Donated by Ed Hersch of Pearland, Texas, USA, in hopes that it will help others.
We have all been through a most tragic situation, the loss of your dear Mother and my wife. Each of us are dealing with Mom’s passing in a different way. There is no right or wrong way, and some of us are seeking outside assistance to help us through this. Mom will always be with us, especially during the good times such as graduation, weddings and your future children. Life is not always fair or right, but this is not something we are able to control as much as we want to.I am sharing this email with you so as to provide you with a better insight on me and how I am dealing with the loss of your Mom. There are some statements which I am sure each of you can relate to for yourselves, but most are for me, the spouse. I need your support and we need to support each other.
When you you suddenly find yourself without your spouse, you don’t know what to expect.Your world’s been turned upside down. Like the mighty oak caught in a fierce wind, you feel uprooted. Your feet don’t touch the ground. You think you’re crazy. But you’re not. You’re just a new widower. Your life is forever changed.Learning to expect the unexpected will help you get through this most painful time in your life.Here are a few things you need to know if you are to survive.
- Expect people to say stupid things. “Don’t worry, you’re young, you’ll meet someone new.” No matter your age, this will sting like a hot iron on raw flesh. Your mind is on your spouse and how to preserve your memories together. The thought of another person in your life too soon after your spouse’s death may cause you additional pain.
- Expect to be asked out – by your best friend’s wife. No your best friend won’t know. Yes – it’s a wacky world out there.
- Expect to look in the mirror and wander who you are now without your spouse? Treat yourself to the time to heal and find out.
- Expect to break down when you least expect it–at the sound of the doorbell, at the sound of the telephone, at the sight of a couple walking hand in hand. All too soon the reality of being without here comes and goes and then it really hits you.
- Expect to begin each day wondering how you made it through the day before. Be grateful for today and make it the best you can. After all — it’s your day!
- Expect to feel weak, strong, angery, happy, euphoric, glad, sad, guilty, alone, lonely, trapped,free, tired, bored, overworked, overwhelmed, silly, puzzled and even like you don’t belong. You have just experienced life at its worst. Everything will be okay. Think baby steps. Think, I can and think, I will. GIve yourself time.
- Expect all your friends to run away. They’re frightened too. And they just don’t know how to handle your situation or your grief. Seeing you dealing with the death of someone near and dear is just too close for comfort.
- Expect all your friends to come back. Give them time. The real ones do.
- Expect to find yourself standing in front of an open refrigerator at 3:00 in the morning studying the expiration date on a bottle of ketchup. Give yourself permission to process your grief any way you need to. It’s okay.
- Expect to laugh when the dog pees on the living room rug, when the garage door falls off its hinges, when the refrigerator makes a puddle on the kitchen floor, and when the woman next door goes out on a date — with the woman down the street. Your life is forever changed and so is your outlook. In the big picture, these things become minuscule.
- Expect to ask yourself questions that have no answers. What if? Why me? Now what? When?
- Expect to make plans to run away.
- Expect to cancel them, because you realize there is no place to run away to forever.
- Expect there will be moments when you just wish for a giant eraser to erase it all away.
- Expect the pain to never end. It won’t. But in time you will learn how to manage it. That’s a promise.
- Expect there to be time when you do not sleep.
- Expect there will be times when you can’t focus.
- Expect there will be times when you don’t want to eat. In the beginning you won’t be able to enjoy food. But it is important to drink plenty of fluids. If nothing else, drink water to keep your kidneys flush. Nourish and take care of our body — you need your strength to heal.
- Expect to eac too much.
- Expect to not be in the mood for all the things you once were in the mood for. Imagine the new possibilities as you discover who you now are.
- Expect the sun to come out tomorrow, the daffodils to sprout in spring, every bird on the planet to sing, every oak, elm, and cottonwood to shed its leave in the autumn, the moon to glow, the stars to twinkle, the earth to spin on its axis, and then to wonder why.
- Expect no one to understand. Though they say, “I understand.” They can’t. They don’t. They never will. Not even another widower.
- Expect to make mistakes as you rediscover who you now are — that’s okay. Expect to forgive yourself.
You will make it through your grief, it’s important to realize you are not alone. What you are feeling is normal. Being informed is being prepared. It will help you survive.Expect the unexpected!And, like the mighty oak caught in a fierce storm bending in the wind to keep from being uprooted, you will learn to accept your plight. You will learn to remain grounded, and eventually you will be able to turn your upside down world right side up again. That’s a promise.Editor’s Note: Thanks Ed for sharing this valuable message.
Ed Hersh has been a member of WSN-MO since 2017. You can write him via Facebook Messenger. Ed Hersh attended high school with of Herb Knoll, Founder of the Widower’s Support Network.