When Will Joy and Laughter Fill Our Savvy Senior Widow Life? Laughter will come to widows to help us begin to heal.
Today, 3 1/2 years after Marty died, one thing I know for sure, I don’t and can’t control a darn thing in life. Not. One. Thing.
At first, even when the sun shines, the first few months of grief are the most cloud-covered time.
Maybe it was realizing I would now forever be without the man who was everything to me. Can you relate to this? He/she was everything to me.
Thinking about what I would miss the most about this man who was beside me 3/4s of my life.
Just what kind of test was God’s interrupting the unexpected with more unexpectedness?
Although barely 2 weeks passed with Marty dying, God called my mom to heaven when she was days from turning 90. Indeed, she was happy! Mom would often say, “Jesus, take me now.” As strong a woman as she was for every situation life would put in her path, she knew Jesus was preparing her. I do get that. It’s not easy, even with age, to say the final goodbye.
But Marty God? Geez, he only just turned 68. I was now angrier and in unbelievable pain.
When will that extrovert side of me kick in? Will it even help the pain?
Marty was the extrovert. So, he’s the one who would come home saying, “Babe, I met this guy at (the place he was hanging out that day), and we have to get together with him and his wife.” Everyone who knew Marty knows his exuberance for life.
Now, the introvert in me, who always felt balanced and understood by this man, is on her own.
How will I ever find my way? If there is a way.
First, I looked for and found a grief group. The first one I went to was introvert-friendly – just a small group of 7 of us!
For this reason, I looked forward to almost every meeting, even though one meeting along the way brought out the worst in me. For sure, eventually, I’ll share with you the most revealing one about my relationship with God at that point. Let me just say it wasn’t pretty. Fortunately, others in this wretched season usually understand the insane outbursts. Only not from a petite, typically quieter, and friendly person.
Then, I felt maybe a grief counselor—one closer to my age, would understand and be able to help me. And, finding one who is a widow, I chose a woman as my counselor within weeks after these 3 deaths of dad, mom, Marty. It felt like eerily similar bonding details: she was married for 47 years, then her husband died!
This is one of those God’s winks we all get along the way in life if we pay attention.
My counselor’s early suggestion from her own grief journey, “Get up, get dressed, get out.”
After I completed a short 8-week grief group, the winter holiday season showed up. Geez, all the happy holidays suddenly held a cloud over them. Why would I even want to celebrate anything?
To continue healing while groups took a holiday, I signed for 365 daily emails to help with the grief process.
Day 10, Identify Your Losses, is one of the emails I kept from my journaling. The assignment is to identify what is lost in a death and then … grieve each one. I read the initial list of 16 and followed the suggestion: “Say your losses out loud to God; speak until you run out of words to say.” You’ll see that list is just a start but oh, how I could relate. The list started with your:
- source of delight
Sixteen? Nope. I added about 16 more losses. More shock! So much more than I would be willing to think about.
Yet, somehow, my spirit started to lift. In particular, because I began to smile with some much gratitude. I was—acknowledging in part why the pain was so agonizing.
It’s not half of us we lose when our spouse dies; it’s more like two-thirds: him/her and us.
Reading each part of the loss was bringing clarity that I so often took for granted many of these traits in my husband. He was so much to my life, some I didn’t give pause for thought in his living.
While I wouldn’t see the future or even believe there would be one for me, my life started to shift from constrained, robotic, lifeless to wanting to find out now without him; who the heck am I?
That’s what I did. I met a group that literally helped me start getting my life, my new life, together.
Even with COVID mixed in, I am still moving forward in ways I never dreamed about. Why dream about this? Because, otherwise it can be a continuing nightmare that can hold us hostage to grief.