According to a recent poll on , the biggest issue facing widows is loneliness. Some widows speak of the loneliness of losing their best friend. For some, their spouse was their financial planner and support. For some widows their spouse was their business partner. Some widows speak of missing their spouse as the father of their children and how this adds to their feelings of loneliness as a result of losing their spouse.
Whatever the reason, loneliness can be a very painful experience for those who grieve. There is a huge empty space in a widow‘s life and especially in her heart. The world, both inside and outside, can feel and appear as a huge black hole.
The world of loneliness has been described as seeing the world in tones of gray rather than in full color. The heart of loneliness can feel either raw like an open wound or it can feel numb and almost dead.
Love feels totally unavailable and almost like a dream that no longer exists for those lonely with grief. From this bleak place a widow begins her journey. And she may question whether she even wants to begin this journey. How will the loneliness ever leave? Is it even possible? What will replace the loneliness? Will she forget him if she is not lonely anymore?
The loneliness of grief often moves the griever into frantic activity. This activity can manifest in various forms. Some explore new activities or volunteer work. Some widows throw themselves into their job or look for a new job. Other widows take classes. There are still others who decide to try dating. And then there are the old standbys of TV watching or drinking or drugs or listening to music.
While most of these activities are quite viable options for those seeking to move on with their lives after a loss, they can easily become escape vehicles from the pain of loneliness.
After struggling with this profound loneliness in my own life after the loss of my spouse I slowly began to realize that my grief had moved me off center. While I missed my spouse, I was also missing how I felt within myself when I was with him.
The relational nature of women seems to create a very porous connection between women and those they love. There is an open flow within the relationship of most women and whoever they are in relationship with. When this connection is missing, there can be a real sense of feeling completely lost. There is no flow. There is only loneliness.
This loneliness can manifest as a huge empty space. This loss of connection within the empty spaces of grief can be difficult to emerge from. The frantic search to fill these spaces from the outside usually does not bring the grieving widow back into connection with herself. Activities take up time but that can be all that they do if the grieving widow is not aware of the reason for reaching out.
Grief is really about the loss of a sense of self. While all losses can have this impact on the griever, I believe this is particularly difficult for widows because of the relational issues explained above. The pain of grief is not only about the widow‘s loss of her spouse. The pain of grief is also about the loss of identity for the grieving widow.
Grief signals an opportunity to reconnect and rediscover one’s own identity again. While this is truly the work of each individual in this world, it becomes extremely crucial for grievers, especially widows.
Journaling, meditation, reading and studying, body work, energy work are a few tools that can guide grievers back to their center. From this place of awareness widows can begin to find their way through and beyond their grief.
Sandy Clendenen provides resources and services to empower widows who are feeling stuck in their grief to move beyond grief and into the new life they deserve to live. For more information, please go to [http://www.widowspath.com] or [http://www.movebeyondgrief.com].