Colleen: Losing a spouse is the biggest self-development thing that could ever happen to you

May 4, 2020









I was with my husband for thirty years.  He became ill unfortunately and I became his caregiver for eight months and then he passed away.

The first few months after he dies you think you’re in grief because you’re crying a lot…it’s think you’re in grief but I think the real grief only starts hitting later.

It’s such a profound impact that your mind can’t wrap itself around what is happening and then, of course, you have to get on with the day-to-day business of somebody dying which is really just a lot of administration.

The realization of how profoundly different my life is has just started to sink in.

I got out of a lot of widow groups because I found them depressing. It almost seems like a lot of people felt like their lives were over and I just didn’t want to be in that space or energy.

I’m talking to my therapist and I’m starting to write a lot.

Take it day-to-day.

Pretty quickly people have lives to live and life goes forward and I realized the dynamic does change. Suddenly you’re a single person so that becomes very different socially. After about 3 months you’re on your own.

Losing a spouse is the biggest self-development thing that could ever happen to you. What I’m realizing, being thirty years with somebody, your identity is so intertwined with that other person.

I don’t necessarily know who I am alone. I have every opportunity now to do whatever I want because I’m not part of a couple or a relationship anymore but I have no idea what that is either.

I’m not sure where I want to land permanently. I’m trying to leave the doors to opportunity open a bit.

My business is a huge part of my life and also my hobby so I work a lot.

I have to get out into the world and get back to the business of living. I write lists of things I want to try and do.

My husband was the social bug in the family. I could easily envision myself being that lady with twenty dogs and never leaving her house and so I have to fight against that happening. I feel like I need to get out into the world and kind of force myself out there.

When you’re married it’s not like you just run off for girl’s trips all the time and now I have that opportunity.

I’m trying to say yes more than I’m saying no.

My habits have changed more to who I am.

You have plans and suddenly those plans are gone and the lifestyle is gone so I’m just figuring out what’s different.

I’m a very private person when it comes to my emotions. I can be walking through the grocery store and have a total meltdown in the dairy aisle for no reason and then the next minute I’m excited about what’s possible. It’s minute by minute.

It’s really just this rollercoaster but I’m trying to keep it more up than down. That’s the goal.

It definitely sucks as much as you think it does and it’s not even describable how difficult it is, but I would also say this…we rise to the occasion when we have to. Hard things happen. We do get through it because we have to.

Take the time you need to process what’s happened to grieve because that grief will come whether you want it to or not. It just comes sometimes and you can’t stop it.

We have to know nothing’s permanent. Things change. When it does happen you can crumple up in a little ball or figure out what’s next.

Let the emotions happen because they’re going to happen anyhow. Understand it is a really hard road because it is going to require a lot of self-introspection and reflection. It’s also an opportunity to build something new and wonderful again. Different but wonderful.

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