I wish I could tell you that the rough days of being a widow disappear over time, but that’s not entirely true. I am coming up to the 6th anniversary of my husband’s death soon and I still have some rough days. You may have those days too for many years to come.
Those days when you just miss him so much, you feel that intense pain all over again start to get farther apart and a little easier to deal with, but they can still sneak up and overwhelm you. In the beginning there is just no way to cope with them and the grief nearly knocks you down. After a while, though, you will have moments of sadness and loneliness, but there are ways to get through them.
Make Plans with a Friend
If you know that certain days are going to be rough to get through, such as birthdays and anniversaries, make plans to spend some time with a good friend. Tell them you just don’t want to be alone. A dear friend will understand and will spend the time with you however you want to. Go out and do something fun, or just spend quiet time with that friend talking and reminiscing.
Make sure that your friends know that you are okay with talking about your deceased spouse or even about how you are feeling. Some friends avoid the subject for fear that they will upset you even more. Start a conversation like, “Remember how he used to…”
Honor His Memory
Do something to honor your loved one’s memory. The day you became a widow is usually a hard one, even years later. I purchased a large fountain and built a memorial garden in my back yard in memory of my husband. I live in Illinois so it must be taken down in the fall and stored.
Every year, when spring comes, I clean up the Memorial garden and set that fountain up, rain or shine, on the anniversary of his death. It somehow makes me feel closer to him and it gives me a purpose instead of sitting and dwelling on my thoughts. I also have an Angel with wind chimes in that garden and I feel somehow at peace when I sit beside it and listen to the chimes twinkle.
It’s Okay to Have These Days
As I said, it’s been nearly 6 years and I still have my rough days. Widowhood is hard and each of us deals with it differently. Friends will accept and understand whatever mood you are in, or however you are feeling. Real friends will cry with you, laugh with you or just be there to sit beside you.
Writing articles like these helps me to cope on some of those rough days. I write more about widowhood and being single after all these years, plus lots of other topics, at Daily Two Cents. Drop by and read whatever interests you and leave a comment. I’d love to hear from you.
It doesn’t matter if you are a new widow or if it has been several years, when Valentine’s Day rolls around you are going to get the blues. You’ll be reminded of past Valentine’s Day, when you got flowers and went out to nice dinners with your spouse, or even just spending the night alone at home. It’s definitely one of those holidays you will dread.
You may even feel a little resentful of those who are talking about all of their great plans. That’s okay; you are entitled to those feelings. This was a special day for being with your loved one and suddenly (or even not so suddenly) being alone on that day after many years is hard. Every widow around will agree that it is depressing and brings back all of the hurt of being alone.
I have been a widow for nearly six years now and am still alone. It’s easier to deal with, but I do understand the pain and depression of those first couple of years. But just remember, that the key thing about Valentine’s Day is it’s all about showing love and caring for another person.
Sure, it’s designed for lovers and romance, but who’s to say that widows and single people can’t show their love in other ways? There are a lot of lonely people out there. Perhaps reaching out to one of them will help your own case of the Valentine’s Day blues.
Widows that have lost a loved one more recently than you can benefit from you. After all, who knows more about spending those first few Valentine’s as a widow, than another widow? Show a younger widow some love and caring this Valentine’s Day. It will ease your loneliness and blues and will make her feel better too.
I personally will probably be spending Valentine’s Day with some very sweet grandchildren. What better way to feel loved than having a grandchild hug you or hugging them back? Maybe we will bake cookies, or color or just watch movies. I’ll be with someone I love and who loves me. That’s what it is all about, right?
I also write about the single life and being a widow at a site called Daily Two Cents. I recently wrote an article that has lots of great ways for you to spend Valentine’s Day. Single on Valentine’s Day? Make the Most of It may give you just the right idea to have a wonderful day.
Thank you all for reading my Widow’s Walk here on Everyday Woman. I plan to publish at least one post a month here, and hope to see you come back. While you are here, look around at the other great articles.
Here are a couple from my Widow’s Walk column:
Widows Walk: Why Do I Need Hospice Cares Help?
Widows Walk: be Prepared for Gossip and Rumors to Fly
It’s a shame that you have to be warned about such a thing, but believe me you will need to be prepared to hear many rumors and gossip about what you are doing (or not doing). Some people have nothing better to do, especially in a small town.
Here you are, trying to deal with the grief and loss of your spouse and the next thing you know people will have you either withering away in your home or out playing the “Merry Widow.” I seriously hadn’t left my house in months after losing my husband, but believe it or not, I heard through the grapevine that I was getting remarried!
Yes, people are going to talk and it will unfortunately find its way back to you. You’ll have to learn not to let it bother you, as hard as that sounds, because it seriously doesn’t matter what you do, someone will gossip about it. If you choose to stay by yourself and live a quiet life, you’ll hear, “Oh the poor thing is just withering away.” If you do start going out and maybe even dating, you’ll hear gasps of, “She is dating already?”
YOU know what you are doing and whether it is right for you are not. If you choose to stay single and spend most of your time at home, that’s fine. I stay home most all of the time, but I have plenty of gardening and hobbies that I enjoy. I am certainly not “withering away.” The same goes for if you decide you are ready to go out with friends and possibly even date.
It’s hard to hear rumors and gossip about what you are, or are not, doing but chances are someone is going to offer up their opinion. Remember, it is just an opinion. Your true friends will remain your true friends and support you in however you decide to go forward. Don’t let a few gossipy people add to what you are already going through. Be prepared for it to happen, but also be prepared to brush it off.
My name is Donna and I am just and Everyday Woman trying to figure out this aging thing, I also get to figure out how to do the Widow's Walk through life. I lost my husband to cancer nearly four years ago, after being with him since I was 15-years old. He was always a big fan of my writing ability and I thought, "What better way to honor him, than to keep on writing and maybe be able to help someone else who is going down this same path.