The Pain of Widow Grief: Yearning For A Life That Once Was

Nov 11, 2023 | Uncategorized

Tips for Valentine's Grief

Anne-Marie wrote this in her journal shortly after her husband died.

Often my grief feels like homesickness, you know how when you were away from home and you ached to be there where you felt safe and secure. I feel so uncomfortable and scared. I see that as one longs for the home that they feel safe and familiar with, I long for my old life – the life I knew and was familiar with. I don’t want this new life.  I don’t want to be here. It hurts.  I am scared.  I long for the beautiful life I had before.  

Sometimes the pain of grief can be compared to a feeling of homesickness, much like when you’re away from home and yearn to return to the familiar. It’s a scary, uncomfortable experience that can leave you feeling lost. Just as one longs for the safety and comfort of their home, you may long for the life you once knew and loved. This new reality can be overwhelming, and it’s okay to feel scared and uncertain.

Allow yourself to mourn the beautiful life you had before, and take comfort in knowing that it’s normal to feel this way.

When we work with widowed people, we see how often they are completely lost in this new life – a life that has so much that is familiar to them yet it is also entirely different and they are not sure how to navigate it. It is overwhelming and scary. We see it with other losses too, but losing a spouse impacts almost every area in a person’s life so we tend to see it more drastically with them.

Ron has come up with a great picture that we share with our clients and it helps them because it explains what it is feels like.

It’s as if you are coming home to your house that you have lived in for years. You know where everything is in the house and how to get around all the rooms and find what you need. You walk in the house and, suddenly, it’s pitch black. You can’t see anything. But you should still be able to find your way around, though not easily, since you know it so well. But wait – all the furniture has been rearranged so nothing is where you think it should be. Now you are really lost. Can you relate to this description?

So you are in the familiar but so many things have changed. Widowed people can be hard on themselves and think they should be doing better and healing faster, when doesn’t it make sense that the process of accepting, adapting and adjusting to this new world is going to take time? Because it is.a new world to you!

If this is your experience, we are here to remind you that you are normal. This is common, even though it is troubling and discouraging. Please give yourself grace. Acknowledge the impact this loss has had on all the different areas of your life. And don’t do this alone. There is so much support out there.

Acknowledge the impact this loss has had on all the different areas of your life.

We remember stumbling in our grief as we tried to navigate our new life. We remember how hard it was. But we did it – maybe not as quickly as some around us thought we should (don’t listen to those people). We took the time to grieve well. And now we are through it and on the other side. Our lives are different. We are different. But our lives are good. We still miss our spouses. But we have much less pain and so many more happy memories. And we have found ways to continue the bond we had with them in a beautiful way.

Maybe you can’t even imagine that right now. And that’s okay. We promise you that there is hope. You can borrow some hope from us. Please hang in there dear friend.

When you’re ready, there is a lot we can do to make this journey more bearable. Check out our one of a kind widow retreat here.

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