We were absolutely blessed with our Church family and the community. Our parish Knights of Columbus were particularly wonderful to us. Coming by to mow the lawn, clearing fallen trees, moving furniture, helping me paint, assisting me later when our eldest daughter married. They were wonderful and took their charge very seriously to assist the widows and children. Reach out to them or if you feel uncomfortable, have a friend do it for you.
I also attended a grief group at church. I found listening to others stirred up great empathy from me toward them. I found it was hard to feel sorry for myself when I was hurting for someone else. Each story is different, yet the same. I recall an older gentleman in our group who lost his devoted wife of many years. Unlike me, when he got home at the end of the day there was no one there. His morning routine was to make a fresh pot of coffee to greet his wife each day. He followed in that same routine after her death, but only to have no one come down the stairs. He expressed it was so very difficult. I truly ached for him. At least I had 5 children at home to keep me busy. I reflected on what My husband would say, "There is always someone, somewhere, that has it worse off than me." He always had such a great attitude. Ann Voskamp posted a wonderful phrase a few weeks ago. "The best way to find your way out of the darkness, is to turn the light on for someone else." That really hit me. We all acknowledge your grief. It is so hard. But you will come through. Don't be afraid to ask for help. And in turn, reaching out in a small way to help someone else will lighten your heart and your burden. Another thing I would suggest, is not be in a rush to clear out your husband's belongings. I absolutely took my time. It was comforting for me to have his clothes still hanging in the closet, etc. Do it on your own time frame, when it feels right to you. Blessings in Christ. (PS. sorry this is so long)
I have been recently widowed, left with a 13 year old son and a hole in my heart the size of Alaska. My husband was my best friend on earth. He was so kind, gentle and funny, and we saw eye to eye on so much. I am in agony from losing him, to that rotton disease, cancer. I can't imagine it getting better somehow. I have never been alone in my entire life, never paid a bill, or taken care of the car, or anything like that. I'm just so scared and alone.
My wife passed 2 years ago, and over that time it's been a roller-coaster of emotions, and days where I felt like I was taking 1 step forward and 2 steps backward. My 3rd wedding anniversary without her is fast approaching and the lonliness around these milestones can be intense.
One last thing I'd like to say that as a resource for dealing with your grief you might want to try Griefshare, it is a non denominational Christian based grief program that has groups that meet thought the country in local churches. They have a book and a cd that the groups follow on how to deal with grief. Just google
Hang in there Kerry! God bless, Lance
I'm so sorry for your loss and the pain you are going through. I'm a widow of 2 years and 9 months. I was married at 18 and my husband died just one month short of our 40TH anniversary. I'm blessed to be able to say that at this point, I've moved from calling it my grief journey, to calling it my healing journey.
The first year I was pretty much in shock. I was numb and it was an effort to breathe, get up in the morning, get dressed and put one foot in front of the other. My "dinner" consisted of orange soda and chocolate covered gummie bears. Still, I foucused on my faith and my blessings, reading about gratitude and keeping a gratitude journal. I remember saying to people, "I'm so blessed, I've received so many blessings, even in his death," as tears streamed down my cheeks.
The second year was harder for me. I slowly came out of the "widow fog" and realized I was responsible for EVERYTHING now...the house, the yard, the car; all the upkeep and repairs, all the financial things that needed to be dealt with. It felt like I was constantly running and scrambling to keep up with everything, it was exhausting. I began to have more space between my grief waves, however when they came they were still as painful as in the beginning. I remember calling my daughter when one hit me. I was literally on the floor in pain and I couldn't understand why it still hurt so badly. For some reason I thought because it was happening less frequently that it would be less painful...that wasn't the case for me.
It wasn't until I was in my third year that I actually began to see more clearly this new life that God had set before me. I know God has a plan for me, I just don't know yet what all he has in store for me. I started to take better care of myself (eating better, doctor appointments, exercise) and started to go a little deeper and go a little further, moving out of my comfort zone. I still have a difficult time doing things on my own, but I'm getting braver and stronger. I do still have grief bursts that knock me to my knees, but they happen much less frequently now.
I was just thinking this morning about the things that helped me...I started going to daily Mass everyday (I hadn't been able to do this when John was sick), I planned some sort of contact with friends or family everyday, I participated in activities at church (book studies, classes, etc.). I attended different sorts of grief support groups - I tried one through our local hospice and didn't care for it, but I did one on one counseling through the hospice up in Canada (where my daughter and her family live) and it was great. I did an "After the First Year" group up here and that was very helpful too. I went through a GriefShare course and attended a special Holiday grief group through them. I'm currently part of a grief support group at a neighboring parish and I've found that I've healed enough that I'm able to reach out and support others.
I'm also blessed with a wonderful priest. When I first met with him in the confessional (he was brand new to our parish), said he didn't know much about widowhood, only what he'd seen with his grandma, now I'm sure he knows more about it than he ever thought possible! I go to weekly confession to him and he offers me very wise spiritual guidance. I occasioanly meet with him for more in depth help with certain situations.
I've been very honest and open and transparent with friends and family. A few have deserted, but those who have stuck by me are like pure gold to me, I treasure them and work at giving back to them as much as possible. I think our society has tried to "medicalize" illness, death and grieving. In my quest to be open about what I'm going through, I've had many thank me for teaching them the truth about these things.
Kerry, it is possible to heal from the great pain. When the grief bursts or waves come try to remind yourself that they won't last forever and just ride them out.Try to keep in mind that you're moving through the grief. The more you can let the tears and sadness out the better it will be, just let them flow, let them go...
You'll be in my prayers.