I thought this week about  how people grieve differently and how there is no “one size fits all” way to cope with grief, just as there is no time-frame.  I’ve read others express numerous times in the past week how the second year is so hard. I totally agree with them. I suspect that, like me, the first year was a blur of changes. Not the least of which was paperwork. 


For those who lost a husband during the “pandemic”, grief was compounded by having to deal with people working from home. I’m thankful the people I talked to were kind, but the communication piece was a nightmare in many cases since they were not working in an office with access to more resources. I did not let the COVID-19 restrictions hamper me; but many were not so fortunate.  I understand that fresh air and sunshine do wonders for the spirit, so I pursued these. Before we left Alabama I was able to get out for short walks/hikes. This was while my husband was still alive. After he died and I moved for the second time to a rental house, I spent months pulling weeds and trying to grow a garden. I do not have a green thumb, but I had arugula and collards and I was proud of them. 


So, I want to share a few of my coping strategies and would love to hear from others as to how they get by in the often daily struggle of grief. 


  • Sunshine -Vitamin D is necessary for my health.
  • Hiking – when I have a place other than the flatlands of Florida.
  • Walking my dog. 
  • Snuggling with my dog. She sleeps with me every night. 
  • Paint-by-number – this gives me some focus and stress relief.
  • Coloring books – I color sometimes when I’m watching TV. Also stress relieving.
  • Cooking for others – I find delivering meals to others gives me a purpose.
  • Cooking for myself at least once a week.
  • Writing letters and sending cards, especially to other widows.
  • Reaching out to others via text.
  • Yardwork – I bought an old fashioned rotary mower for my tiny front yard and I love it.
  • Watching sad movies – sometimes it helps just to cry.
  • Playing albums by our favorite band – sometimes this makes me smile and sometimes this makes me cry; both are okay.
  • I joined a water aerobics class. Sometimes it’s good to be in a group where no one knows you. You can share as much or as little as you want.   
  • A little wine and/or a little ice cream go a long way. 
  • Church. Church has been my flotation device. Not just the preaching and teaching on Sunday, but the Christian fellowship I have found there.
  • I get by with “A Little Help From My Friends” 
  • Reading. I’ve read all kinds of books this past year. Especially helpful have been books for widows,  books on grieving, and books on loneliness. 
  • Writing here at Hope for Widows as well as my personal blog and some poetry. 


Like I said, we all grieve in a different way. But, we can all use some help now and then. .


Angie Bell was born in Georgia but raised in Florida to where she recently returned after six years in Birmingham, Alabama. She is a former teacher who loves hiking, photography, and writing, often combining all three.

After planning for several years, working on a way to live on a shoestring budget, Angie’s husband of 41 years put in for early retirement so they could move back home. They put their house on the market and had a contract within four days. Less than two weeks later her husband was diagnosed with stage four pancreatic cancer. They decided to transfer his care and move back to Jacksonville, Florida, renting a furnished apartment and hoping for a miracle. One month later he was gone. After her third move in less than a year, Angie is now in Tampa where her grandchildren live, trying to find her way in her new life. God, in His mercy, has put numerous other widows in her life and a new empathy for this sisterhood she never would have chosen.