WSN-MO: Widower to Widower with Fred Colby
Whether quoting from Wayne’s World or the Bible, the phrase “I am not worthy” may describe how we feel at times after our wives pass away. A ritual of self-condemnation and feelings of inadequacy often overwhelm us at this time. It is so easy to fall into a pattern of blaming ourselves or others.
This pattern may lead to self-destructive behaviors, may drive friends and family away from us, and may lead to self-isolation and growing behavioral problems.
We might condemn ourselves for:
- Imagined or real failings during our wife’s illness
- Outliving her (after all, she was an angel and deserved to live longer)
- Not recognizing her health issues sooner, or not taking them seriously enough
- Imagined or real past failings dating back decades ago
Or, we might be angry at:
- Medical professionals for not saving our wife
- In-laws for their behavior before and after our wife’s death
- Family members for not being there for us when we needed them most
- Neighbors and friends for real or imagined insensitivity
This may all lead to our feeling inadequate to:
- Deal with all the post-death issues such as finances, funerals, notifying others, etc
- Continue without her in our life
- Maintain important relationships with those most important to us and our well-being
- Build new relationships to help escape the pit of loneliness we find ourselves in
To confront and deal with all of this, we first have to decide that we DO NOT want to be in this place of self-condemnation and inadequacy. Often, the best people we can turn to gain the courage to move forward are: 1) OUR WIFE, and 2) A Grief Counselor.
You may be asking yourself right now, “What is this guy crazy? Why my wife??”
When you stop to think about it, it makes sense. Who was your most important compass, your most important advisor, and your biggest supporter during all those years of marriage? Your wife, of course! And you know what, in thought, she is still with you, still a part of you, and still able to guide you.
If you ask yourself, “Am I worthy? Who is the real me now? How do I move forward?” … and if you listen, you know what she would say! Heck, you are still having her participate in your real and imagined conversations anyway.
She would tell you to pull yourself together, that you are still loved, and that she wants you to live life again… not hunker down and hide in sorrow for the rest of your life. She would tell you to let go of the anger at yourself and others, to forgive yourself and others, and to get out there and meet new people and engage in new activities.
I am not saying that this is all easy. It is not! But, if you can get to this place, you can begin to heal and to move forward in a way that can be rewarding gradually. And yes, life can even be joyful again. Each of us must find our unique style of healing. I can tell you from my personal experience and those of many other widowers, whom I know personally, that it is worth the effort.
So, please accept this challenge and honor your wife by taking this first step in your healing journey, because YOU are worthy of healing and of living a full life again. And if you need help on this journey, as I and many others have, don’t be afraid to ask a grief counselor for help. There are many excellent grief counselors (often found at your area hospice or church) who can be your guide.
© Copyright 2019 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