Widowhood Transitions & Moving/Downsizing

It has been six months already, yet that moment feels as raw and painful as a knife stabbing your heart. At first you thought you wouldn’t be able to breathe again, as if you were dying yourself, every single moment, every single day. The short relief you would get from sleep would vanish after the first few seconds you opened your eyes in the morning and you knew it was true. They were gone, forever, that was it, you were alone now.

Alone to deal with a world you were used to handling and enjoying as a couple. A world that has bitterly and painfully changed and you feel no part of it, as if there was a veil separating you from it. Everything feels cold, painful and grey. You long for some relief, you try hard to focus on the present moment, the tasks at hand, look at and appreciate the beauty of nature around you, be present for your children, family, friends, people in need. Yet you’re exhausted from all the effort, you feel drained, empty, dry.

Even though time has stopped for you, the world around you keeps going at its usual pace. There are things to be done, decisions to be made, issues to take care of. All of life’s demands seem and feel so hard to handle, manage and control. All you want is to sit down, be left alone and sink into your pain undisturbed, float in time, into your memories, the feeling of soothing comfort of the known past. Dreading your unknown future, perhaps even feeling totally indifferent, spent, done.

Reality can be as relentless as it can be inspiring, joyful, satisfying. After the death of your loved one, reality does not feel as your good friend any more but rather as a nagging relative from hell. It knocks on your door in the form of funeral arrangements, legal issues, management of your property, belongings and affairs. It is pushing you to make decisions you do not feel ready to make, or so you feel at the time. It may change its face totally for you to the point you do not recognize your life, yourself.

The loss of a spouse/partner, especially a lifelong one, can be devastating, crushing, and unbearable. It may feel as if you will never feel pain free again, as if there is no light at the end of the tunnel. The effects are stronger and deeper, the stronger and deeper the love. So how can you go about it? How to handle this roller coaster of grief? How to survive the tsunami waves of sorrow? How to manage to keep it all together and come out to the other side alive, stronger, wiser, even a better human being?

Everybody handles grief in their own personal way, but there are a few things that help most people in widowhood.

Early stages

·       Take each day, moment by moment, step by step. Do not look too far forward, stay in the present and deal with the immediate tasks at hand.

·       Make sure you eat at least one nutritious meal per day, fresh vegetables and fruit and drink loads of water

·       Listen to your body, make yourself as comfortable as possible, ask for help

·       Cry as much as you feel like, let the sorrow and pain flow out

·       Write and ‘talk’ to your loved one, it’s OK, it can actually be quite healing to express and say things that had been left unsaid, express emotions that you did not express

·       It is OK to feel angry, betrayed, abandoned. Grief is not rational by any means. Grief brings our world upside down, it is a tremendous shock, it is OK to feel every emotion on the rainbow

·       Be loving and accepting of yourself, compassionate and tender. It is OK to want to be left alone, it is OK to seek out company, it is OK to do ‘crazy’ things as long as you do not hurt yourself or others

·       This is your loss, your pain, your way of dealing with it, whatever ‘others’ may think or say, it is their business, not yours. You can indulge in some selfishness, care more about yourself than others. You have to if you are to heal, recover your strength, and move forward

·       Do stay connected with your family, friends, the world around you in some way, this is your lifeline to everyday life. Be that a phone call, an outing, having lunch, volunteering if you feel up to it, anything that keeps you connected to the world around you is good

·       Do NOT take any major decisions for at least a year if possible. Make sure your mind is clear and can understand the consequences of those decisions. If circumstances force you to do so, take the advice of people you trust and have your best interest in their hearts

Some people get numb with the shock of loss. Others cannot stand the pain and shut it out. Whatever your way of reacting to it, there are some practicalities regarding what comes next that are good to consider.

For some of us our reality and everyday life undergoes significant changes which require a certain amount of clarity of mind, awareness of what we want to do next. Some of us may not be able to afford or want to live in our house anymore and need to move to a smaller place, a retirement or care home or even with our family.

Undesired change is hard to deal with, causing even more distress and pain especially if those changes are forced upon us in a relatively short amount of time. Everything we knew as our reality may change in a matter of a few months or even weeks. Our sense of identity may be rattled, brutally shaken and this may make things exceptionally challenging.

We may have to decide what to do with a whole lifetime of possessions and overwhelm can be an understatement. This is when it may be a good idea to ask for help from those who care about us. We need all the support and help we can get. Yet, our loss, may be their loss too, they may be struggling with their own pain and emotions, stress and/or frustrations. Sometimes it may even not be the best idea to ask the help of people too close to us, but better to ask the help of someone detached but understanding enough to help us with a clear and practical as well as compassionate mind.

This is where I come in to help and support you. Having been through widowhood myself, I know how it feels, I may not be in your body and soul but I do have a pretty good idea of your state of mind and what would be most helpful.

Being a professional, I have the necessary detachment, the patience and purpose to see you through the practical problems of sorting out through your and your beloved spouse/partner’s possessions and the attached memories. I can offer as much or as little help and support as you need. Your goal is my goal. Make the whole process of moving/downsizing as smooth and stress/pain free as possible, so that you can embrace your future with a healthy dose of curiosity and creativity.

This is not the end, this is a new beginning. No matter if you do not or cannot believe it right now, this is the way it is. Time will prove this to you, but you have to play your part too. Take action and co-create this change. I am here to help you through this.

You can contact me at: info@innerdreamtoouterform.com