First of all, before I get into my 4 IMMEDIATE TIPS OF ADVICE, I want to let you know that I know this is hard right now. And yes, it’s painful. And I’m sorry. Continuing to live a life when your person is not here anymore might just be the hardest thing you ever do. And I’m so so very sorry.
But you’re going to make it.
Moment by moment, minute by minute, day by day.
1️⃣ TAKE CARE OF YOU.
You cannot worry about everyone else. It’s seriously you and if you have them, your kids.
Self-Care is the priority. And we’re not talking about bubble baths…
Self-care in grief looks like things like:
Being with Friends and Family
Petting Your Fur Babies
Getting Massages (sense of touch)
Crying when you want/need to
Screaming when you want/need to
Saying “no” to anything you don’t HAVE to do or don’t fully WANT to do
When you’re heart-broken, your immune system suffers. You’ve GOT to take care of yourself as much as you possibly can.
There’s no wrong way to grieve – so do what you need to do for YOU.
If you want to repaint the inside of your home so that you can breathe easier, do it. If you want to leave everything the way that it is – with his dirty underwear on the floor on his side of the bed, do it. You do what YOU need to do. You’ll know if and when you’re ready for something else.
Everything that you’re feeling and thinking is completely normal and natural, no matter how fucked up it seems. Let those thoughts and feelings come to you in the moments that they come – it will help you process your grief to do so. Otherwise you are suppressing your grief and trust me, it will come back to bite you in the ass eventually.
Taking care of YOU is letting yourself grieve.
And if and when you need a break from the painful despair and sadness, do and or feel whatever it is that you want.
You are surviving.
Anything and everything that you do to help you survive this painful loss is okay – as long as it’s not hurting you or someone else, it’s not addictive, or you don’t continue to do it so that you don’t heal your heart.
2️⃣ REDUCE YOUR RESPONSIBILITIES.
The responsibilities you were probably able to handle in your life BEFORE your spouse’s death were probably vast. You wore lots of hats in life, did lots of things.
The amount of responsibilities were piled high on a Thanksgiving serving tray. That’s how big your ‘plate’ was in life.
But now… your entire world has come crashing down and you can’t do anything.
Trust me, I know. I’ve been there.
Imagine that Thanksgiving serving tray that once held all your responsibilities is now the size of a teacup saucer.
You have so much less emotional and physical energy to give to the world right now. And that’s okay.
You have to choose very carefully the things you want to do or give to these days.
Learn how to say “no” without explanation.
Say “I wish I could, but I just can’t.”
Ask for it when you need it.
Save your emotional and physical energy for the real shit that matters right now – and nothing much really matters right now but you (and your kids).
3️⃣ CONNECT WITH OTHERS
Grievers want to connect with others who have also suffered a similar significant loss.
I can relate as a widow from experience, and I hear it very often from my clients.
Personally I wanted to speak with other widows who had gone before me. How did they do it? Did we share the same fears? It helped me not feel alone…
And I felt alone so often as a widow – even in a crowded room of people who love me.
Loneliness is a thing – and I wasn’t prepared for it’s intensity.
I met with widows for coffee, for lunch, online, in Zooms. I joined widow Facebook groups. Sometimes I left those situations feeling empowered and encouraged. Sometimes I left feeling worse than I did when I showed up. But all in all, it was validating that I wasn’t alone in my crazy-ass thoughts and feelings I was having as a new widow.
Connect with your close family and friends as well. Allow them to connect with you.
Surround yourself with love of others, and those whom you love.
Even if you just merely sit next to someone and not speak a word to each other, you will feel not alone. And there’s power in that, too.
4️⃣ FOLLOW KARI DRISKELL
Yes, that’s me.
I’ve been a widow since 2017 and since then, shifted into the woman that I needed after my own husband died.
I am a practicing Advanced Grief Recovery Method Specialist® and a Certified Life Coach for Widows.
I have insights, stories, experience, perspective, and training.
Even if you never choose to work with me, you’ll still gain value and validation by consuming my free content.
Here’s where you can follow me:
(No, I do not post the same content on my social media platforms.)
Healing YOU helps everyone around you and everything about you; your heart, your family, your kids, your work, and even strangers.