When I started this blog, I had someone tell me to give the advice I was looking for when I became a widow.
I was a proactive in my grief process. I joined the Hot, Young Widows Club (it’s a real club. I paid membership fees) approximately 5 hours after my husband passed away. Because I’m more of a planner, I wanted the road map of what to expect. Unfortunately, that map doesn’t exist.
Here’s a few things I can tell you:
- Surprisingly, you’re not alone. You might be the only widow in your family or friend group but there’s a whole bunch of us out here of all ages. There is also support outside of the widowhood community. I have three close friends that have buried the most important people in their life. Only one of them is a widow. They know the journey I’m on better than anyone. I belong to several widow support groups and did therapy for me and my daughter. It makes you feel validated.
- You will be busy. Life doesn’t calm down after the funeral. It’s a 2nd job when your spouse dies. And that’s just their affairs. Make a timeline and don’t try to do it all during your bereavement time. It takes 3-12 months or longer to finalize their affairs. Take a deep breath and handle one thing at a time.
- Be careful of the advice you take. Some of the most useless advice comes from those who mean well…. who could also be grieving. The AUDACITY of people will surprise you. It won’t be strangers either. People will say and do the most “what the…” things after your spouse dies. My favorite line will always be: “But did he give you permission?”. Cue eye roll.
- Find a routine that works for you, not for others. Your life changed. What worked before may not work now. I still receive a decent amount of criticism for changing how we operate day to day, but those people didn’t have to alter their life.
- There is no timeline. This applies to grief, cleaning out the closet, dating, moving or anything you do from here on out.
- You can be angry, mad or hate your dead spouse. I know a lot of people who found out horrible secrets once their spouse passed. I get mad at my husband for just not being here. The worst part about this? You can ask them why all day long, but you will never get an answer back from them.
- When people ask, “What can I do to help you?” accept the right kind of help. I was not the best at telling people what they were doing was NOT helping me because I didn’t want to be ungrateful. Be specific in what kind of help you need or would like to have. This also applies to forms of counseling and therapy.
- You will experience more losses than just your spouse. It will come in for the form of income, property, and relationships just to name a few. Nothing can prepare you for any of these and you will add all this to your grief bucket.
You are doing your best after facing the worst loss anyone can imagine. Even when it feels like you don’t, you make your person proud every day. YOU GOT THIS!!