I’m a widow and I understand that you may feel like your life is over, that the tears will never end, that your heart will never feel again, and that surviving widowhood would take a miracle.
I learned thirteen years ago what reaching the bottom felt like, and I also learned that for me to get back on my feet I had to trust God. I was a young widow at fifty and no one understood the tremendous pain, grief and devastation I felt. No one understood my feelings of anger and depression – least of all me!
Perhaps you have already made progress in this journey, coming to the realization that widowhood sucks, but that it is survivable. Or perhaps you are still caught under the weight of your grief. You are empty inside… feel terminally ill and hopeless.
No matter how long you have been married, their death feels like the end of your dreams, your family and maybe even the end of your whole life.
The trick is to turn your focus outward. Keep a schedule and routine so that your shock and grief doesn’t make your life so isolating and depressing. No one can feel your pain for you, so don’t hold back from experiencing it. If you hide from it, it’s going to still come out at some point. It’s okay if you are angry, just don’t get stuck there.
Remember to do all you can to take care of yourself, physically, mentally and spiritually. Try to keep comfortably busy, and stick to some kind of routine, because “widow fog” really does exist. Note: Comfortably busy, means learning not to volunteer for everything that is asked of you. Do what you want to do – it is your time.
Surround yourself with family and friends who can lovingly remind you of your self-worth. You must take control of your life, because if you don’t, who will??
You will hear the birds sing again, and the sun will shine again. I know that you’re in the thick of the grief storm right now, but remember you matter.
Widowhood is like being on a double highway with someone to share the journey with, and then all of a sudden you’re in the ditch and by yourself. Sure you can get out of the ditch, but now you’re on a single lane highway, without a map, by yourself and with no idea what to do. If you don’t want to be wandering aimlessly, you will have to reframe your life and create a new map.
Writing in your journal can be a powerful way to release difficult and painful emotions. Bottling up all of your pain can keep it hidden from the outside world, but you wouldn’t be able to escape its impact on your life.
Consider yourself the story teller of your life, talk about your heroes, the dragons you struggle with and how you’re facing the loneliness of being single. Write out your story on how you faced your despair and turned it into new found strengths.
Even on your “widowhood” journey I believe that written thoughts have the capacity to create and reframe your life. True, our lives don’t look like what we had planned, but perhaps some new thoughts can help reduce our stress and gain a broader understanding of what we still have to be thankful for.
As always, let yourself grieve first and then you can start healing your broken heart.