After the death of a partner, and the shock when numbness starts to wear off, it is quite common to experience the pain of loneliness even if you are not alone. After all there is a painful empty space in the heart and the absence of a physical presence.
The following tips to combat loneliness are from those who have been through this pain:
It is important to stress that some things that work for some will not work for others and that we are all very different in our grief journey.
“Purpose to do something that you used to enjoy. For me that was fitness activities and sometimes it meant getting a babysitter.” Craig
“Weekends were the worst time so I took the kids swimming every Saturday morning and asked friends to pop in. Later I took up several new hobbies/interests (tennis, ceroc, choir, orchestra, A level).” Chantal
“For me it was having the right people to be able to talk to – friends and/or professionals that were sensitive, understanding, good listeners and cautious about the “good advice” that they offered. I didn’t need good advice, I needed someone to be able to create the right kind of space for me to be able to grieve. Sharing my grief with someone else was often helpful. P-J
“Writing my prayers and journaling.” Aurel
“I decided to join the local running club which met every week. I was definitely a beginner and was very unfit but it gave me a reason to go out and meet new people. It worked because I didn’t have to talk to them (our group was so unfit that we couldn’t run and talk at the same time!). Although it was hard it really helped my confidence and helped me feel less lonely. For that time I wasn’t a young widow but an unfit runner who as time went on slowly became fitter and made some new contacts. I also joined a WAY (Widowed and Young) group locally which met weekly in a social club It helped to have someone in a similar situation to talk to.” Helen
“If I was asked out to friends or families homes I always said and still say yes, that would be lovely despite how I was feeling. Also listen to a radio programme with lots of talking, like Radio 4, as this distracts from constantly thinking about what has happened to you.” Elaine
“I found it helpful to make sure I had something simple to look forward to: arranging for a really good friend to visit for a takeaway or if I was really organised to get a babysitter and go out.” Jackie
“Make sure that you have a list of people that you can call. Ask people who have offered to help if they would make a regular commitment into your life like a regular meal together or evening activity such as a walk or babysitting for you so that you can go out.” Ruth
“Take it one little step at a time, do not try to go too fast. There is no normal. Everyone’s grief goes at a different rate, so ignore all those who say you should be over it by now.” Kate
“Accept every invitation. Make use of your friends i.e. if they’ve said ‘any time you need me…’ take them up on it!” Sarah