Tuesday, February 21, 2017

One Widow Wants to Know, Letters, Hello Linda



Letters, Griefcase gets letters.
Hello Linda,

I just became a widow at age 57. And I'm atheist. And I'm a lifelong loner who used to love solitude but now feels lonely, which seems very strange. And I have no brothers or sisters or cousins or friends, not even one friend. And I'm not a joiner. And I'm in therapy for social anxiety disorder.

So my problem is this - When I look on the internet for other women like myself, I don't find anybody whose situation is exactly like mine.

People advise turning to God (that doesn't work for me). They advise joining organizations (hard to do when you have crippling shyness and anxiety). They advise turning to family (What family?) They advise turning to friends (What friends?) They offer "reassurance" that the loneliness will go away. What if you used to love solitude, but now feel lonesome?

I feel so alone in my situation. Is there no other woman quite like me in the entire world?

CF


Hello CF,

First, my sincerest condolences. Though I am a widow too, I can't imagine what it is you are going through. Grief is like a thumb print--no two alike. Each one of us must plow our own new path. Next, your situation is not unique and you are not the only widow in the entire world feeling alone and lonesome. I get letters all day long from widows from all over the world writing to let me know how alone and lonesome life is since losing a beloved spouse. And some even have family, friends and religion for support. In time, we widows all learn a new normal--acceptance that the love our life is forever gone and we must pick ourselves up, dust ourselves off, and move forward. You can and you will get through the tunnel of grief. I promise.

Your letter is well written and you are able to express your feelings well, especially at this difficult time. This tells me that you are smart, focused and have a good heart.

You mention that you have difficulty reaching out to others, and point out that "People" give you advice, and that you are seeing a counselor to help you with a social anxiety disorder. Your letter to me tells that you can and do reach out. Seeing a counselor is another plus. All this is a good thing and you need to be made aware of this.

The Grief Journey is a long, hard and most challenging trek for all widows mourning the loss of a husband. In a perfect world there would be a little book of instructions complete with road map, compass, and set order of directions in which to turn to guide us. But there isn't. So we must turn to ourselves. It is all deep inside you. You have to just sit quiet and let it happen--when you least expect it, it will bubble up and remind you that you are okay and that everything will be alright.

Losing a spouse is like losing a limb and we must relearn how to walk unaided again.

Give yourself permission to grieve. There is no right way. There is no wrong way. There is just your way. Keep doing what it is that you are doing. I believe you are on the right path. And by the way, for what it's worth, you write beautifully. Why not keep a journal, write in it every day, if only for ten minutes. It will be good reward to see how far you have traveled in your journey one week, one month, one year from now.

I hope this helps. Write to me again in six months and let me know how you are doing.

Best,

Linda Della Donna
...And sometime when I wasn't looking,
I got a new life.