How are you doing? Did you get a chance to put any of the recommendations into practice from the last post here?
No matter your progress, I want you to know that I’m proud of you.
Here are a few more ideas for you to consider before making any major changes to your life the first year after you’ve been widowed.
BEWARE OF RELATIONSHIPS CHANGING.
I can’t tell you how this will look for you in your life. Some relationships will become tighter, stronger. Others will crumble and fall apart. You won’t do yourself any favors trying to figure out which are which, but give some stock to the expectation that this can happen.
This is a part of growing. Try hard not to hold on to all the ways things were. Part of growing through your grief is accepting that you will be changed – which means that your relationships will need to morph to keep up with the ever developing you. It’s not bad, but it may hurt at times; but again – grief is not comfortable.
GET BACK TO IT.
Whether it’s work or volunteering for you or playdates and piano lessons for your kiddos, try to get back to it.
If it was bringing you joy before your world dramatically changed, it may spark a bit of joy and gratitude now. Once you’re back at it for at least two months, then re-evaluate it. Because if it’s stressing you out and causing you to have a bit of meltdown, it ain’t worth it. In this, please avoid adding something new to the calendar for the year.
I don’t mean that you should avoid trying anything new in this first year, but I do want to encourage you to say “yes” to only those types of things that you can pop in and out of with little commitment. Signing up to be your child’s “room mom” or chairing a committee may not be best.
It’s difficult to know how you may feel about the things you say yes to today, a year from now. There’s a fog over your decision making – that’s a part of grief! – and it’s difficult to predict how you may feel later today let alone how you may feel a year from now. Be gentle with yourself.
Stick with what is working and avoid adding new responsibilities.
LOVE YOURSELF WELL.
You may not be at all like me. Within a few months, I was desperate to close the cavernous gap of my loneliness. And the way that I thought of doing that was to be in a relationship. You can imagine that this was not healthy or good.
I could barely see through the curtain of my pain which tainted my view of the types of men I was interested in spending time with. I lowered my expectations and settled myself into the company of very wrong-for-me men. There was not a revolving door through our home where these people were meeting my son, but they were taking up precious space in my soul; a huge distraction from really doing the grief work before me.
It took me years and a failed second marriage to realize that I did not know who I was, having been changed by grief. This meant I did not know my preferences either.
Have you ever seen the movie “Runaway Bride”? It stars Julia Roberts and Richard Greco. He is a reporter attempting to expose her reasoning for running from her weddings (and potential husbands). When he’s the latest victim, she takes time. It doesn’t really share how much time passes, but enough time for her to develop a hidden gift. She even learns which types of eggs she likes best. When I saw that part of the movie, I was convicted.
I did this and a few other things and was really honest about my preferences. It was eye opening. I had changed and needed to live like it.
Give yourself permission to go at the pace that is best for you and your children. You’re probably aware that you won’t grieve the same way they do. Prioritize yourself each day and expect to grow.
Healing is the reward for doing the work stirred by grief and pain. Take the time you need dear one, you are loved and supported and I believe you can do it.