Lately I notice a lot of my widow friends reaching out because they feel alone. They are sad, wounded and hurting as they meet their new life without their significant other, a life they would never have chosen ~ if given the choice. Birthdays come and go, holidays, and just a regular Sunday and their lives are now vastly different. Some have families around them for support and some do not. Some have children and some do not. It all looks and feels difficult whether you are left to raise children on your own, or you are all alone. None of this is an easy path. It is okay to lean into the sadness, cry, and acknowledge the pain. All to often we widows (and widowers) are offered advice to keep a stiff upper lip, don’t let the children see you be weak, it’s been a year or more now you must be over it. You will never be over it, for your life radically changed when you lost someone you loved. Unfortunately, no one prepared us for this chapter of the story.
What can you do to walk this new path with grace? You may turn to other widows and widowers for support; you may turn to God and/or a spiritual practice. What is important here is that you turn somewhere for this is a burden that should not be shouldered alone. Today there are many online support groups, as well as local groups for the widows and widowers, it is not limited to the elderly only. This is a positive change, for men and women have been loosing their partners to death for centuries and until most recently there has been a stigma attached that it was only the elderly who passed away. This is simply not true, and never has been. Of course, there has been the mantra of stiff upper lip for centuries, get back out there and find another mate and move on. This does not work for all of us any longer, as if it ever did!
We have this time to show the world how to do grief. Grief is something that will touch us all at some point; it is nothing to live in fear of. It is not a communicable disease, and one cannot catch it by associating with a widow or widower. However, it will come to all of us someday. That is why it is so important for those of us who are widows and widowers to demonstrate to the world how to do grief. We can show the world that it hurts, that we cry, that there are days when it sucks the life right out of us and we lose touch. We can also show them that we are able to get back up again and move on, loving, laughing and finding joy in everyday things. I often see couples interacting together and I wonder quite frequently if they know how lucky they are to have one another and their big love? I miss it terribly and even though my marriage was far from perfect, he was my husband for many years and we had been through much together. He knew me better than I knew myself at times during our almost 20 years together. I miss having a mate to share things with; I do not like being alone on Sundays, my birthday, or holidays. However, I am enough that I will also not compromise myself to accept less than what I feel is a compliment to my soul at this point on the journey. And so, I continue to live alone and often feel lonely but I know this is my choice and I am blessed to have the choice living in a democratic society with the freedoms to be able to live alone if I so choose. Make no mistake, however, the widows and widowers who make this choice still feel lonely and it would be good to reach out to any you may know and ask them how they are feeling and listen to them with your heart for honoring them is to also honor yourself and the universe with love.
When you see others, look into their hearts, not to analyze them, but to find where you can touch them with your love. ~John-Roger