Widow

As we are all aware, the one inevitable fact of human existence is that we will die. Our own mortality can be difficult enough to face. However, should we react to the trauma and pain experienced at the death of our nearest and dearest? How do we deal with the multiple grief of not only losingthe life-long love, companionship and support of our spouse, but also the shared experiences, hopes and dreams that also perish when our spouse dies?

Death throws human beings into spiritual and emotional turmoil. However, a problematic traditional attitude to the grief of the bereaved is to shy away from it, or to ignore as a consequence ofreligious beliefs surrounding life after death. It often assumed that if we are an individual of faith, we will be able to cope wonderfully and no one need concern themselves. Often others feel inadequate and lack the confidence in what to say to comfort the bereaved and end up avoiding them. As such, often this prevents the bereaved from speaking up or making it known that they need help.

In times of crisis, it is very easy to feel as though we are alone and that our cries are going unheard. However, this does not have to be so. It is crucial to reach out to those around you that you love and trust, and to share your burden with them. Nurturing a positive psychological outlook, and keeping up your hope for you and your family's future are also critical to learning how to deal with your emotions during this difficult period.

 

Below I offer a few observations about the grieving process.

1. Take your time to adjust

Try not to force yourself into situations, or into doing things that will emotionally overwhelm you or make you uncomfortable. This could be anything from invitations to particular gatherings, to undertaking tasks that your spouse would have fulfilled. Gradually ease yourself back into functioning at your optimum.

2. Don't isolate yourself

Seek out others who have been through, or are going through a similar situation to yourself who can give you sound advice on the daunting changes and adjustments you are facing in your life. Community groups for widows are a good source of strength, comfort and friendship. Don't try to get through this time alone, and don't be afraid to ask for help from friends, family and relevant institutions.

3. Express your emotions

Allow yourself to cry as an outlet for your natural emotions. However, do not allow yourself to wallow in self-pity which can lead to depression and other negative psychological states of mind.

4. Be patient

Coming to terms with the grief of bereavement takes time. The relationship you had with your husband did not develop overnight, and so the pain will not suddenly disappear either.

5. Seek comfort in your faith

When you need a listening ear or the comfort and strength to keep going, turn to your faith to help unburden you of the pain and grief. Focus on the positive aspects and blessings in your current life as well as the happiness of the life you spent with your spouse.

6. Live one day at a time

You will no doubt have ups and down; good days and bad days. This will allow you to deal with each day as it come and appreciate the good times. Focusing on the future and the prospect of a life spent alone will hinder you from making the necessary adjustments to your new life. No one knows what the future holds, and what blessings there are in store for you.