After Gary died, I was thankful for people that came around me and helped me get things done. They got me going out and doing things.
One of my brothers-in-law was so helpful with things around the house. Gary’s sisters and brothers-in-law also came and helped me with a lot of yard work. My nephews came and planted some bushes. For the first few years they helped me in the yard and it was such a huge help to me. I mean, I had never been on a lawnmower in my life – Gary did that! And eventually I mowed the lawn for the first time!
People would invite me to things and I appreciated companionship and friendship and that people were thinking of me.
But there were also times that I couldn’t go.
One of Gary’s good friends was graduating from college late in life and they were having a big party to celebrate. I’d planned to go that morning. But by the time it came to leave I just couldn’t face it and face all the people we knew, and that time to take care of myself I needed to stay home.
Another thing that helped me was attending a widow support group offered by hospice. We had time to share with other widows and widowers there. Some were fresh and some were more seasoned and further in the journey so those things are really helpful too.
I realized early on that people grieve very differently.
One woman at a group said I grieved hard for two months but then I was done. For me, I was still struggling four years later with trying to let go and move on with my life. Everybody’s different. That group helped me feel normal, though, and that what I was experiencing was normal.
Grief books were very helpful resources for me, and if I couldn’t sleep at night I’d read through whatever I had on hand. A few titles that were especially helpful were Finding Your Way After Your Spouse Dies and Traveling Through Grief. The perspectives offered about the different stages you go through were reassuring to me.