10 Rules For New Widows/Widowers

I did not manage my grief better than any other widow. But I have learned over the past two years that there are ways a widow can help herself/himself:

  1. STAY IN CHARGE OF YOUR OWN LIFE: Do not let your children or anyone else manage your money and activities. It is easy to let yourself become your child’s child. But you are not a child, your are an adult. You should be free to make your own choices.
  2. AVOID HASTY DECISIONS: For the first year, do not sell your house, do not move, do not make major purchases, and do not make a major change in your way of life. If this is not possible – if financial or other considerations force you to make a big decision – try to get the best advice you can.
  3. MAINTAIN YOUR REGULAR ROUTINE: Push yourself to get up at your usual hour, go to work, go shopping, and do your chores as usual. The old routine provides a framework that helps you put one foot in front of the other, at a time when you think you are too torn apart even to move.
  4. GET OUT OF THE HOUSE: Do anything to get out, even if you do not want to. Get involved in a club or in local politics; take courses: first-aid class, wood carving, wood working, join a choir; volunteer at a library, hospital, or museum. Get a paying job. Whatever you do, do not give in to the inertia that will keep you indoors.
  5. FIGHT LONELINESS: Get together with old friends, and work at making new ones. The number of widow-support groups has increased tremendously over the past few years, and many women find them of enormous help . Your church or temple, or the Canadian Association of Retired Persons CARP can put you in touch with one of these groups.
  6. BE GOOD TO YOURSELF: The person who loved and cherished you has gone, but there is no reason why you should not cherish yourself. Get yourself to the hairdresser. Make an appointment for a facial or massage. None of these things will erase your grief, but they will give you an hours respite from it.
  7. EXERCISE: I guarantee that physical exercise will make you feel at least a little better. The secret is to find something you enjoy and then do it regularly. I swim. You might try joining a walking group, using an exercise video, going to the YMCA.
  8. CRY IF YOU WANT: It helps. And do not let other people stop you. The natural tendency is to say, “Now, now, do not cry – you’ll make yourself sick.” This is nonsense. You cannot feel worse than you feel now.
  9. BEWARE OF PILLS AND ALCOHOL: Alcohol can seem to offer an escape or blunt the edge of grief, but this is a temporary illusion. As for tranquilizers, follow your doctor’s advice; these can become addictive.
  10. CHECK YOUR PROGRESS: Take time every three months to think back and assess your progress. In any three month period, you may actually feel that everything is worse than it was before. But as the months go by, you will notice small and consistent signs of improvement. Each widow has her own timetable of grief, and yours may be quite different from mine. Listen to your inner self. You know what is right for you better than anyone else.

4 thoughts on “10 Rules For New Widows/Widowers

  1. Neal McKeown

    Thank you for the 10 rules for widowers. I became a widower 3 was ago. I’m struggling very hard. I’m going to a support group in Brampton on Wed. May 17th. There is nothing before then. I have spoke to the crisis help line lately, but what I really now, is face to face with people that can talk to me and quite me. I’m struggling to even get up to face another day. I’m still thinking that this is a bad dream and I’ll wake up and find my wife still here. Please call me, I live in Brampton. My home number is 905-216-4815. I’m crying out for help. My name is Neal Mckeown I’m 67 years old.

  2. Bereaved Families of Ontario-Cornwall

    Hello Neal,
    We are responding from the Bereaved Families office in Cornwall, Ontario. It certainly sounds like you could use a “One-on-One” session with a Grief Facilitator. There is a Bereaved Families office in the Peel region. You could call there and make an appointment to see someone at that office. Their information is:
    Bereaved Families-Halton/Peel
    Barbara Bathurst, Executive Director
    905-848-4337 or 1-877-826-3566
    33 City Centre Drive, Suite 610
    Mississauga, ON
    L5B 2N5
    We wish you the best of luck in finding someone there who would see you individually.

  3. Angela

    I became a widow at 50 never did i expect this to happen in my life . he left two beautiful strong kids dec 3 2018 is the day he left us
    Wish he was here i miss him everyday life will never b the same

  4. Angela

    Thank you for the 10 rules!
    2 momths ago my husband died.
    I never thought I will be a widow.
    It would be nice to talk to someone who who is a widow.
    If Angela want to contact me and talk she can e- mail me.


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