Steve, our former Widowed Young Support Coordinator, has found from experience, that it's important to manage the expectations of well-meaning people and consider carefully what you do with your time.
Those near and dear to a widowed person don’t like to see them in pain, and want them to recover quickly.
It’s interesting how the expectations of these well-meaning people, can often be expressed in statements like:
- ‘You should be over it by now.’
- ‘Don’t let it control your life.’
- ‘It’s been a year now so it’s time to have some fun again!’
- ‘Time is a great healer.’
Those widowed young often say they can feel like they should have moved through their grief when they hear these types of comments.
In our experience, it’s not time in itself that heals, but how you spend your time. Unfortunately, staying under the duvet day after day or throwing yourself into keeping busy uses up time, but is not helpful on your grief journey.
People often use the word it when talking about loss, but what exactly is it? Here are some examples:
- It is the day after the funeral, and reality of the loss hits home.
- It is your first day back to work, when every minute you’re afraid you’ll burst into tears.
- It is their birthday, but there is no them to celebrate, or it’s your birthday and there is still no them to celebrate it with.
- It is Valentine’s Day, only this time there are no hearts and flowers to share with them and your heart is broken.
- It is Mother’s Day or Father’s Day, and you feel the pain for your children who no longer have a mum or dad to whom they can demonstrate their love and gratitude.
- It is seeing your children get married, have children, all the milestones in their lives, and their other parent is not there to share the celebrations with you.
- It is going back into that church for the first time, and feeling that all eyes are on you.
- It is trying to do all the things you always did, but now doing them by yourself and trying to be both parents.
However, it in the examples above can get better; with help, with some understanding of your grief journey and with what you do with your time.
There is no right or wrong way to grieve. There are no rules on the length of time you should grieve. You will never ‘get over’ the loss of your beloved partner, but there will be a new normal and life can be good again.
There are also good books which cover this. One book we recommend is I’m Grieving as Fast as I Can: How Young Widows and Widowers Can Cope and Heal by Linda Feinberg.
Our widowed young befrienders are also here to help. Seeking help and support from those who have experienced untimely loss is important in helping you move forward. Time spent with these people is well spent. Now maybe that is when time can heal you!
Find out about our befriending support and how you can access it.
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At Care for the Family we support couples, parents and those who have been bereaved. If you would be able to make a one off donation to support our work, we would be very grateful. Thank you.