THE PAST

I have learnt from my life experiences that the ability to forgive self and others is a spiritual gift. Our pain and life disappointments can make it difficult to let go of the past to forgive. Sometimes we try to forget yet never really forgive.

The act of Forgiveness is to be expressed and exercised in different situations.For example when hurt from loss, when others hurt us unaware, personal pain that creates guilt or not letting go of our past.

We have to find a way to forgive ourselves first and hopefully forgiving others will come gradually.Some hurts cut very deep,seemingly impossible to move on from and forgive.Yet hurts that we do not let go of affect our ability to move forward in to a stronger future.

The loss of a spouse can create feelings of not being able to forgive and yet a need to find absolution from it. The feelings of being abandoned by a late spouse can result in carrying issues that you can not let go of.

Nearly 7 years has passed since my loss, i have only in the last few months been able to verbally express that i forgive my Spouse for passing away and leaving me with two children to raise by myself.

I was not aware i harboured such feelings until i confessed my thoughts at that moment.Since then I feel free from the unconscious burden of guilt i carried.

I have constantly prayed for the Lord to give me the gift of forgiveness – when you experience this it enables you to voice hidden grievances you are not aware you hold.Memories of pain start to fade gradually.

Forgiving allows you to move on naturally and it opens you to hope,love and Joy.

This gives you a natural expectation to live and plan for a new future.

Signing off now,there is Hope after loss.

THE INTENT

To survive from the deepest grief there must come from your inner core an expressed desire termed the conscious intent.

The intent to live a life, a different life from the one you had with your late husband must come from you. If not, you will find many reasons for not wanting to wake up in the morning or not see a reason to continue living.

In the previous blog the focus was on setting a daily routine in small steps. By 3 month -6 months this should be hard clad and working at least to a schedule of twice to three times a week.

The next thing now is to start focusing on self, look at yourself and examine what you want and how to get what you want for your future. This will have to start with defining who you were before when your Spouse was with you, and who you want to be in the future.

Start with your perspective of self – how real have I been to myself in the past, and how real can I be in my future. The question is what do I really want, what makes me really thrive in my life and what are my likes and dislikes.

Refining and reevaluating your potential to earn financial value for your skills becomes more important as the sole bread winner for your home.

Open your mind to other ways of making other streams of income that doesn’t have to be a 9-5 job.Perhaps earning from home,maximising automation = technology/your computer.If you are not in the know acquire a new skill as mentioned.

Make a list of skills you have,pick each one and how to modify them.E.g. I had to examine the work I was doing at the time my late husband died, looking closely at my role and honestly pick from the varying segments of what I really enjoyed.

After doing this I decided to enhance my skills in that area by study, self development, refreshing current skills and exploring alternative avenues of expressing it away from my paid job.

So, if it’s talking to people or counselling people,that you enjoy perhaps start in your local community by setting up an on line coffee chat using many of the free on line packages.

Or set a group up of like-minded people recovering from grief in your Church or local club on line. With the Covid 9 lock down around the world you can create on line content on your specialist areas e.g. Art, engaging older people, fitness etc

This is not always easy – as you will be stepping out into the new and this is where you must be strong and courageous. You have to draw from your inner strength that is what has enabled you to survive adversity to date.

From this self realisation should come a certain amount of hope – a feeling of having nothing much to lose but to gain.

Immediately you step to discuss your intentions with another person it starts to come alive and real.

I was fortunate to be able to return to a Group I had started before my late husband passed. Though it was not completely spiritually relevant to my current situation , it gave me a focus and time to pass the baton and closure, plus confidence to explore another venture in which to help people.

A hobby can soon turn into a stream of income by refining your skill and making it current to your market audience.

The giving of your time to something you love, to fill others and this gradually heals the hollowness of loss.

Signing off now – there is always hope after loss.

LIFE OR DEATH

Walking out of your widowhood requires making a choice to grab life or to give up on life.You ask what does that really mean.Well grief has a way of sinking us into depths of pain,despair and darkness if you are not careful.

To avoid this you get to a stage or time of grief where you have to consciously have to fight to regain your life back – a new life as we know it won’t be the same without your spouse but it will be a stronger life.

With this desire to step out – though initially in little steps you are claiming your life back.You ask how do you do this.You have to have a plan of action.

You decide today to wake up perhaps earlier than since your loss,have some me time before the kids,shower,go for a walk,have breakfast perhaps something different and later read a book or search for one that will occupy your thoughts for half a hour or more,preferably something you enjoy reading of personal interest.

This engages your mind for a while,the next day or time your carry out the same exercise it becomes a good habit – repeated 21 days it should be a formed your routine.

Doing this gives you some refocus and strength to take another step.The idea of doing things for yourself ,pamper self and the constant emotional drain of Grief is released when we gradually take time to do things for ourselves.

The next thing could be to arrange to have a one to one out in a cafe just for 30/40 minutes with a good friend.Coming out makes us see that life has still continued in spite of your world being temporarily stopped by loss.

The conversation you have with the friend might initially be awkward as people around us do not always know how to react or know what to expect from us when we grief, so people tread carefully.However as you gradually regain strength and confidence people become more comfortable around you.

It is always important to focus on one personal routine at a time.As you commit to one,the confidence you start building will encourage you to venture out to the next thing to do for yourself.

Grabbing back your life gradually gives your children and close relationships hope for you and the future.You start to notice that little steps become bigger strides.Keeping and recording your strides in written form allows you to compare and measure your successes.

I recall working everyday while l was off work for a hour.Immediately after the school run and breakfast l disciplined myself to get out of the house before l got distracted by endless chores etc

Going out daily gave me a clearer perspective of my self and circumstances,to think much clearly,to make wise decisions and choices.

I come back home refreshed,energised,calmer ,with much hope to coup for the day.I kept a note book of how l felt daily and how grateful l was after each milestone achieved.

Grab a piece of your life back each day please!

Those who sow in tears
Shall reap in joy.

Signing off now – there is Hope after loss.

GRASP A BREATH

A clear out and redecorating your home means you are creating new space and new memories.As this fills the physical vacuum left by loss.You create a new story in the physical space your late spouse occupied.Yet keep value things for memory,for your children.

After a clear out there is a temporary reinforced awareness that your loved one is absent,but this feeling passes gradually as you utilise the space for other things.

My late husband worked from home so he had an office area which after the clear out was ominously empty and silent.So l decided to redecorate the whole of my lounge which his office formed a part of.Picking warm and specific colours that created the space into a continuum not into petitions as previously designed.This immediately removed the feeling of the office not being used.

I also redecorated the whole house – this you find easier to do when you feel much stronger,perhaps after a year of loss.This makes your home fresh/new and this breathes an atmosphere of new beginnings.Your memories are still there but this allows you to see that you can make new memories.

You should start accepting invites to socialise in small circles again.

Perhaps for one to one meals with close and good friends,to family events – this allows you to start breathing again.Breathing means being free from being smothered by loss and all the baggage it brings.

When you start reconnecting with friends you start to hear yourself laugh and smile,this makes you feel that you can begin to hope again.

Being away from the crowd will still bring moments of sadness- this is part of the grieving process, this will pass with time.People grieve in different ways and at different lengths, l can reassure you this will pass.

Signing off now,let me reassure you there is hope after loss.

TIME

When we loose someone very close which in this case is a spouse, our days become longer and the nights sometimes daunting, as it feels quieter and empty.You are left in a silence with your reality and thoughts.

So It’s important to plan your days with much precision.While l was off work l would drop my daughter at school,come home, tidy up for less than an hour and ensure to step out of the house by 9.30.am to go for my walk.

During my walk l listen to praise and worship Christian music,pray and meditate on scriptural affirmations addressing my specific fears and concerns in that moment.

I reserved moments of silence to listen to my own thoughts,get clarity on potential decisions and also bask in the sheer peace of being by myself.

When l return home l feel refreshed and energised.Sometimes l would have arranged to meet a friend for lunch or plan my walk with a friend on the agreement not to talk too much but focus on brisk walking quietly.

By the time my daughter is due for school pick up l feel l have had alone time and l have a reserve of energy to give her the attention required.

Walking daily improved my sleep/rest at night and made me much fitter,I also spent time reading other people’s testimonies on how to cope being widowed and understand the grief process.This encourages and enables you to see there is hope after your loss

I also went back to swimming which was always a sport l enjoyed.I found each time l swam felt l had a body massage as it is gentle on our joints and strengthens your whole body.You leave relaxed and more focused.

I decided also not to watch to much mundane TV only films or programmes that made me laugh or i could learn from.

I also tried to keep a daily dairy to log huge milestones,this enabled me to measure my progress generally.

For the first year l found it very difficult to go to places that l enjoyed going to with my late spouse so l made conscious efforts to avoid them.However anytime l stepped into those settings without hesitating l felt l had achieved a milestone.

One of my flaws though in the first year was spending time shopping on line to buy luxuries or replace worn out clothing.I focused on maintaining the style l would have lived if my spouse was here or he would afford me.

Thank God l could afford it.Perhaps it would have been wiser to reserve all spending until l was emotionally stronger.

I also reviewed my career and decided to make further strides in professional development in areas of my work that l enjoyed the most.

I applied to study,got interviewed and was successful,but deferred the offer until a year later when l was sure this is what l needed.Grief can affect greatly how you view things. Spontaneity is something you must try to avoid in the first year as you will save yourself money.

If i had just lost a spouse in this period of the Coronavirus pandemic,lock down and social distancing i wonder what i would replace my swimming and outgoing activities with.

I guess i would have to use apps that will enable me to engage with others in small groups.I am sure mobile face time would be invaluable.However i can’t contemplate my late husbands funeral only being attended by a limited few.

It must be devastating and double distressing for those going through this at this time.My deepest Condolences to you and family.

‘Grace to you and peace from God our Father’ 2 Corinthians 1:2

Signing off now,there is always hope after loss.