I have officially hit my first year as a widow and I would like to share some of my experiences and lessons learned during this unimaginable time.
1. You are stronger more than you could have ever imagined. Especially during the times where you feel like your heart is going to stop because it hurts so much and you feel you can’t take another breath. But suddenly that moment passes and you are still breathing. Being strong is about getting up when life has knocked you down to your knees. These wins can include things such as taking a shower, feeding your child, or even going outside of your home. You are strong just for breathing today.
2. It’s YOUR GRIEF. Throughout this year I have learned that people will want you to do things their way, or judge you or even abandon you because of how you are grieving. I want to tell you that this is YOUR GRIEVING PROCESS AND NO ONE ELSE'S. Sometimes people mean well, and sometimes they don’t understand what it is that you are personally going through. But I’ve learned to be gentle with myself, do things that make me happy and things that will help me move forward with my grieving process. I’ve learned to say no to things I don’t want to do, and comfortable enough when others don’t agree. This is your grief journey, do things that will help you and don’t rush the process. Remember, no one else is in your exact shoes!
3. Things are different. For the longest time, I just wanted my old life back. I cried so much as if all my tears would change that. But I have learned that will never be again. That is a very hard thing to understand. I am still going through the process of adjusting to this reality. I still do stuff that my husband wanted to do and enjoy. That is my way of still having a relationship with him now. It’s not a physical relationship, but a spiritual one. I also do new things for me, such as volunteering. The combination of these things is helping me go through this new life. I can’t change what happened to my husband, but I can honor him while going through this new phase in my life.
4. This is incredibly DIFFICULT. Losing the person you were going to spend the rest of your life with, or has been with you for most of your life, is just unimaginable. This loss feels unreal, it is raw, and it changes you as a person forever. This loss throws you off balance, makes you feel like you want to die too, and you lose hope in so many ways. The question of why them lingers in your mind every day as you are reminded by an empty bed space, lonely meals, and things they used to do or wear. What people don’t know about us, is that we feel pain every day. Our hearts are broken with every decision we make, every task, every holiday every event. We lost our partners, our lovers, our helpers, our companions, our protectors, our best friends. We lost a part of us. This loss is incredibly difficult. And just because we look okay on the outside, doesn’t mean we are okay on the inside.
5. You are not the same person. Your world has been shattered into a million pieces, while everyone else's just keeps turning. Things have changed drastically in your life. Your now and your future are different. Figuring things out can be complex, and messy, but that is okay. People sometimes expect you to do the same things you used to while your loved one was still alive. But the reality of it is, is that they are no longer here. You now have different responsibilities, priorities, duties and a different perspective in life. You are changed forever, and people may not like that. But you have to remember your everything changed, and for others, only a few things changed.
When my husband first passed away, I was living minute by minute, hour by hour. At times, it felt like I couldn’t live past another day. But I am happy to say, I am still here. I have had to work very hard to be here. I’ve done several things to help me move forward with this tragedy. My daughter and the love that I have for my husband have been my motivation. This is what kept me alive. If you feel very lost, find that motivation that can help you move forward.