For me, seven weeks later, it happened. You think you are progressing well in your grief journey after losing a spouse. Even with the daily bouts of crying, life is returning to ‘normal.’ Then, something brings the sadness back with a vengeance.
Seven Weeks Later, It Happened
For me, it was a phone call from a bereavement counselor with the hospice provider, Compassionate Care. However, the ring had nothing to do with my husband’s hospice. Instead, it was a friend, Jeanne, whom I knew because of my husband. Wayne dated Jeanne, and they remained friends.
Jeanne had asked me long before to act as her health surrogate. In my usual role as caregiver, I readily agreed. As often happens, Jeanne’s cancer didn’t work as expected. She endured for years. As I left Wayne’s memorial service, I received the phone call that Jeanne had been admitted to hospice. She passed eighteen days later.
A Simple Question from a Stranger
Anne, the bereavement counselor, called me last Monday morning, one week after Jeanne passed. She introduced herself and why she was calling.
Then Anne asked, “How are you doing?”
I started to answer when the sobs interrupted me.
Sometimes We Need to Talk
As I talked, Anne listened. She said very little, mainly offering support, honesty, and understanding during the thirty-minute phone call. The truth is that most people don’t want to hear about your grief. They want you to get over your grief and return to the person they love.
Furthermore, your friends want you to be happy. Sometimes it’s easier to talk to a stranger who isn’t vested in you. Still, it’s up to us to find how best to move through our grief.
How to Start Moving Out of the Heaviest Feelings
One way is indulging yourself in what has made you feel better in the past. Be aware that sometimes you might have been avoiding the grief. As someone expert in avoidance, I don’t recommend it. However, there are some universal ways to feel better while honoring grief.
- Get outside.
- Find ways to feed your personality.
- Have compassion for yourself.
I’m an extrovert who is creative, observant, curious, and loves research. So my way of moving out of my heaviest feelings was to take a leisurely walk in nature.
Even though the trees were bare, a few flowers peaked out amongst the leaf litter. If you click on the photos, you can see larger photos.
My self-compassion came when I realized I had overextended my physical limitations. So I stopped often, sat on tree stumps and boulders, and laughed at my attempts to take a selfie.
When you feel the grief has returned at a higher pitch, try to flow with it. Give yourself a break. If you are the friend of someone who has lost a loved one, be patient and supportive. We appreciate you more than you know.