Tuesday, August 14, 2007

For the newly widowed - 4 things to remember

by Linda Della Donna

The telephone rings endlessly. Seems soon as you hang up from talking to one caller, it rings again. And each time you answer it, you must relive the dirge of who, what, why, when, where, and how it all happened, all over again. You secretly wish to shuttle to the moon and leave no forwarding address.

It's what happens when your husband dies, and you, the newly widowed, may wonder how the heck will I get through the grief process?

I know it’s not easy adjusting to life without Him. Would that I could I’d order up a giant eraser to erase away all your pain. But I can’t. Nobody can. Best I got are 4 tips to guide you as you make your way through the grief process. If you follow them, and I think you will at least try, you will soon become your own best friend. You will learn to trust your judgment, again; you will regain your self confidence, again, and eventually, you will accept what is before you, and be one giant baby step closer to mending your fractured heart and moving on with the best of your life.

Rule Number 1: Cry.

Give yourself permission to shed juicy tears. Why not? You’ve just experienced life at its worst. So be sure to keep tissues and hankies handy. You’ve earned the right.

Rule Number 2:

Smile. Okay. What’s with this writer, you say. Can’t this woman make up her mind?

Well, yes and no.

After awhile, maybe later than sooner, you’re going to notice soon as you’ve stepped one bunny-slippered foot into a room, that your friends’ eyes may start to glaze over at the sight of you, the newly widowed. You won’t need a crystal ball to tell you they got trouble dealing with you, the weepy widow woman, hanging around all the time moaning and groaning like some wounded animal -- Think silly fat fish draped around some scruffy sailorman’s neck; think Cadillac-sized white whale spouting air through a giant blow hole.

Okay. You got the picture.

Being without your husband sucks; being without your friends stinks. So give yourself permission to smile, too. Then graduate to laughter.

Snip and clip funny papers for funny comic strips; ask friends and family for their favorite joke. Tell them to write it down. Give everyone who asks the inane question, if there’s anything I can do, please don’t hesitate to ask, the Herculean assignment to go out and find you the best damn joke they never heard.

It won’t be long before your friends will see you in a new light, the one without that fin or blowhole you sported the last time you met. And because they see you still standing and smiling, they’ll be better able to accept the change in your life.

Rule Number 3. Breathe.

Inhale. Exhale. Concentrate on the rush of air through your nose. Just breathe.

Sound easy? Think again. Under extreme stress an individual may find it difficult to catch a deep breath. So best advice: Practice whenever you can.

In this way the next time you feel that golf ball sized lump in your throat grab you by the tonsils, or those fat tears well up behind your eyeballs ready to splash out your face, you’ll be prepared and know what to do. Just take that deep breath. Just breathe.

As Health Educator, Michael White says, “Breath is life so when breathing improves, all good possibilities in life improve.”

I cannot impress upon, you, the newly widowed, more than that. Besides, good breathing will make you look healthy, feel healthy, and it will help you to better focus.

Rule Number 4. Deal yourself a deck of JOY.

It is said that the best things in life are free. I call these things “Mourning Joys.”
So get to the cheap store, purchase a soft-gel pen, pick out a set of blank index cards, a cheap pair of plastic scissors, and a glue stick. While you’re at it, toss in a see-thru zippered bag to store your stash.

What are you waiting for? Go!

Next, plan a specific time in the day to sit and stare out your window. Do it for the next 10 days. For 15 minutes.

Then get ready to draw.

On a blank index card.

Can’t draw? Scribble a stick figure.

Make a circle for a head. Another circle for its body. Draw a beaked nose. Scratch two lines for legs, three lines for feet. Make a fuzzy looped line for a wing. Draw a stick tree.

Can’t do that?

Hey, no excuses. Then cut and paste.

Pull out that favorite photo album with that favorite picture of you and Him in it.
Cut and paste that on a blank card. Scribble your three favorite words, “I Love You,” on the other side.

Grab another card.

Paste a joke *the one your favorite friend sent you, remember?* on it.

Cut and paste a picture from a favorite magazine on the other side of that card. Heck, cut up a doctor’s bill. Paste that.

Snip your horoscope from the daily newspaper. Paste it to a blank card.
Write one word, “Believe,” on the flip side of that card.

JOY cards are your cards. And, you, the newly widowed, are limited only by your imagination on what to fill them with. So be creative, be free. Be filled with “Mourning JOY.”

I know it’s not easy burying your life partner. On the long list of ugly thoughts of standing over a hole in the ground with the one you love lying in it rockets to the top. Your life will never be the same without Him--I’ve said it before, I’ll say it again, Grief--Can’t go over it, can’t go under it, ‘ya just gotta go through it.

But following my 4 things to guide you through the grief process, as outlined aboue, you can and you will make it through.

And before you know it, like that old headstone in the cemetery reads, “Where you are now, I once was.” Well, “Where I am now, you soon shall be.”

You wait and see.

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