When your husband died, grief took over: emotionally, physically and spiritually. Your thoughts and feelings related to their death is what molds your mourning. Understanding your grief is an important part to understanding how your grief is affecting you. Though it may not seem important, taking time to acknowledge your grief is a step towards healing.
Though there are common feelings and reactions all widows share, it is important to realize that your grief is as unique as your fingerprint. Your grief experience is influenced by the circumstances surrounding the death and how you mourn, as well as your cultural and religious background.
Don’t hide your grief behind the mask of “I’m doing fine”. Instead be with people who will support you and allow you to freely experience all the emotions you’re feeling.
Some of the feelings you may experience are lack of focus, energy and interest in life. You may have some explosive emotions such as anger, fear, irritability, guilt, remorse, loneliness and a change in eating and sleeping patterns. Be aware that grief can also affect your physical heart causing chest pains, shortness of breath and thyroid problems.
You matter, so don’t let your mental and physical health decline when you are grieving. Don’t push yourself or let others push you ahead of your healing.
Take your time sorting through your loved one’s personal belongings and when the time is right, and only you know when, you should decide what to do with his stuff.
Be prepared for certain days and times of the year that will be more difficult to handle. Dates and events that have special meaning to you will be difficult to face.
You will find comfort by sharing your memories with family and friends, recognizing that they can bring both laughter and tears. Healing is a part of grieving, but healing does not mean forgetting.
Caring for yourself is part of recognizing that you have been forever changed by your grief and while your life is different, it is still your life to live.
Be a believer in life, in yourself, in the present, in the future and in your relationships with others. Care for yourself by starting each day by repeating may times “Things are getting better” until one day they are better.
Understanding your grief is not a short term journey, instead it is part of your life’s journey and needs to be honoured as normal and necessary so that your broken heart can heal.