Monday, October 6, 2014
Rule #1 for Widows
There are no rules.
The grief process is different for every single person. It doesn’t matter how old or young you are. It doesn’t matter if you were married 5 months, 5 years, or 50 years. Once that spouse is cut from your life, no matter the circumstances, a piece of your existence has also been chopped off. You could have lost your spouse to a tragic, quick accident or due to a long and drawn out illness. Neither one of these affect how long the grief process will last.
You may be fine today and hear a song on the radio that will reduce you to tears. You may be totally sad one minute and happy the next. Whatever. Go with it. Allow yourself to feel whatever emotion that you feel. Anger. Resentment. Loss. Sadness. Happiness. Contentment. Anger (sometimes there is a lot of anger over the situation). Tears. Laughter. Good memories. Feel them all, and then work through them. If you need alone time, take it. If you need to talk to someone (or to listen to someone), do it.
Don’t allow your feelings to consume you. Don’t close yourself off from friends and family who love you. They probably don’t know what to say or how to help, but even if they have nothing at all to offer except their presence, take it.
If you need help with everyday chores, ask someone who has been there for help. Not sure about finances? Look into a financial advisor (my Edward Jones advisor is fantastic; find one you trust). Do you have a life insurance policy for yourself? I thought “I” was the owner on ours since it had been mine before we were married; somehow it got converted into Ron being the owner so I had to do the application process all over again. Do you have a will? If you don’t have one, you can always find documents online (depends on the state you live in) to create one yourself. If you have a complicated estate, or minor children, I recommend you contacting an attorney who specializes in estates and trust planning.
How about home repair and maintenance? Luckily, I’m a renter (we did the home ownership thing before Ron’s health got so bad and then we became renters) so my landlord takes care of those issues for me. Do you have maintenance agreements on your appliances? I’m not sure how I feel about those; my mother-in-law swore by them but unless you have them serviced annually to make sure they’re in good working shape, I’m not sure they’re of added value. (Just my personal opinion.)
Car repair and maintenance? My husband took care of our cars for years and then he no longer could. We found a reputable mechanic we trusted and started taking our vehicle there for repair and maintenance. Good maintenance, and tire maintenance, will save you lots of money down the road. This is one area I do recommend extended warranties for. I had a fairly new minivan one time and purchased the extended warranty. Six weeks later the transmission went out. A year later, it went out again. The extended warranty paid for itself at least twice.
Eating... This is my biggest failure. I’ve gotten into a rut where I quit cooking for myself. Cereal is good. It’s a food group. It’s OK. Right? Not really...