Goals & Grief – Widowed and Resolved to Be a Better Me

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You’ve made it through the holidays and perhaps you’re saying good riddance to this year, your soul scarred by love lost. In the transition to the new normal, from you to new widow you – time can be cruel. You don’t have enough time now that you have the responsibilities of two people; and yet you have too much time on your hands, the long stretch of lonely hours.

But time is also on your side. It may sound trite, but there is truth to the old adage: ‘time heals.’  With that mind, the New Year holds great promise, a future filled with hope and comfort.  Try to embrace this season of new beginnings.

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This time of year also speaks to our sense of self improvement, looking back and thinking ahead. These might feel like daunting tasks in light of losing your loved one. Resolutions may seem pointless and trivial.  But the opposite is true, now more than ever you need to think of yourself. Focusing on a goal, unrelated to your loss, can be a tremendous aid in the grieving process.

During this time of bereavement, goals may be more about soul-enriching than calorie-counting. Now may be the time to pursue a passion (painting lessons), a lifetime goal (learn to speak French) or a lifestyle change (kick that nicotine habit). Whether you enroll in a yoga class or start volunteering – choose something that makes you feel good about yourself.  It’s time to be the best you you can be.

One of my new year’s resolutions that first year was to slow down, which was difficult to do, I’m hard-wired to rush, a true New Yorker.  Plus, it’s in my genes. My mother was notorious for cutting slices of dessert before we even sat down to dinner.  “Cake or pie, dear?” was the call from the kitchen, my Mom in a rush to cross it off her internal To Do list.

To all my widowed friends, I wish you health and happiness, peace and comfort, and the ability to find joy in every day.

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What We Read When We Grieve

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There are plenty of surprises during the grieving process, such as the unexpected emotional meltdowns in the unlikeliest of places. One unanticipated side effect (aftershock?) was my indifference to fiction immediately following Robert’s death. The time I most needed to get lost in a good book, I found myself shunning my favorite genre. My theory? I didn’t have the patience for other people’s stories; having lived with an alcoholic for years, my story seemed more dramatic than anything I would find in the pages of a novel.

Not only that, seemingly overnight I became a slow reader. (I don’t recall reading that in any of the bereavement brochures.) It lasted almost a year. Eventualy I began finding my way back by reading other widows’ tales. Over time, I reverted to my normal reading habits. But that blip on the radar of my reading life intrigued me. Why the change?

What type of books were you drawn to when you became a widow? Did your reading habits change in any way? Were you drawn to widows’ tales? Did you switch from fiction to non-fiction? Bury yourself in a series? Find yourself engrossed in a particular genre? Perhaps you stopped reading for a while.

I’m writing an article about what we read after experiencing a loss, specifically the loss of a spouse and would love to hear from other widows. Please contact me directly at licata@optonline.net or post comments here at Widow 2.0 or on the Widow 2.0 Facebook page.

 

 

  • “To acquire the habit of reading is to construct for yourself a refuge from almost all the miseries of life.” ~W. Somerset Maugham
  • “We read to know we’re not alone.” ~William Nicholson
  • “Books are a uniquely portable magic.” ~Stephen King
  • “Let us read, and let us dance; these two amusements will never do any harm to the world.” ~Voltaire
  • “Books are the plane, and the train, and the road. They are the destination, and the journey. They are home.” ~Anna Quindlen
  • “Reading brings us unknown friends” ~Honore de Balzac