Our Social Network

Widows need a strong social network to give us a vital sense of belonging.  Our social networks act as a family to support us and to make us feel safe and secure in this crazy world of grief.

If we don’t get enough support our health will suffer.  In fact, the bigger our social network, the better off we will be.

However, just as it’s not good to stand completely alone when grieving, it’s also not good to depend on too small a circle of friends.  They may not be able to understand and support your grief journey.

Widows are stressed and not having a sense of belonging creates even more stress. If you don’t feel safe and secure and have a sense of belonging, if you feel helpless in your grief, your ability to resist infections is lessened.

Be different, be you and break the emotional and social patterns.  Don’t be afraid of change or standing out in your actions.  You are no longer in the “wife” role and so your new journey is a change that is made easier by your social network.

Sometimes we widows need to accept our helplessness, because at times it’s important to allow ourselves to be helped.  The ideal, is for our journey to be a balance between being powerful and being vulnerable.  This is where it’s important to listen to your self-talk.

  • Independent – I’ll do it myself.
  • Poor sense of belonging – No one cares.
  • Mistrust – People are mean
  • Sense of belonging – I can call anytime.
  • Trust – They will keep my secrets.

Are you powerful or vulnerable?  Do you go back and forth between the two?

Science shows that an excess of either one or the other can set you up for illness.  Your “powerful” mindset is exhausting because we can’t always do everything on our own.  On the other hand being “vulnerable” all the time weakens us because we wait for others to give us happiness.

It’s important to move beyond the “wife” role and find another way of being “you”.  I know it felt good to be part of a couple, to have a stable place to land, to belong; but it is no longer good for your emotional health to hold on to what is no longer there.

Mary Francis, The Sisterhood of Widows

#widow, #thesisterhoodofwidows, #widowsupport, #grief

7 Responses

  1. Luanne Reilly
    | Reply

    Thank you for this post! On this holiday week these words will help us get through the new normal. Change is so difficult.

  2. Tracey Timmons
    | Reply

    Oh my gosh yes!, I needed this. I have been struggling with this the last few days. I always thought I was a strong person. Missing my husband had shattered that and every other assumption I had about myself and even about everyday life. Trying to figure out “me” and my new normal is a challenge but as you reminded us, a necessary change… No matter how difficult. Love to all ladies out there that are now trying to navigate life without thier loved one.

  3. Annetta Gay Roberts
    | Reply

    ThankYou I appreciate these emails on Widowhood.

  4. Jean M Thompson
    | Reply

    Very powerful for me at this time. Thank you.

  5. deborahusry
    | Reply

    This is an interesting post as I’m wondering about what comes next. At about 16 months out I have been asked out for coffee by a widower, and I agreed. A neighbor introduced us. I don’t know if I’m ready or not. I guess I’ll find out next week. Somehow this opportunity (?) seems to connect with this post. I don’t want my grief to control my life, but stepping out in even this very gentle way is creating anxiety.

  6. Carole
    | Reply

    All of what you say is true. Since loosing my husband, I feel vulnerable, I need help, I need advise, I have lost my sense of “do it myself” because of my lack of strength because of what comes with age. One son tries to help and does to a degree, however “his way” is fast and “his way”. My daughter sometimes wants to help, however she is so dependent herself that she is limited. I have two older sons who are loving, however their wives are very dominant and controlling, thus limit them. Bottom line, I don’t know where to turn and I haven’t been able to fine a source to help. It sure would be nice to have some responsible and (practical for me) help and advice.

  7. Susan
    | Reply

    This holiday season is my first without my husband. It is very comforting to read your words. I feel like I don’t know what the right way to act is anymore. Try to do things myself but sometimes feel overwhelmed.

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