1/17/19

when will this be over? part 2: when will my mourning end?



In Part 1 of these excerpts from our book Lost My Partner – What’ll I Do?, we looked what influences the length of your mourning period.

“When will this be over?”

We can’t stress enough the importance of listening to yourself. If you don’t try to rush the process or let others pressure you into “snapping out of it”, you’ll know when the period of acute mourning is over. Most people tell us they know they’ve reached the end of the mourning period when they are:

· No longer preoccupied with their loss. This doesn’t mean they no longer think about or miss their spouse/partner, only that they’ve found a place inside themselves for that loved one.

· Ready to begin making new attachments in their lives. This doesn’t necessarily mean dating or finding a new partner, but rather feeling like they can risk closeness to other people again.

· On the way to creating a new sense of who they are. You used to be the other half of a couple, and now you aren’t. When you marry, you blend yourself into who your spouse/partner is, in order to become a couple. The length of your marriage and the age at which you married will affect the extent to which your sense of identity is based on being part of that couple.

In Part 3, we look at some important questions to ask yourself .

1/14/19

when will this be over? part 1: how long will i be in mourning?





(Excerpted from our book, Lost My Partner – What’ll I Do? Revised and Expanded Edition).

The mourning process is often described as feeling as though you’re stuck on a roller-coaster.

Nobody chooses this ride, but once it starts, you have to hold on tight and trust you’ll eventually be back on solid ground. The first few dips can be unsettling, and just when the track straightens out and you think you can finally relax, there may be a few more dips before you get to the finish.

The hopeful news is, if you don’t try to jump out before the ride ends, and if you have someone (or a group) beside you for support, the dips will come less frequently, and you’ll recover more quickly.

“How long will this ride take?”

In most cultures of the world, the period of mourning is traditionally one year, however, the answer is different for everyone.

How long yours lasts depends on:

1) Whether your spouse/partner’s death was sudden or expected and the circumstances of his/her death. An expected death generally gives you time to do some anticipatory grieving. A death caused by sudden and/or unusual circumstances will take longer to mourn, because there was no chance to prepare for the loss.

2) The emotional climate of your relationship with your spouse/partner. Troubled marriages tend to take longer to mourn.

3) How you’ve mourned previous losses in your life.

4) The ways you’ve observed family members mourn, which gave you (rightly or wrongly) a model of how to grieve. Was it important to appear “strong” and unemotional?

5) Whether you’ve lost anyone else recently. You may feel overwhelmed by “still another loss.

In part 2, we’ll offer ways to know when your mourning period is winding down.

1/10/19

is your pet also grieving?






If you have a pet(s), you may have noticed changes in their behavior since your spouse/partner has died.

We came across the following post by on the Animal Friends site and found it interesting.

According to When Pets Grieve, "We all find it hard to say goodbye. Our pets are just like us in many ways. Many of us can clearly understand their moods and emotions by the way they look at us or the way they wag their tail.

Our pets display emotions every day, but do they experience a complex emotion like grief? Grief is a reaction to the sudden absence of something or someone who brought comfort and satisfaction—and many pet owners will attest that their pets grieve when they lose a loved one."

It continues, "Research now confirms that our pets experience symptoms of grief when they lose a beloved human or animal companion. Grief has even been observed in wild species. Elephants have been seen caressing the body of a deceased companion. There are published reports of pets who constantly search for a deceased loved one and animals who no longer want to play or eat when a companion dies."

The author goes on, "Many grieving dogs often act as if they’re searching for something. They become restless or lethargic, lose their appetite, have accidents in the house, cry and don’t want to play. Dogs are certainly not alone; many cat and rabbit owners report similar experiences with their grieving pets."

The author suggests, "Just as you’d comfort a grieving friend, you can help your pet cope with grief. First and foremost, keep your pet’s routine as normal as possible. This may be difficult if a pet’s primary caregiver has passed away, but it is essential to maintain as normal a routine as possible. Second, don’t reinforce any behavioral changes. If your pet stops eating, don’t change the food, and don’t increase the amount of attention you give your pet. It may lead to new problems, like separation anxiety."

And goes on to advise, "If you find that nothing helps your pet, speak with your veterinarian. Your vet can help you decide whether prescription medicine will be effective to help calm and relax your pet."

The post later concludes, "Both humans and animals find it hard to say goodbye, but with love and understanding, we can work to help our animal friends cope with loss."


What are your thoughts?

1/7/19

a new year; what's ahead for you?



The holidays are finally over.




Congratulate yourself on having survived.



As you look ahead to the coming year, what do you feel? Dread, anticipation or a combination of both?

Depending upon how recently your loss occurred, you may experience dread if:

1) This will be a year of firsts, i.e., first birthday, wedding anniversary, and/or other special occasions since the loss.

2) You are wondering where to turn for support.

3) You ask yourself, “How can I put my life back together now that my partner is gone?”

If some time has passed since the loss, you may be facing the future with anticipation as you:

- Think about ways to enlarge your circle of friends, (you may have lost some, especially couple friends, now that you are widowed).

- Re-define how you see yourself. What strengths have you gained and in what ways are you more confident?

- Consider trying new activities, which are good ways to gain both of the above.

Recognize that while so much in your life has changed due to your loss, you can trust yourself to learn how to weather the changes and challenges in the year ahead.

In our next post, we’ll suggest 5 easy and practical resolutions you can make for the coming year.

1/3/19

5 simple resolutions for a new year

Give yourself a big pat on the back!

You’ve just survived the holidays, one of the toughest times for anyone grieving a loss. Now you’re probably looking ahead and wondering how you’ll ever make it through the next twelve months.

Here are five suggestions to help gently ease you along the bumpy road of bereavement:

1. Remember to keep any resolutions realistic. You’re not your usual self while you’re grieving, so be gentle with yourself.

2. Set at least one small, “bite-size” goal every day, such as tackling a couple of tasks. Be sure to reward yourself after each effort.

3. Think back to the person you were before you married. Can you remember any hobbies or interests that you might have set aside due to family responsibilities? Consider participating in those former activities once again. Local adult schools or community groups offer many opportunities to freshen up your skills.

4. Reach out to others more often. Make a new friend. While widowed groups offer the chance to meet others who can relate to what you’re going through, there are opportunities in your neighborhood such as clubs and organizations that can also be great sources for meeting people who may share other interests with you.

5. Consider all the self-imposed barriers you’ve put up over the years about what you can and can’t do. Now is the time to confront those old beliefs about yourself. Slowly begin to tackle a few of the things your spouse used to handle, such as minor household repairs or cooking.


If you can put even one of the above resolutions into action, you’ll be giving yourself the gift of greater self-confidence with which to face the new year.