How Does a Widow Fit In?

We widows are yearning to discover how we fit in now that we are on our own. Many of us join online-dating sites, looking for deep connections with others. Widows are nesters, looking for a stress reliever and to be comforted. We also sweat out our stress at the gym – yoga and Pilates studios have seen a high increase in membership.

Coming together through hard times is a way of becoming part of something greater than ourselves. It can be as simple as laughing with an audience at a comedy or performing acts of kindness to improve both our self-image and our sense of community.

So – where do you fit in? Being part of a community and making a difference, even a small one, is deeply satisfying. No matter how stressed they are, volunteers report they always feel better after taking a few hours to do something positive for their community.

But what if online dating, exercise and service to others are not within your reach? Then there are things you can still do that are uplifting. Trying humming along to some music, take a 20 minute “Google Earth Vacation” to remind you that there is a beautiful world out there. Take a walk and seek out those little flashes of beauty in the natural world. Take ten minutes to find the pictures in the clouds and the colour around you that the blind are unable to see. When grieving you are blind to the beauty around you, the negatives are so strong that it’s hard to inhibit them.

In other words, instead of waiting for this daunting grief to pass, we can try to seize “uplifts” to lighten our day, where ever we can find them. We are incomplete on our own, we realize our potential, become alive, only when we seek out the positive – it could be waiting for you in someone’s eyes, in music or in a starry night. You can find it – just keep looking up.

8 Responses

  1. Anita

    thanks good reminder. I have been doing more things that feed my soul. I need to be aware that sometimes I still give myself a hard time for not making more progress such as in putting order in my house.
    I havebeen reminding myself that wherever I am in my life is exactly where I need to be and all is well.

  2. Judy Vollmer

    I relate to the “making more progress such as in putting order in my house.” I have a good support system outside my home. I have been challenging myself to do things I enjoy, but doing them alone. I just took myself camping alone for a week. It turned out nicer than I expected. I did not feel alone or lonely.
    But behind closed doors I do not feel as confident of my growth through my grief. I have little energy and enthusiasm to much around my home. I don’t even WANT to. I have spent what feels like a inordinate amount of time sitting and watching TV, while my home stays as it is.
    There is still a lot of clean up for me to do. I have not yet taken my husbands clothes out of the closet and bureau drawers. And the garage is a totally another out of control area!!!
    My spouse has been gone 9 months by May 8th.

  3. Judy Vollmer

    Also, thank you for the comment in the blog, “that we widows are nesters, and we are looking for a stress reliever and to be comforted”. I have not searched out dating sites. I am still new at this widow life, 9 months. Part of me does not want another relationship right now. I feel like I need to get to know myself more, what I like, what I need, etc. But I do have attraction feelings when I am around certain men. And I have felt guilty for having those feelings. But I guess it makes sense that some part of me thinks another man in my life would be a stress reliever and I could be comforted. But there are many things as you stated that I can do for myself. I am learning!!!

  4. Mary Francis

    Dear Judy – You’re doing fine. Please don’t put pressure on yourself to get everything “cleaned up” at a certain time. I moved a few times and each time I let a little more of Donnie’s things go. I did it when it felt right for me and not just because others expected it of me. Grief has to have its time and in fact demands it of us. Healing comes when we are ready to receive it, but it can not be rushed. Take care of yourself, Mary Francis

  5. Diane Poplawski

    Mary Francis,

    You moved a few times, since your husband’s passing. You are so very brave to do that. You must have a great support system. (Of course, you do. Chick’s Night Out and family.)

    I have no kids and my husband passed away 5 1/2 years ago. My Mom 5 years ago. I am still living the home my husband & I designed and built back in 1980. I retired in Sept. and I’m giving myself a year to decide if I want to move or not. I am very close to my sister and her family…they live 260 miles from here. I am trying to hire people to do repairs that I cannot do myself.

    No regrets about retiring, but I can relate to Judy’s blog on downsizing stuff. It wears me out.

    Still wondering about my future…should I move to Northern New England (where my sister and family are) or So. Eastern New England (where my brother and family are).

    I have I hard time dealing with change and there has been a lot in my life.

    Was married for 40 years…


  6. Mary Francis

    Hi Diane – You are amazing in your positive approach to your future. I like “no regrets” because that should be the manta for all of us widows as we make decisions for our future. Right or wrong at least we are moving forward with “no regrets” and if needed adjustments can be made along the way. The best to you as you take control of your future. Mary Francis

  7. Patricia

    I was married for 32 years and we accumulated a lot. I have been “getting my house in order” for almost 3 years! I felt frozen the first year and the house needed repairs. I feel blessed that mostly great people have come to help me. I had a few scary moments and got taken just a little, but have learned that I am not alone. I have good friends and the word’s best neighbors. I also would like to retire and don’t want the burden of a house which I am now totally responsible for maintaining. But it is scary to think of leaving the familiar corners, which is why I have stalled a few times. I think I need to be more “ready” by clearing out the old so when an opportunity feels right, I won’t miss out. Patricia

  8. Mary Francis

    Hi Patricia. You are very wise to take it one step at a time. Clean out all your extra stuff and keep only what you would need if you downsized to a two bedroom condo/garden home. Then when your ready to list your house you’re be ready and it won’t be so overwhelming. Take care, Mary Francis

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