Dear New Widow,
I am sorry you are here. The last thing I pictured myself doing was blogging for a widow’s group but in my darkest moment, I found comfort among people that understood my pain. Recently my newsfeed on Facebook has been about someone dealing with a loss. My heart hurts for those people and the anguish they are now feeling.
To the recent widow, I know that you are hurting, and it feels like this pain will never go away. In the beginning, I felt the same way. I was miserable and hated everything. There was nothing that comforted me. It took me two months before I realized I did not want to live like that anymore.
Music was not something I could listen to. I turned to Audiobooks about grief. The first was It’s Ok That You’re Not Ok by Megan Devine. It brought comfort that someone else had experienced this and survived. She now has a journal that goes with the book which I have and have gifted to people grieving.
It gave me tools to move forward such as telling people that I am not in a place to talk about it. Or when you can talk about it without crumbling how to do that. I was lucky to be surrounded by love from family and friends. And when I tried to push them away, they just gave me some space but showed back up in a few days.
There is no right way to grieve there is also no wrong way. We all grieve in different ways and the way I have powered through may not work for someone else. I shut down, lashed out, had panic attacks, cried in the shower all the time at first. My friends and family just went on the waves with me reminding me they were there.
Find your self-care and remember to take care of yourself. Healing will come it will take time. You will have setbacks. I have them all the time including this week. The important thing is not to let those moments take control.
In time we learn to live with the pain. This week I had a dream with Matt in it felt so comforted by everything then woke up remembering he was gone. I had a bad day at work and ended up having a panic attack. The next day that fresh pain stayed with me and I had another panic attack. I was talking with a coworker that has been there for my whole grief process and he said you feel like you are on an island alone but remember there are people who love you. I needed that.
Remember you are not alone. Things will get better. I am not fully healed but I am getting there. I share my story. Practice self-care. And realize I have more good days than bad.
I miss Matt still and always will, but I am learning to live without him and to be okay finding Joy. Last night I went out with my friends. I smiled, laughed, and enjoyed myself. A year ago, that would not have been the case I would have felt guilty doing that. Hold on to hope.
To the friend of a widow. Don’t give up on her. Text her, call her, offer to watch her children so she can have time to herself. Ask her what she needs. I needed out of my house I could not stand to be home without him. My friends made that happen, my mom watched my grandma, and I got an escape for a few hours.
My friends each texted me to say good morning how are you, did you sleep, I am here for you etc. Though it was annoying at times it was nice to have that. One friend talk to me until I would fall asleep at night. Knowing that was the hardest time of day for me.
Know that they are hurting and at times feel alone. It may be hard for you to be around them. Lossing friendships can be residual losses we experience. Not everyone can stand by for the months that it takes for us to seem almost normal. Your friend may never be the same but part of her is still in there you just need to be patient with her.
Books I Read
It’s Okay That You’re Not Ok by Megan Devine. This book is not about widowhood but grief in general. Megan is a widow so most of the book is about her experience when her husband died. She also has writing your grief class that is open to people experiencing all types of grief the course helped me to dive deeper into my grief.
No Happy Endings by Nora McInerny. She was a young widow who ran Hot Young Widows Club until about a year ago. This was my first widow’s group that was a lifeline I needed.
Heartbroken: Healing from the Loss of a Spouse by Gary Roe
The Power of Vulnerability by Brene Brown This is not a grief book but helped with not having to be strong all the time. I love all of her books and her newest is a favorite.
My sister and I were planning on doing a 5k in April but could not go to the one that we had originally planned. Yesterday Hope for Widows Foundation announced the return of their virtual 5K more info can be found below. We are now going to be participating in this wonderful event. I am planning to share it with local widows near me.
Hope For Widows 5K
Mark your calendars! Hope For Widows Foundation’s annual virtual event has returned on Saturday, April 2, and Sunday, April 3, 2022! Anyone can join! Whether you are a widow, widower, or a friend/family member showing support or walking in the loss of another family member, everyone is welcome to participate. The proceeds will directly support widows through their annual financial Restoring Hope and Peace Grants, Sunshine Boxes program, and Bring Hope Holiday Assistance Program. Do you have or know a business that would like to sponsor? That’s an option too! Email for more information at: firstname.lastname@example.org