The following are shared journal entries, bits & pieces of articles, and real experiences that may help
widows and widowers as they walk the path of grief and into a new way of living . . .
Memories are our link to the past. They live on in us and are part of our history. Sights, sounds, smells, a television program or something someone says can trigger a memory of our loved one. Sometimes we lapse into periods of depression or mourning following a grief trigger. But often the memory will bring a smile to our face and a warm feeling in our heart. Be assured that memory triggers are a normal part of grief and can occur months or years after loss. Accept this experience as part of a continued healing process. Share the experience and your emotions with people you trust who will listen and will not judge you. Memories are part of the healing process that will far outlast your grief. They are our legacy.
Faith and Grief: “Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted” (Mt. 5:4) A heart that is filled with sorrow can be comforted by the strength of faith. If we look around, we can find examples of different reactions to the loss of a spouse. Where some in their grief permit the darkness to overcome, others use faith to sweep it away. Faith will ease the deepest grief. Faith tells us that all is well with our loved one and all is well with us. Faith tells us that love lives beyond life and transcends time. Your loved one is safe in God’s loving care. Soon the tears will fade and a smile will break through. Faith is easing your grief little by little!
Journaling through loss…..Writing about what you are feeling is a healthy and effective way of working through your grief. A good way to start is just by jotting down some notes of what you are experiencing……describe your feelings or your emotions, catalog the events of your day, write down some memories of your loved one, some goals for yourself or simply write down words or phrases. There is no limit to what you can journal. As journaling continues, you will find that the writing becomes more than just an outlet for your feelings. It is a testament of your loss and a lasting tribute to the one who has died. Journaling is also proof to yourself that you are making it through the grief journey…..one step at a time.
“Laughter is the sun that drives winter from the human face.”…..Victor Hugo. Can we laugh and cry at the same time? Sure we can! Laughter is sometimes the only weapon we have in challenging times. A good laugh often gives us a healthy respite from the tears of grief. Laughing and crying can not only help us survive, it can ultimately help us thrive. Laughter enables the positive chemicals in our body to circulate. It really is the best medicine. It can help us heal. Laughter doesn’t mean we are forgetting our lost loved one….as they live on in us and are part of our history……it just means we are human and we are working through our grief.
Loneliness and Loss…………The death of a spouse can redefine life in a most intense way. In a world of couples, sudden and unwanted singleness can seem isolating and lonely. Learning to be alone and enjoying alone time, can be an enormous hurdle for widows and widowers. In the beginning we can easily distract ourselves with the tasks at hand, but as time goes by and reality sinks in, we realize that we have to figure out a new way of living. One of the hardest things to do is to reach out to others, establish new friendships and find things to do that we enjoy. Research which groups and activities are available for you locally. Step out and into new life at your own speed. As time goes on and grief takes a back seat to new beginnings, hope will take hold.
Productive Grief: I recently read an article where a woman shares an entry in her daily journal following the death of both her husband and her mother. In essence, it is describing what I call “productive grief.” It reads: “Today was a good day. I worked non-stop for hours straightening, cleaning and organizing my closet. Both my husband and my mom were always busy doing things, being productive. They would be proud of me now. They loved life and were happy. I can honor their memories and do the same. I will not let grief stifle my life.” Even though we are grieving, we can still do our best to have productive days and also days where we allow ourselves to have fun and enjoy life.
The power of hope: Grief no longer feels like this great weight on my shoulders. It now feels more like the engine that propels me forward…the energy that drives me towards being the best I can be…..it moves me to appreciate what I have….to tell my loved ones how much they mean to me and to live my life to the fullest.
“Patience is the companion of wisdom”….St Augustine. One of the greatest challenges, in the grieving process, is patience. Grief takes time. For some people the fog begins to lift in weeks or months. For many others, grief may be measured in years. There is no “normal” timetable for grief. Healing happens gradually; it cannot be ignored, forced or hurried. How you grieve depends on a number of things such as; the nature of your loss, your personality & coping style, your life experience and even your faith. It’s important to be patient with yourself and allow the process to unfold naturally as you progress along the healing path.
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