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This room is for those who have lost a spouse and need support or who can provide support to those who have.

Saint Paula is the patron saint of widows and Saint Stephen is the patron saint of deacons
Learn More: Saint Stephen and Saint Paula

Peter-793888 recently posted something which prompted this thought:

When you lost your spouse, did you have access to services/counseling such as are listed at the top of this Forum?

Did you use them? To what degree were they helpful?

If you did not, why?

May 1st 2013 new

(Quote) Marge-938695 said: Peter-793888 recently posted something which prompted this thought:When you lost your spo...
(Quote) Marge-938695 said:

Peter-793888 recently posted something which prompted this thought:

When you lost your spouse, did you have access to services/counseling such as are listed at the top of this Forum?

Did you use them? To what degree were they helpful?

If you did not, why?

--hide--
When my wife passed away close to 4 years ago, there were some fragmented programs. One was a 6-week grief support group at our Church, another was a memorial service held some months later at the funeral home. These were well done and served their purpose.

In my situation, I was a caregiver for several years -- some of the grieving was already taking place during that time. The reactions -- physically, spiritually and emotionally, still hit hard after she was called home. I'm not sure that any degree of counseling would have helped that. It's something that people have to work through. We need to go through the process -- not to rush it, postpone it, or try to eliminate it. One's personal attitude plays a large role in knowing that things will get better in time.

Many people aren't aware of what to expect when such a close loss occurs, and I would enourage those who are struggling to cope receive whatever help they need and might be beneficial to them. It's not unusual to undergo therapy afterward. It helps people understand the grieving process and the best way(s) to work through it.

I would also encourage people to participate in their parish programs. If not offered, there is an opportunity to begin a group. Beyond that, other area parishes might welcome others into their programs, just as our parish did. Church groups add the faith and spiritual dimensions to help, along with personal support. Each person has a story, and it's good to tell it to others who can truly relate. On a yearly basis, our archdiocese usually offers a day's program for this purpose. The frequency is obviously limited, but still has great value to the participants, and reaction has been positive.

May 4th 2013 new

When my first husband died 19 years ago there really was not a lot of help available. I was a caregiver for a long time before his death. I remember after his death feeling so totally alone. I was so used to taking care of him I didn't know what to do with myself. I had not worked in over 23 years so I didn't have a job to go back to. One weekend when my son was home from college he literally pushed me out the door to go to a Catholic Singles group. It got me back into circulation, because I had become a bit of a recluse. I think everyone handles grief in their own way. My grief started a long time before John ever passed away. I was grieving for what used to be. I took so much for-granted in life. You read stories like this, but you never expect to be living the life. One memory always seems to stand out in my mind it was Senior Night for the football team, and our son pushed his father out on the field in his wheel chair I don't think there was a dry eye around. Then there was the time he asked me if it embarrassed me to push him in his wheel chair, and I said of course not, but his reply was it embarrasses me. I did get counseling during his illness. I think I grieved more in the later years like when our first grandchild was born he was the person I most wanted to share that joy with. At the time of his death he was suffering so much I was ready to let him go, but that does not mean you don't feel the loss.


May 4th 2013 new

I agree with Ray. My husband passed away 3 years ago and it is something you have to work through on your own. My church only had a grieving counseling in the afternoon and I worked so that was not going to work out for me. I did attend a memorial service on a Sunday afternoon held by a funeral home and found that very helpful.

May 5th 2013 new

(Quote) Marge-938695 said: Peter-793888 recently posted something which prompted this thought:When you lost your spo...
(Quote) Marge-938695 said:

Peter-793888 recently posted something which prompted this thought:

When you lost your spouse, did you have access to services/counseling such as are listed at the top of this Forum?

Did you use them? To what degree were they helpful?

If you did not, why?

--hide--


Marge,

To my knowledge, very few parishes in our Archdiocese have such programs. However, the Archdiocese has programs for the widowed, divorced and separated. They need to have one exclusively for the widowed. Yes, all of us ever married have a loss but a totally different loss than those widowed.

After I was divorced, I attended such a program. That was 20 years ago and the best $20.00 I have spent. The program lasted for 8 weeks and each session lasted 2 hours. I quickly discovered though the widowed needed their own program. Possibly I am missing something here.

Just my opinion.

Blessings, Praying hug rose

Leon

May 5th 2013 new

(Quote) Sharon-885911 said: I think I grieved more in the later years like when our first grandchild was born he was the person I m...
(Quote) Sharon-885911 said: I think I grieved more in the later years like when our first grandchild was born he was the person I most wanted to share that joy with. At the time of his death he was suffering so much I was ready to let him go, but that does not mean you don't feel the loss.


--hide--

That was exactly my experience with my husband Frank. He was ill for 10 years becoming more and more incapacitated. I grieved while he was alive for the man that used to be and for his sorrow for the loss of life as it used to be. When he died I was more happy for him than sad, because he had begged for death. But when my second husband died unexpectedly the grief was and is overwhelming. No I have not made use of formal support groups, but have spent hours with my friends and some of my family. There have been widowers on CM that have shared their pain and loss. I find writing about it so much more cathartic than talking to strangers in a room. I have a problem with crying in front of others, except for close friends and the added stress of "losing it" in public would negate any help I would get from a group.


May 15th 2013 new
I too have a problem crying in front of strangers. I have tried groups but I don't think they are for me. Ben died after only 8 months of treatment for esophageal cancer and during that time he actually achieved remission for a short while. But the experience was truly a roller coaster ride and we never gave up to the end. I tried to heal on my own but eventually went to Hospice for counseling one-on-one. That has been and continues to be very helpful. I don't know if I would be where I am now without it m
May 16th 2013 new

I was working and tried to go back after just two weeks. I thought I had to keep some normalcy because everything was turned upside down. (That and my boss called daily to see when I would return.) I tried counseling but it wasn't for me. I lost that job 5 months later and that allowed to me to attend a grief group. It was good in that people understood, but they were much older and none had kids at home so I didn't feel like they could relate to my challenges.

What did help the most was going to mass every morning, attending Bible study and sitting in adoration. I prayed, cried, prayed and felt God's peace slowly work it's way into me. My fears were replaced with trust. My humor came back. After mass and rosary, I'd go to coffee with the ladies and they shared their experiences. My priest has assigned a befriender to visit me and we became the best of friends.

My first job after that was parish secretary at a nearby town and it was an awesome place to heal. Parishioners who knew my story (word spreads quickly in a small town) would come in and share their stories. As a group, our office prayed together daily and my office was directly across from the adoration chapel.

In all, I believe it was God's generous blessings that put people in my path and helped me along. Thw years following Bob's death have brought me closer to God than I have ever been before.

May 16th 2013 new

Part of my grieving started when my husband was diagnosed with cancer. Becuase his cancer was advanced, I knew that his chances of survival were very low. Still I refused to accept it and tried every remedy possible. When he passed away I was numb and desolate. I made use of telephone counselling services offered as part of my employment. I had 3 sessions when he was dying and the last 3 after he passed away. I also used other telephone counselling when I felt I needed to talk to someone and some of these helped depending who was on the other side of the line. I had a few sessions through the palliative care and found them supportive. I also joined a group of widows and widowers. The first one I did not jell as they were all much older than me and I had to take my kids and keep them in the next room. Then I tried another group where there were young children who had their own activities while the parent met in their groups. But this group had much younger widows and widowers and I felt odd. So I stopped attending. I then joined a walking group and although all the members were much older than me, I felt supported and was also able to support others. Attended every month, till I returned to work. I felt that this support was useful. I still had to go through the grief but talking about it helped.

I think it is important to get counselling and support that you find makes you feel comfortable.




May 16th 2013 new
Marge,
I knew right from the first week, that this was something I was not prepared to handle on my own. My head was reeling with crazy thoughts. I couldn't think. I couldn't sleep. I couldn't talk. I've never been one who thought about counseling much per se, but I knew this grief thing was way beyond my capacity to understand, to rationalize, to control. The week after the funeral I made an appointment with my doctor, she prescribed a sleeping aid, which I only took once lol. We met weekly for the first month or so and in the meantime I made an appointment through the counseling center on campus. I met with the counselor for individual counseling weekly for several months and then he transitioned me into a group, which I have been in since then.

It was the best decision I have ever made and I am a little shocked I had the presence of mind to do it. There were just too many thoughts and emotions to manage and I was unable to contain them. Grief is like an entity of its own, and it doesn't care about your sense of pride or dignity or anything else, it just consumes you and ravages you and tears down everything you thought was strong about yourself.

For most of the first year, I literally felt as if the left side of my body had been amputated and was merely a gelatinous shell. I literally felt shredded in half. It was very good to have someone who didn't know me or Pete to be able to say all the horrible things that go through your head. I had no warning that Pete would be gone. He went in to cover an extra shift because someone else had backed out. He didn't want to go in that night, which was odd for him, he never complained about work. He kissed me good bye, came back and said, "I love you so much you don't even know." I thought that was a little odd, so I followed him to the porch and told him the same. He said, he'd fill up the car, then asked if I'd be waiting for him when he got home, he really needed some time with me and then we'd go to dinner the next night. I said absolutely. He gave me his naughty grin, and the I love you sign in sign language, then drove away. The next time I saw him was one hour before the wake.

I would encourage anyone going through this, or even preparing for the death of a loved one to seek out a counselor. It I truly believe helped me navigate this last year without completely falling apart.
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