“You’re a widow. “
Words that no one ever wants to hear. Words that put you into a club that no one wants to join. Words that put you in the club with the worst admission price. The loss of your partner.
First things first, I want to make a couple of things clear for the WidowLife blog readers. The main thing to remember is that grief and coping with being a widow is different for everyone. The second thing that you need to know is that I speak from experience. I lost my husband in August 2019
Being a widow is traumatic, and in those first days/months, you will have lots to do. I am not going to attempt to list all of the things you need to do, there are too many. Plus of course, everyone’s needs are different. I’ve posted some checklists for you that I sourced online. I’ve included links for ones from USA, Australia and the Uk.
Before you do anything else, I recommend that you sit down, just you, a relevant checklist, and a cup of coffee. Cross off everything that you have done or those things that don’t apply to you. Have a good read of it and make some notes. Get yourself a clear starting point.
Now, practicalities aside, I want to check in with you to tell you a few other things to prepare yourself for. There’s no easy way to say some of these so I’m not going to sugar coat it.
- Widow-brain – you are going to be forgetful and it’s something that you will work through. It`s natural. Do whatever you need to help yourself.
- Your friends may tell you “not to do things yet,” such as cleaning out clothes etc. Grief is different for everyone. You do it when it’s right for you.
- People will tell you “I know how you feel.” The loss of a spouse is very different to the loss of a child, friend, sibling or parent. You will find yourself nodding along to these familiar words.
- People will tell you that “you’re so strong” but of course they don’t see you when you’re alone at night.
- Friends may say “ring me if you need me”. They are trying to be helpful and it is because they don’t know what to say and also what you need. A piece will be coming in the future on how to ask for help.
- This next one was a biggie for me. I didn’t foresee this coming at all and it hit hard. Grief will alter your friendship circle. There will be some who’ll stay and some who’ll go. Friends may have been more your spouses friend than yours. Of course, you and your husband may have been friends with other couples. Now, however…you are a single and not a couple. Life has changed. This is one that you really need to prepare yourself for. You end up grieving the living and the passed.
Widowhood is a long road. I’m walking it with you and from my experiences and ideas, hopefully I can guide you. As a spouse, the first thing you need to do for your partner is arrange a funeral. In Februarys WidowLife blog, we are going to look at funerals and ask the question ‘to have one or not to have one?’