WSN-MO: Widower to Widower with Fred Colby
And… more than likely, neither do you.
One of the biggest shocks of entering deep grieving as a widower is the realization of how ill-prepared we are to deal with it… much less survive it!
And yet, widowers will often say things like:
- “I don’t need any help,” or
- “No one can help me,” or
- “No book, article, or blog can tell me what I need to know to get through this.”
Often, when one digs deeper, you find that these widowers are in just as much pain and are just as lost as the rest of us. The only difference is that they have a harder time admitting it, and just want to be left alone. I know because I felt that way for a while too.
They might also say, “Time alone can heal me.” Does anyone honestly believe that if we just self-isolate in our home that time will heal us all by itself? Or do we need something more, like:
- Human contact
- Love and support from family, friends, co-workers, and neighbors
- Grief therapy or counseling
- Men’s grief group support
- Hearing the experiences of fellow widowers who survived this experience
- Activities, exercise, and projects to help us reengage with life
- Opportunities to share our and our wife’s story
Time, together with some or all these things can help us heal. But if we just hunker down and wait for time to heal us, we will likely be disappointed. To grieve is a verb, not a noun. It is active, not stationary. If we don’t process (another verb) our grief, we are stagnant in our grief and may have difficulty extricating ourselves from it.
Grieving is an act of loving, remembering, and honoring the one we lost. The more we do all three of these active parts of grieving, the faster and better we are apt to heal.
That is not to say that we should all do it the same way or at the same pace. On the contrary, our unique grieving experience is what makes it so special to each of us. It is painful, at times life threatening, and often seems unending; but the fact that we do emerge from it, makes it another one of those growing opportunity and life experiences that makes us who we are going forward.
If we had long loving relationships with our special wives, we know that they would want us to grow and become even better men, rather than want us to sit at home moping about and wallowing in our grief. There is a time for that part of grieving, but it is not intended to be an ongoing permanent state of mind. If it becomes that, our ability to heal is greatly diminished.
So, do not fall into the trap of thinking you know all the answers and what is always best for you. Open your mind to other possibilities. Accept that others may be able to help you, that you can learn from the experiences of others, and that there just may be a viable and healthy future for you.
© 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. Buy Widower to Widower through Amazon. (If living in Canada go to Widower to Widower – Amazon-Canada) See Testimonies and Reviews of Widower to Widower. Website: Fred Colby, Author