WSN: Widower to Widower by Fred Colby
Immersing yourself in grief after your wife dies is unavoidable, necessary, and healthy. This stage of your grief journey may go on for months, or even years. But if you stay buried in grief, you may need to ask, “Is this:
· conducive to your healing?
· good for your remaining relationships with children, family, friends?
· a productive way to remember and honor your wife?
· respectful of the many years you and your wife spent building a good life?”
If the tables were turned, and you died first, would you want your wife to mope around in deep grieving for years after your passing? Of course not!
Well then, how the heck do you pull out of this deep grieving? I have spoken before of “reinventing yourself” as a key part of this process. Many would like to feel a sense of success in life again.
In the past, success might have been measured by your role as a husband, father, son, business owner, worker, coach, or volunteer.
There are so many ways to achieve success… the list is endless. The trick is to find ones that work for you. As men, we desperately need this sense of success… and without our wives around to cheer us on and to validate our success, we may have to find new ways to achieve it.
In the 2018 Harry’s Masculinity Report (a survey of 5,000 men ages 18-95 across the US) it found that the strongest predictor of men’s happiness and well-being is their job satisfaction, by a large margin. “Men at work are more likely to be men at ease with themselves. Everything else—contentment at home, in relationships and friendships—flows down from men being satisfied at work.”
Other top indicators of a positive mindset and wellness for American men are… their physical and mental health, income, age (men over age 50 were significantly happier…), and relationship status. The survey found that 91 percent of married men had normal or better levels of mental positivity. And friendship is a particularly strong predictor of well-being for men.
So what does a widower do now that they are not working, no longer have a wife, and may be having trouble maintaining their friendships? To top it off, many of us find ourselves facing various physical problems brought on the by stress of losing our wife.
The first step is to re-evaluate what you still have in your life that defines you and can help you to regain that sense of success. This can be your role as a:
· Father, grandfather, uncle, or brother
· Friend who cares for and helps others
· Volunteer at your local nonprofit, church, school, library, or other community organization
· Part or full-time employee
Each of these can provide you with a real sense of self-worth while contributing to your community. The return can be invaluable whether it be gratitude for your efforts, building of new friendships, or just feeling good about yourself.
A sense of success and happiness is possible again; but it takes hard work and persistence to realize it.
© Copyright 2020 Fred Colby All rights reserved
Fred Colby is the author of Widower to Widower, which is available on Amazon.com. You can find Fred’s column appearing here on WSN-MO every other Tuesday. Widower to Widower is available through your local bookstore, my website, and Amazon.