Coming to Terms With Being a Widow
Learning to live as a single woman
Confronting grief when you lose a partner is a unique experience. Life from now on will take courage, but in time, you’ll be moving forward not as a widow but as a single woman. The grief will not have gone away, but you’ll be learning how to live with it.
If you’re left with children or a demanding job, it’s possible you’ll find your feet rather more quickly. If you’re home alone and not busy, how you cope with your loss could be more difficult. Children and/or a demanding job can be a significant driving force. Your commitment to the wellbeing of your family will hopefully help you to keep your head above water.
Kick-start each day with a positive outlook
This is not an excuse to ignore your needs, physically or mentally, but it does mean that each morning you kick-start the day with a ‘raison d’etre’. The more your thoughts are occupied, the better it can be for you. Having essential commitments you cannot ignore will help you adjust to what lies ahead. If, for example, your partner was the one looking after the financial running of the home, paying bills, etc., your bank should be happy to advise you on how to manage the comings and goings of finances. In time, you will hopefully have settled into a routine and feel you’re on top of things. Inevitably, some days will be more challenging than others, but by keeping busy, your recovery will surely come.
Coming to terms with moving on
With or without the commitment of a job or family demands, there will come a time when you feel able to cope with the painstaking process of going through your partner’s belongings. Deciding what you want to do with them may be an emotive process. Any personal items you don’t want to keep can be passed on to family or close friends. There will, of course, be certain things you cherish, because of the strong memories they evoke. The books you discussed, the love of certain music you shared are wonderful keepsakes of your life together.
This is the perfect opportunity to explore something new
If you don’t work or have retired, and your children, if you have any, have flown the nest, this is the perfect opportunity to explore something new. If you have the good fortune to be reasonably fit, anything physical will be beneficial in many ways. A sport of some kind, or dance class, could help restore your spirits. You could find yourself with others who are also widowed and form an empathetic relationship with those who understand exactly what you’re going through.
Talk to family and friends, even if they have not experienced the loss of a partner, they will want to offer their support. Whatever the age of your children, consider what the upheaval might mean for them if they see that you are not in full control.
Volunteering is a great way to use your time
If you’re without children or family living near-by and you start to feel lonely, there are various avenues to pursue. Volunteering is a great way to use your time and is extremely valuable and appreciated by those charities you help. It doesn’t have to be a shop; hospitals and animal sanctuaries are always looking for volunteers.
For some, the memories of your life together in your current home can be just too much for you. The possibility of moving house and making a fresh start becomes an appealing concept, especially if you think somewhere smaller would be more cost effective and easier to manage. If you’re a city dweller you might like the idea of somewhere more rurally situated. Think very carefully about any move you make, as you don’t want to find yourself isolated from the very people who have helped to support you through this difficult time.
A decorating project can provide an opportunity to be creative. Likewise a revamp of your garden or balcony will keep you busy and give you something to look forward to with each season.
When the time is right you may want to start dating again
At some point in the future, you may have thoughts of meeting someone new. This is nothing to feel guilty about and when you think the time is right, there are plenty of options open to you. If you’re comfortable talking to friends or family about your plans, this could be helpful as they may have first hand experience of places to meet other singles. Perhaps someone you know will have a single friend who could be an interesting proposition for you.
There are numerous classes, sports clubs and meet-up groups you can investigate. Online dating is another way to meet others who may also be widowed. Exploring the various ways to meet other singles will help you to make up your mind about dating again.
If you do find yourself dating again, enjoy the experience but keep the friendship fairly loose in the early days. Make the most of having a man in your life and try not to make comparisons. Be confident that you are a worthy partner for any man. Should things not go according to plan you shouldn’t feel bad. What is important is that you enjoy the experience. You have earned this potentially happy episode, which may or may not prove to be a life-changing chapter for the future.
Be the person you want to be, live the life you deserve and treasure your memories.