When you lose a loved one grief is the unwanted visitor that comes knocking at our door.
How we wrestle with grief and ultimately push ahead to a new life, varies with each of us. Many of us need help to bounce back and if we don’t get that help our mental and physical health may buckle under the stress.
Finding support can be the key to a person’s recovery and acceptance of the loss, says the American Cancer Society. Support can come from friends, physicians, spiritual leaders or mental health professionals. There is no one easy solution or answer to our personal grief.
Grief can last from several months to several years and can come with feelings of guilt, sadness or numbness. It might cause trembling, breathing difficulties, sleeplessness, weight loss or gain and may even bring a widow so much mental pain and confusion that it ultimately robs her of her own life.
Grief is as much of a health issue as some infectious diseases. Dr. Toni Miles, Director at the Gerontology Institute at the University of Georgia says that in their survey, they found that newly bereaved persons are more likely to be hospitalized during the year after the death of their loved one.
Try to wrestle with your grief in your own way, but if you sense that you are unable to deal with your grief, and even close friends and family can’t help, then it’s time to seek outside help.
One thing I have found is that I have the freedom to react or not to what others say and do. I am in control of my own feelings and I have the freedom to do whatever I want with my life. Sometimes, others look at widows and judge their actions – it’s too soon or it’s time to move on. I enjoy time with other widows because they understand that the pain may not be showing on the surface but it’s still there.
Other widows understand how we wrestle with the decisions to move forward – dating or not, travelling or not, when to retire, where to live – these are all decisions that look like they don’t bother us, but they are decisions that we all wrestle with. Others look at us and judge if we start dating or heaven forbid have a sexual relationship with another man, but there is a lot of emotions that we work through to arrive at that point even though it looks like it’s all smiles and that our grief has passed.
How do we wrestle with grief? One day at a time – some good and some not, but always moving forward so that our grief does not hold us down long enough for depression to crawl into our lives.