You may still be in shock, and barely able to accept that you are a widow. These tips for dealing with the grieving process after your husband dies are from a widow. Her name is Kathleen, and she lost her husband after a long battle with Parkinson’s disease.
If you feel helpless and hopeless – and can barely believe you’re a widow or widower – read Healing After Loss: Daily Meditations For Working Through Grief by Martha Whitmore Hickman. Here’s what one person said about this book: Healing After Loss has incredibly insight, hope, understanding and some new ideas delivered in small doses. Since concentration levels are so affected during the grieving process, the one page entries are easy to read or skip, if you need a one that will more fit your moment.
In this article about the grieving process, Kathleen describes the pain she felt after her husband died, and then offers tips widowers and widows who are grieving loss. She’s a writer who has found ways to remain strong and happy, despite her grief that she lost her husband.
I hope her story and tips can help you through the grieving process, at least by showing you that you’re not alone. When you’re mourning, remember Moliere’s words: “If you suppress grief too much, it can well redouble.” Accepting – and maybe even embracing – loss may be one of the healthiest ways to cope with death. This means feeling your pain, sharing it with others, and finding the best ways for you to heal.
The Grieving Process After Your Husband Dies
Guest Post ~ Kathleen Airdrie
There’s no “normal” response to death. Everybody is different, which means you’ll grieve differently than a family member or coworker. Accepting yourself and others’ response to death is an important part of the grieving process. These tips for grieving widows or widowers can help you accept other people’s ways of mourning, and identify your own “best ways” to grieve.
Join a grief support group. Being with people who have experienced similar losses can help you cope with your grief. Just knowing you’re not alone can be reassuring; spending time with people who care helps you deal with your painful feelings. If you don’t find the bereavement group to be supportive, don’t be afraid to try a different one. And, joining a grief support group when you lose your husband will show you how others cope with loss — which will help with your own mourning process.
Here’s how a young widow dealt with the grieving process after her husband died: A Different Kind of Support Group for Widows.
Learn how “cybergrieving” works. Many people are now using sites like MySpace and their own personal blogs to deal with their feelings about the death of a loved one. To deal with grief, visit the blog or website of your loved one and write to them on it. You can write poetry, letters, songs, or even a one-liner, simply stating how you feel and what you think. This tip for grieving widowers or widowers involves finding different or unusual ways to let go of someone you love.
Let go of the past slowly. Feeling your grief, anger, guilt, and all your emotions is important. Let yourself grieve. You may feel like your heart will break or you’ll fall into a black pit and never get out – but you have to feel your feelings before you can heal. Letting go of the past through expression of your feelings is healthy way to grieve when you lose your husband.
If you’re dealing with the grieving process after your husband took his own life, read Coping With Life After Someone You Love Commits Suicide.
Remember that time heals – that old cliche! Time does heal when you’re grieving the death of your husband. Whether it completely heals ALL wounds is a different story, but it does dull the pain a little. Your feelings of loss and sadness may never go away, but with time your heavy burden of sadness will lighten. So will your grieving process.
Sharing your experience with grief and the grieving process is one of the best ways to heal. If you’d like to tell your story of how you lost your spouse, I welcome your comments below.
Kathleen’s Story of Her Husband’s Death
Guest Post ~ Kathleen Airdrie
My husband bravely, but with sadness, faced the truth of his fading good health and active life. He was a man who loved the outdoors, our canoe journeys on the rivers and lakes, and our gardens. A musician, he entertained at community events that included wedding receptions and charitable functions.
The diagnosis of Parkinson’s Disease was frightening because we knew that there was no cure. Throughout the following six years as his condition worsened we cried together often. Deprived of his balance, he couldn’t enjoy the canoe, and with the tremors increasing and his strength lessening, he could not play his fiddle. We faced it together, in our home, until pneumonia ended his life one cold February day.
After my husband died, a profound sense of loss overwhelmed me. Family members were helpful, but I had the terrible and terrifying feeling of being lost – away from myself. I could hear their voices, understand the actual words, but not really comprehend enough to participate in real conversations. My meals were merely snacks; enough to sustain me. Sleep was fitful. The loneliness and pervading sense of loss weighed heavily on me.
A sign of healing was when a wonderful friend who was supportive during my darkest days of the grieving process shared my first ‘breakthrough’ moment with me. About three months after my husband’s death I told her that a family member reacted angrily to my response that I was just sort of coping. Raising her voice, she told me to ‘get over it’. I told my friend about how that remark made me sad, but mostly angry, then suddenly realized that the spark of anger was something I’d not felt since my husband’s death. We saw that as a hopeful sign.
My grieving process shifted while giving all of my attention and energies to the gardens that summer, I gradually regained my physical and emotional strengths. I began to eat better meals and sleep through most nights. Sometimes I sat in the garden and cried then continued the work with my renewed sense of purpose. While walking through my gardens a friend commented, “I know how difficult this year has been for you. Your garden is your victory.”
From that day I knew that I would be all right, or as all right as possible under the circumstances. No longer a recluse as I was during those awful months, I became involved in a few community activities again and travelled occasionally to visit family members. Most importantly, I was taking care of myself. Now, it’s not all sadness, it’s not all loneliness, it’s not all wonderful or humorous. It is a combination of all of those, as are most peoples’ lives.
“Grief is a most peculiar thing; we’re so helpless in the face of it. It’s like a window that will simply open of its own accord. The room grows cold, and we can do nothing but shiver. But it opens a little less each time, and a little less; and one day we wonder what has become of it.” – Arthur Golden, Memoirs of a Geisha.
Kathleen’s tips for the grieving process after your husband dies:
- Tell a family member or close friend what you need, whether it’s a good meal, a good listener or help with daily chores.
- Try to acknowledge the legitimacy of your feelings; be patient with yourself.
- While reminiscing with family members or friends, don’t let feelings of guilt intrude if you hear the sound of laughter from them or yourself.
Are you lonely because of your spouse’s death? Read Meeting New Friends – Help for Widows.
If you’d like to share your own story of loss and the grieving process, please comment below.