Not my usual post, but as part of the FabandFifty Link Party, we bloggers are sharing the pluses of being in the over 50 crowd. You mean, there ARE some??? Oh yeah, bear with me as I get off my usual topics.
Being an over 50 blogger has its advantages. I love the fact that I now have wisdom to impart to help someone else walking the road I’ve walked. Though “15 Ways to Survive Widowhood” isn’t a “fun” topic, it’s part of life that happened to me over 20 years ago.
Richard and I were married in 1984, and because we didn’t have children, he was my whole world. He died of lung failure at the young age of 35, leaving me alone at 40…childless, and parent-less. I remember those devastating days of utter paralysis in grief, feeling so alone. Seeing my whole life stretching ahead of me, I doubted I would ever be happy again.
For those walking this road, I totally understand how you feel. And be assured that these steps can apply to anyone who has suffered a loss. In my journey of grief, I learned 15 ways to survive widowhood, and reach acceptance at the end.
15 Ways to Survive Widowhood
*Lean on God. Pour out your heart to Him. He is always there, loves us unconditionally, and is ready to listen.
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*Allow yourself to feel your feelings. Scream, cry. It’s OK to be angry at God for taking your beloved. It’s even OK to be angry at your beloved for leaving you. Going through your grief rather than avoiding it, helps you in the long run.
*Delve into Scripture. There are many verses that emphasize how God is a comfort to us. He comforted me when no one else could. 2 Cor. 1:4, Ps 34:18, Ps 147:3
I clearly remember one afternoon getting off work and listlessly walking around the grocery store feeling heavy-hearted. I prayed, “God, I just can’t take this anymore! You’ve got to DO something!” Immediately I felt the heavy weight lift off my shoulders. It was as if he took my burden and carried it for me. Circumstances hadn’t changed. I was still widowed. But the rest of the day, I felt lighthearted and knew I could go on.
*Read books on grieving, and how others have coped. This helped me know I wasn’t crazy and that many were as ultra sensitive as I was in a tough situation.
*Understand that grieving is hard work! You are often bone tired, sleepless, restless in waking hours, have difficulty concentrating, and don’t enjoy the things you normally do.
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*Listen to music or talk radio. I found a Christian radio station I listened to during all my waking hours. When the house is empty, the silence is deafening.
*Get an inside cat or dog. Caring for an animal is a nice distraction, gave me something else to think about and do, and they are comforting companions.
*Find a caring friend who will really listen. I remember trying to unload to a friend, but she cut me off with “everyone has problems.”
*Understand that people are going to say the wrong thing, but God never will. He is there for you always.
[clickToTweet tweet=”Understand that people are going to say the wrong thing, but God never will. He is there for you.” quote=”Understand that people are going to say the wrong thing, but God never will. He is there for you.” theme=”style5″]
*Join a Grief Support Group. Only someone who has been there understands. When the group ended, I went to a Christian counselor because I still needed support, and it helped me greatly.
*Keeping a journal was very therapeutic helping me express my feelings when there was no one to talk to.
*Exercise! Is there ANYTHING this isn’t good for??
*Don’t jump into another relationship too soon. Wait until you have reached contentment in being alone. Don’t use it as a mode of escape.
*Healing moments…”Get yourself some healing moments” my grief counselor used to say. It can be a weekend getaway, out to the movies, or tea with a friend.
One weekend, out of the blue I drove to Charleston, SC…a 6-hour trip. I went by myself with no reservations, arrived after dark, bought take-out, and checked into a motel. The next day I reserved a bus tour of Charleston sleeping most of the way through it! But this little getaway gave me a change of pace, a change of scene, and it was fun. Anything to help you escape from the constant cloud of grief for a time is a healing moment.
*Find a service activity you can do. We forget ourselves when we are involved in helping others. A widowed friend of mine told me it was her lifesaver. It could be volunteering at the Humane Society to walk dogs, being a hospital volunteer, a nursing home volunteer, volunteer in a thrift store, a school, a church, and probably many more. I wish I had done this instead of sitting home having a pity party.
Even with these ways of coping, grief lingers. It is a process and takes time, but I found that each step helped a little. As a people, we don’t like slow healing…we want to get over it and move on, but the process of grief doesn’t work that way.
Three years after Richard died, God brought another man into my life, who had also been widowed. We’ve been married over 20 years. I hope my saga has helped you or perhaps someone you know.
And now, don’t forget to visit the other FABULOUS FIFTY bloggers below!
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