love and relationships that remain.

In the words of Clarence, the angel from It’s a Wonderful Life, “You see George you really had a wonderful life. It’d be a pity to through it all away” Cherish every hug and laughter as the gift wrap is torn from packages and don’t miss a thing.

Do something just for you. Buy something just for you. Love it all and take it in just for you. We only have a certain number of Christmases and we don’t know which one will be our last Christmas. Embrace your life and the ones around you. Talk to and pray for our husbands. Really own it, when you wear those silly hats. Belt out those Christmas carols even if you can’t sing. Life is big, busy, beautiful and messy and Christmas amplifies all of that. Check out https://www.patriciamckenna.blog/10-ways-survive-grief-holidays/

Many are sad and lonely at Christmas. It’s not just reserved for us widows. Some are distant from their husbands in the military. Some are sitting beside hospital beds during Christmas. Some are working on Christmas. But, Christmas comes none the less for widows and everyone else and it warms the heart and toes. Sending you love and blessings for A Widow’s Christmas. Peace and All Good.

10 Ways to Survive Grief During the Holidays

Holidays Red and Pink Christmas Lights

If holidays and grief don’t seem like they would go together, you are not far off from traditional thinking. I refuse to survive the holidays but seek to survive grief during the holidays. Last year I completely bailed on the holidays and went for a two-week vacation with my daughter to Europe. Rome and Paris were beautiful, don’t get me wrong, but I found out you cannot outrun Christmas. We spent Christmas Day eating macaroons, drinking mimosas and watching cartoons all day. So, this being my First Christmas, in my estimation, since my husband passed February 10th, 2016, how am I going to spend it you might ask. Like I do most things now I am going to embrace it but in my own way. First, I have asked myself some questions like: “What does Christmas really mean to me? How do I want to celebrate this meaning? Who do I want to be with when I am celebrating?”

Here are 10 ways to Survive Grief during the Holidays:

1. Make a list of all the things you do for Christmas including traditions and tasks. You get to decide which ones you want to do this year or not, maybe next year. Do what you feel comfortable doing. Give yourself some grace to decide not to do some things this year.

2. You knew it was coming. Add New things to your list of to do this Christmas and New Years. Add something special just for you. A special gift you buy yourself or a new tradition such as lighting a candle for your loved one’s memory and presence. Take a new slant on a long-standing tradition.

3. Don’t feel guilty about letting yourself smile, laugh and enjoy the holidays. Your loved one would have wanted that for you.

4. If going to party or event prepare yourself for possible questions with a set answer to repeat over and over.

5. If invitations are daunting just give a “Tentative Yes” or “I’ll let you know”. Remember it’s okay to excuse yourself from attending or excuse yourself early from a party.

6. Recognize your blessings even if it hasn’t felt like the best year of your life.

7. Help others by volunteering for those less fortunate than you. It will get your mind off yourself and can bring joy and thankfulness into your life.

8. Avoid emotional ambushes by not putting yourself in situations where this will happen because of your sense of duty.

9. Turn to God or your higher power for grace in prayer. Use your silent time wisely to relax and grow in spirituality. I recommend a Griefshare group. They are running Surviving the Holidays seminars. Here is the link to find out more about one in your area: https://www.griefshare.org/

10. Most importantly love yourself. I know Christmas and other holidays we are supposed to think of others but it’s ok to put yourself first this year. There will be more years and more Christmas times. Here is my article on relaxing and stress relief: https://www.patriciamckenna.blog/stress-relief-grief-process/

I will be digging deep inside for strength and grace these holidays. This may be the last Christmas before my daughter goes to college and the last Christmas my son is still a college student but it is a new Christmas for me. It will come with blessings, tears, laughter, mistakes, and all the messiness that makes life worth living. Happy Holidays! Peace and all Good!

Come Meet your “Wisters” and the Modern Widows Club

Carolyn Moor and Patricia McKenna

In 2011, Carolyn Moor started the Modern Widows Club after the death of her husband on Valentine’s Day. It has been her passion ever since then to empower and help women grow in their lives after they have experienced a loss of their spouse. She and her members have fashioned the name “Wister” to indicate widowed sister. Groups that meet all over the United States concentrate on support and encouragement and foster social interaction among fellow widows. I have had the pleasure to be a member, since mid-May 2016 which was three months after my husband passed on February 10th, 2016. Some people might say that was too soon but it has empowered me to think about my loss in a new way and reach out to others. Carolyn Moor and her group Modern Widows Club inspired me to start my blog, A Widow’s Heart to support other widows.

The National Founder, Carolyn Moor, visited our local Modern Widows Club group recently and I was lucky enough to get to interview her. The following is our conversation.

Patricia: What do you think are the greatest challenges facing widows?

Carolyn: The isolation is a very big difficulty, partly because the lack of being able to have another voice in all the decisions that you need to make. What I see happen is financial and legal is the first hurdle. The next is practicing self-care. They really don’t have a reason to take care of themselves. Until they figure out that they have some purpose and meaning, then they are not going to care about making decisions about their livelihood. It kind of goes back to Maslow’s Hierarchy of needs. As you look at this pyramid, it goes to the bottom where it is primal. Am I safe? Can I keep my home? Am I going to be able to eat? It goes back to “Is anyone going to hug me?”, that human connection. As you look at the Maslow’s Hierarchy of needs chart, it truly is the widow’s journey. You go from the top of the pyramid right down to the bottom when your spouse dies. Again, this goes back to my philosophy of building a foundation. You literally are like building a new pyramid for your life.

Patricia: What are the elements of the foundation?

Carolyn: The foundational elements are Faith, Self-Compassion, and Trust. You are trusting other new people at the same time as trying to trust that you have the capability to trust yourself. It’s like a self-fulfilling prophecy. You must see the areas where you are doing well and praise yourself. That’s where the self-compassion comes in, then that keeps perpetuating and building itself. This will build your confidence in yourself and your decisions. Self-esteem and confidence is the number one thing women have said they have lost. Without these two things, it’s hard to make decisions and move forward. You need to connect with others and this opens a whole new world for you. None of us knew what that was going to be from day one.

Patricia: What have you learned as a widow overall?

Carolyn: I have learned that I am capable of creating, aware of blessings, but also being aware that miracles happen every day. I think that is part of getting back to the innocence. I didn’t realize this experience was going to make me live more alive. I always say my last name is Moor and that means two things. I am living more alive and I am more for a lot of ladies. Modern Widows Club is somewhere to tie on to when the seas are really rocky, for a time, until they’re ready to go back out into this ocean and find new horizons. My name literally is Moor. I feel I have become who my true self is and I would not have been able to do that without my husband, Chad, pointing me in this direction on his way out. I know a lot more of the pieces of the puzzle now because I have had a lot more time to see the puzzle pieces fall into place. That’s what I would tell our ladies is to see every experience as a piece of the puzzle. It’s not good or bad it’s just a piece of the puzzle.

Patricia: How many widows are there out there now?

Carolyn: In 2011, there were 12.6 million widows in the United States. From the 2015 World Widows Report, internationally, it’s 258 million widows caring for 585 million fatherless children. The numbers are staggering around the world.

Patricia: You have said before that “They’re so many widows and their needs are underserved”. What do you mean by that?

Carolyn: We have already done our own research. We took three pilot cities and called 100 places of worship just to get an idea of what is available for those cities. We picked Seattle, Orlando and Kansas City just to get different demographics. Only 10 to 15% of places of worship have anything for widows, younger or older. They might have a luncheon and the majority of those were in synagogues. For me as a Christian woman, I was really kind of shocked. Why? I had two churches turn me down to start a widow’s ministry because there wasn’t need. It’s the case of a couple of things. Everybody thinks someone else is doing something, right, and they are not. Also, I honestly don’t think they know how to do it. They don’t know how to create widow leaders. They don’t understand that widows do not want married, single or divorced women teaching their classes. Most places of worship are managed by men and the most receptive ones are managed by women. So, we have a patriarchic society that really does not see the need. Richard Branson has said, “That which is misunderstood will be underserved”. That’s what we are a misunderstood group of women, that is not being served because no one knows how to do it. So, we at Modern Widows Club are doing it. We depend on other widows to provide and fill the need.

Patricia: What would you like to see for widows going into the future?

Carolyn: I think it’s critical to get a widow’s leadership and mentoring curriculum based on the real data and research that we already have, almost like ministries all over the world. Widows want to step up and be leaders, they just don’t know how to do it. They need this support so we can create and support more widow leaders, mentors, and advocates. This is going to make the biggest difference for widows in our lifetime.

Patricia: So our audience will know, “What is involved in the process of mentoring?”

Carolyn: Mentoring works in every area. It works in corporations and children like with Big Brothers and Big Sisters. I’ve researched mentoring and how effective it can be. All the science says if you have one person who really cares about your fulfillment and livelihood and they have more experience than you in that area, then it just makes sense to apply it widow to widow. It’s no different than other mentoring experiences. The dynamic is still the same, one person is disadvantaged and one person is advantaged and they are willing to share what they know and have done. Resiliency science is important. Mentoring is taking the time to care and not leaving the situation. A mentor commits a portion of themselves to empower a portion of you.

Patricia: Is there a lot of resilience science out there?

Carolyn: We hope they come and study our group Modern Widow’s Club. We have already been featured in the Wall Street Journal as an example of resilience. When women first come to Modern Widows Club, they have what is called “sky eyes”, meaning they are just staring out and only halfway there. I don’t know what it takes to turn someone’s “sky eyes” into “soul eyes” because “soul eyes” are when you can see the person shining through. That’s what we want our ladies to get back to. I don’t know what the process or the exact science or the exact formula or the experiences or whatever creates that because I don’t think anyone has the answer to that. Some of the things that we do, helps that miracle to happen. So, we are doing something right. We meet many of our widow leaders that it has happened for them.

Patricia: What advice would you give people in helping other widows?

Carolyn: The best advice I could give is to be a great encourager, always, and to be willing to hold space and give them time, your time, for as long as it takes. That is the most important thing your presence. That’s all you’re called to do. You need to know that the trust you have with this person meant something and it was meant to be.

Patricia: What advice would you give my readers, the widows themselves?

Carolyn: That you are more powerful than you even know.
I enjoyed my time I got to spend with Carolyn. She is a smart, compassionate woman. I recommend you check out the Modern Widows Club online. Here is the link: https://modernwidowsclub.com Check them out on Facebook as well at https://www.facebook.com/modernwidowsclub. I look forward to supporting and mentoring you all through my blog. Peace and All Good.

3 Ways of Stress Relief during Grief Process: A Widow’s Health

stress relief flowers and oils

Healthy is not exactly the word I would use to describe myself, but nonetheless I realize its importance, especially during the healing needed during our grief process. I don’t think anyone would debate the idea that loss and grieving is very stressful emotionally and physically. We need to take time for ourselves for stress relief. I’ll just admit it, I have a tough time relaxing. Holding everything all together isn’t easy and I have a natural tendency to be a worrier. I have previously mentioned meditation and I still subscribe to this stress relieving technique. But, yes, you know where I’m going with this. I have some new ideas for you that I have recently tried that I am excited to share with you.

3 Ways of Stress Relief during Grief Process:

1. Essential Oils
I am loving trying new scents for relaxation and stress relief like Lavender and others for energy like Xiang Mao. I can breathe better with Peppermint. I use them in my Desert Mist diffuser that is also a humidifier. I know, I never thought I’d be the one to use this stuff right. I have been so surprised about how much I love it. Here is the link to my Young Living On-line Store https://www.myyl.com/awidowsheart You can also access through my website in the upper left menu as Healthy Young Living. We have pure excellent quality essential oils from seed to seal.

2. Music
Another wonderful thing I have discovered is Spa Music. This is channel 68 on Sirius XM but I’m sure you can get it at other places. You may have other music that works for you to relax. I’ve discovered for me music with words makes me want to know the words so I cannot disconnect and relax. There is nothing quite like harp music for instance. http://www.siriusxm.com/

3. Water
If we are talking healthy, and we are, you must drink more water. No matter how much water you are currently drinking you probably need more water. Staying hydrated is important for stress relief. I’ll be honest though, sometimes it’s a glass of wine or a beer for me. I, also, have a crazy obsession with orange Crush soda too. I have also started drinking NingXia Red from my Young Living On-line store https://www.myyl.com/awidowsheart It’s delicious and helps me to have more energy. The drink’s formula includes wolfberry, which is known for its health benefits. It features plum, aronia, cherry, blueberry, and pomegranate juices and extracts. Young Living’s NingXia Red is packed with superfoods to support overall wellness. One bottle can last me up to 2 to 3 weeks.

These are just a few things that are currently working for me. I am also a big reader and relaxing usually includes a book and a blanket. I love being outside but having a window open is the next best thing. I, like you, miss my husband every day. When I give myself time to relax and fully grieve I feel like I can then go forward. You may have other means you use to help you relax. I invite you to share with this group your suggestions for what works for you.

You might also like this post: https://www.patriciamckenna.blog/dont-do-this-when-living-in-stages-of-grief/

 

Las Vegas Sniper Makes Many Widows

Candles in Memoiral

Loss is never easy whether it is a slow death like cancer or a fast death like victims of the Las Vegas sniper. It all seems senseless and for days reporters have been trying to find out why the Las Vegas shooting happened. But, we know, there is no answer to the questions of “why?” Every widow asks herself, “Why him? and Why now? Would it be any easier to accept if we knew why? Maybe it would be and maybe not.
Even when being bedside with someone for a slow illness, you are still not ready to let go when the time comes for them to pass. The people at this country music festival were laughing, dancing, and having fun one minute then the next they were widows and widowers. In the flash of an eye their life changed and we know what that feels like as widows. http://abcnews.go.com/US/las-vegas-shooting-death-toll-rises-59-apparent/story?id=50223240

It is a tragedy to us as onlookers and devastating for those involved. There are people being born and people dying every minute of the day somewhere on earth. I know this is not a comforting thought but it gives a big picture view of life. Each life is short and glorious. I am thankful to be alive and I am trying to make the most of it.

No one could have foreseen the tragedy in Las Vegas, no one is to blame but the shooter. Our country mourns with our fellow countrymen. You can see the beauty of humanity as the people of Las Vegas pitch in to help each other, first at the event and now with donations of blood and the material goods needed. There is good coming out of bad and this is what we can create with God’s help. https://www.patriciamckenna.blog/were-the-ones-who-live-from-the-walking-dead-living-beyond-death-with-grief/

Through acceptance I have been trying to rebuild my life. I know I don’t have it right just yet but I continue to grow. How do I fit it all in and relax while doing it? I think this will come with time and more confidence. I make lists and keep calendars but I feel I am always one step behind. Perhaps you can relate to my plight. I haven’t quite figured out my groove yet.

It’s been long enough since my husband has passed that I’ve learned some things about what works and what doesn’t. I had to learn housework from the beginning since my husband was a house husband. I have become more independent. I’m getting to know what I like and don’t like all over again. I’m learning that sometimes it’s okay to do what you want to do and not just what you know you should do.

My hope for those in the Las Vegas tragedy is that they will find peace and comfort. I also hope our lawmakers will figure out how to diminish the possibility of this happening again. I hope for you that you will find your way to acceptance and growth in your new life after loss. I keep trying new things including new activities, innovative ways of getting things done and dynamic ways of looking at things. Peace and All Good.

 

Is Grief Coaching for you as a Widow?

You may not think of needing a coach when you are a widow dealing with daily grief challenges. Are you stuck in the pain and sadness of loss, not able to move forward in your life? You know what you wish your life would be but don’t know how to get there. You may need someone to listen to your specific challenges and guide you through the growth available after loss as a widow. Normal grief is transformational and we choose how it changes us. You can take the helm with help to build a new positive productive life after loss.

The truth is Grief Coaching is a practice of being with widows as they attempt to learn and grow in their own personal life after having experienced the death of a loved one. Grief coaches listen and ask questions to assist and give direction to help provide clarity and focus in your goals and barriers.  Adjusting to the changes we as widows go through can be exhausting. It is difficult to plan and make good choices. It’s hard to see things because we are too close to the situation. A Grief coach who is also a widow can provide the wisdom of real life experience and not just the clinical or intellectual approach.

You can optimize your results by combining this 1:1 experience of coaching with the emotional support of a group. Small groups can provide encouragement when you share your challenges. You can become inspired hearing widows share their achievements and struggles. Each widow has our own individual grief story but there are many things we have in common as widows. Common experiences can bond people together as we share and know you are not alone in your daily grief challenges.

What is the difference between grief counseling and grief coaching? Well, grief counseling is needed when you experience severe depression or lack of coping skills. Psychotherapists can explore your past and why you may have certain reactions now related to those experiences. They also can help you develop coping skills. Grief coaches fully support and refer to therapists when they feel this is needed. Grief coaches can walk with you in your regrowth journey of the normal progression of transformational grief giving direction and focus.

It’s been 18 months since I lost my husband and I know what it’s like to cry and feel lost. But I also know I have built a new life that I am proud of and experience occasional joy. I experience my relationships more fully and try new things with abandon. I want to walk with you on your journey of grief as your Grief Coach. If interested in finding out more, then you can email me at awidowsheart@patriciamckenna.blog. I have a new group starting soon. My Grief Mastermind class includes 1:1 phone calls, group virtual calls and a private Facebook group. It is limited to 6 widows at a time so I will be able to give each one a personal experience. I hope to hear from you soon. Peace and all Good.

Grief and Loss in the Wake of Hurricane Harvey and Hurricane Irma: Widows will Persist

Hurricane out rainy window

My heart goes out to those in the path of Hurricane Harvey these past weeks and now Hurricane Irma. So many people have lost loved ones, but also their homes and sense of identity. It’s not just material things but how we identify ourselves with our homes and jobs. So much loss and displacement with uncertainty of the future, reminds me of what it feels like to be a widow. That feeling of being lost and not knowing what to do next that we widows are all too familiar with each day.

There have been 63 people reported dead from Hurricane Harvey as of September 4th, 2017. I see the devastation in pictures on the news but it is in the stories of the lives lost in the newspaper articles that break my heart. People who in some instances were involved in heroic deeds of trying to save others such as Sgt. Steve Perez http://www.cnn.com/2017/08/29/us/harvey-houston-police-officer-dies/index.html, put a face on the loss and grief felt by a city and a nation. I feel for each of the family members today faced with that loss.

As a widow, I understand but it makes me realize what I have, to be thankful for in my life, as well. I hope they have the support of other loved ones in friends and family. I know they have the support of our hearts as Americans. It will become easier for them as time goes by, but obviously life will never be the same for those affected by Hurricane Harvey.

As I write this, Hurricane Irma is bearing down on the southeastern shore of Florida. People there are bracing for storm winds and rain with some even evacuating. We cannot prevent or change the storms. We are left waiting and watching with dread and fear. This is like the deaths of our loved ones in hospitals or sick beds at home all over the country every day. We as widows could not have prevented their deaths or changed the outcome of their loss.

Many refer to people who survive the loss of a loved one in a Hurricane like Harvey or Irma as victims. But I refuse to see these people as victims, I see their courage, the vibrancy of their lives, and the hope in their eyes. For I know that when I am the weakest, I am the strongest. I hope and pray today for all those affected by loss and grief all over the world. It is not an easy journey, and one we as widows and family members don’t choose. https://www.patriciamckenna.blog/anger-and-coping-with-widows-grief/ 

Widows are strong, we can persist and learn and grow for we will not be counted out or kept down. Our futures can still be bright with happy and productive lives. We will, as widows, laugh and reach goals yet again if we can only be survivors of the pain of grief and loss. Our loved ones would be proud of us each day as we wake up and take a breath of our new lives because we are still here . There is a path for living a positive and productive life, even after loss. Making positive decisions and adding new things to our lives is important so as not to stay in a rut of routine. We can turn our loss and pain into a way to help others. Helping others is, according to Happiness studies, the best way to add happiness to your life. https://vimeo.com/11335940 I am sending love and prayers to all those affected by Hurricane Harvey and Hurricane Irma and to all those with their own personal hurricanes in their lives.

Learn How Choices Change your Life as a Widow

I am like you in that I struggle with schedules and budgets all the time. I am juggling these things for the first time as a widow. I have learned though that when I am mired down and things are not working the way I want, that I get to decide. Decisions have never been easy for me because I see all sides and pros and cons. I tell myself to jump in and just choose and if it does not work out, then I will readjust. I will no longer be stuck on the sidelines of life. I know from widows that I have shared with, that we can often be in a holding pattern, not only, not able to choose but unable to even see the choices. We can see through the fog eventually and start changing things to have a better outlook for the future.

I still own the grief and sadness of missing my husband constantly but I push myself to get up and do something about it. I have been part of grief support groups where we cry and grief social groups where we go, see and do. I have read books about pulling yourself together and managing your money as a widow. I have read books telling me I can be sad for as long I want and organization books to manage life as a widow. You know what I don’t see is anything about how to live a positive life after loss. How do we do it? Whether we are ready for it or not time marches forward. I don’t want to lose another minute.

Things I do know include that I want more time to travel and more time to quietly read. I want to make a difference in other people’s lives because I have always taught my children that is why we are here on this earth. I saw a documentary a brief time ago called “Happiness”. Apparently, they had done studies and helping others was the one thing happy people had in common.
Recommendations for helping with choices:

1. Gain clarity: Brainstorm all your ideas and write them done of what you would like to include in your life now and in the future

2. Set goals: Decide how you are going to get there from #1 based on your wants and desires. Maybe there is even a new dream for your future

3. Choose: Decide what you are going to start with to get you there to your goal or dream life.

I know I am not going to “get over” or “move on” or “get through my grief” so I must live life anyway with my grief in tow. My grief is only part of me not all of me. I am figuring out who I am again somewhat like a teenager. I just need to have better judgement than a teenager. Ha, ha! But seriously, our spouse’s life is not the only life here that matters. That doe not mean I love him any less. My life matters. I matter. You matter. So, let’s get working on living like we matter.

Traveling as a Widow

I’ve never been much of a traveler but as a widow I have discovered I like to travel. I’ve been ticking off places on my bucket list. I’ll be off on another trip soon. I know you have heard me say “try new things”. Travel is not as hard as I thought it would be. My daughter and I have disagreed on how to travel and scheduling. I like to be unstructured, arrive at my destination and decide what to do as I wonder around and discover things. My daughter wants every minute of the trip well planned and accounted for always in advance. We have taken trips both ways. I think there of course advantages and disadvantages to each. Are you a planner or spontaneous?

How do things change when traveling as a widow? I think the biggest change is who you travel with each time. I find myself open to unfamiliar places and new experiences. Maybe you want to finally take that trip you have always wanted to take. Maybe you will visit relatives more often. Maybe you will even take it a step further and move somewhere else. It is important to be clear on what you hope to get out of the trip. Are their certain things that you must see? Are you hoping to relax? Here are some tips for traveling as a widow that have helped me.

1. Each day you should have at least:
One thing to see, one thing to do and fabulous dinner plans.
2. Sit and take in the view
Do nothing but in some place beautiful. Breathe in the appreciation for being there.
3. Always be safe
Don’t get trapped alone and be aware of pick pockets.
4. Choose your travel partners carefully.
Traveling can draw you closer or further apart from your travel companions.
5. Choose your souvenirs carefully.
I well planned photo is much better than a shelf sitter.

This may sound elementary, but for someone like me who almost never traveled, these have been lessons learned. The biggest thing I have acquired is a bigger world view. People are the same all over. We all have our loves and dislikes. We all struggle with our relationships, and having enough money and enough time. There are people meeting their true love for the first time and those losing the love of their life, both every moment. Travel makes me think of the phases of our lives. I don’t know if I’ll ever date again much less find another romantic love, but I know I will never forget the life I have lived, those I have loved and the places I have been. Be bold and adventuresome and find you best self somewhere else other than just home. Life is an adventure don’t miss it.

I’ll finish with a quote from Eleanor Roosevelt: “The purpose of life is to live it, to taste experience to the utmost, to reach out eagerly and without fear for newer and richer experience.”