My Abandoned Garden
When I was first widowed, I searched for advice to proceed along this new journey I had been so unfairly placed upon. I read widow self-help books, what to expect books, articles, and conducted numerous searches. I wanted to know if what I was feeling was “normal,” and if I was doing everything “the right way.” There was a lot of useful information and tips in these resources that helped guide me along: not making any big decisions in the first year, financial advice and cautions, information about grief stages and emotions, and general pick-me-up and keep living encouragements. As helpful as some of these resources were, though, I still found them lacking in grit. It’s as if some subjects were too taboo to be put into written form and distributed widely, and it was often those taboo subjects I found myself most confused about. Here are some things I’ve learned along my 5+ years of widowhood that “they” aren’t likely to tell you in those books. These may not only aid a newly widowed person in handling some of the confusion, but I have hopes that they might also shine some light on what a widowed person is feeling for those who are supporting her or him.
There have been many times over the years where I’ve been approached by the friends of a new widow asking, “What can I do?” or wondering not only how they can help but how they can better understand and empathize with their friend. Remember in reading these that grief is extremely individualized and what may help one person cope may be the exact opposite of what another needs or wants.