Grief is brutal and unforgiving. When dealing with the headache of trying to regain your footing after your husband or wife passed away feels nearly impossible. Yet more than ANYTHING all we want to do is get back on track, but still keep their love and memory present in our lives.
But here’s the brutal and honest truth: Things cannot go back the way they were. Because YOU are no longer the same. As everything is changing the brutal truth is you too are changing, and that in itself is a hard self-realization to accept and embrace. Because that previous life, the one with your spouse was total and complete bliss. But now, but now what happens from here?
1.) Begin to set up daily goals:
In the beginning of the grieving process, hell even in the middle or whenever grief strikes, begin to set up smart and reachable goals. There’s an acronym in the fitness world called S.M.A.R.T, this is usually utilized for long term goals but I don’t see why it cannot be applied to grieving widow(er)s:
For example if you feel you cannot do anything today and all you want to do is lay in bed because the grief monster has you wrapped up. Set up a SMART goal for the day.
2.) Think about what you are grateful for:
In every relationship we have, we sometimes forget lessons learned or what the person stands for and we become consumed by the loss and absence of that person. Life will not be the same, and hoping for it to return is wasted energy. So begin to think of 3 things you are grateful for. It can be for your present day or from the past. Begin it like this:
- I am grateful for…
3.) Write down your anxieties and problems on a piece of paper:
When grief strikes and you haven’t felt it for quite some time, it will sneak up on you and bludgeon your soul. I am coming up to 4 years widowed and there’s some days, though few and far between, I feel the claws of grief around my throat. I’ve gotten into the habit of writing down what could’ve caused my grief to return. What are some triggers. When I start analyzing possible triggers and my anxieties, I feel a weight begin to come off me. Writing is therapeutic for me so I feel better after I express what I might not be able to convey verbally.
When I write it down on paper, not particularly in-depth, I crumple it up and throw it away so I can physically SEE I need to let go of what I cannot control.
4.) Become even more uncomfortable:
Losing a spouse is already well well well outside of the confines of comfort zone. Because you’re already so far out of the comfort zone and all you can do is watch your life crumble around you, way not do something that you know is not within your usual character. I’m not talking about robbing a bank or stealing, something within the laws of course. I mean if you are not the most social person, say hello to a stranger at the grocery store and see how it makes you feel. If you do not enjoy running, lace up those sneakers for 10 minutes and hit the pavement and see how you feel afterwards. If the answer is worse, well then we know not to do it again. If it’s exciting and exhilarating, let’s try it again, but increase the number to see how it will impact us later on.
5.) Acknowledge you are changing:
To begin to regain control, you need to admit you are out of control. You need to accept life is different. It’s more than just thinking it, you need to look at yourself in the mirror, stare down the redness and puffy cheeks as a result from crying and say, “I am not okay. Everything has changed. I am different too.”
You are not alone and this grief will tear you down and smother you, but you can become stronger and piece yourself back together bit by bit, so for the next time grief comes knocking you have the tools to regain control.