Today I wanted to do something special. I do have a program that I’ve been working with other widows and widowers for almost a year now that I’d like to introduce you to. These are the Tears of Widowhood: 5 Life-Changing Ways to Find Yourself After Losing Your Spouse.
I want to go over the core content of what the program centers on. I’m not going to go through every single module because that will take way too long as it’s a three month program overall, however I wanted to bring you into the core of what it’s all about.
The reason why this is important, is because the core of this is really how to connect your heart with your head. If you’ve been reading or listening to any of my posts, one of the key things I bring up over and over again is that as soon as it hits that you’ve lost your loved one, there’s this tear in the fabric of your soul and you are literally standing with your nerve endings on fire.
Find Yourself After Losing Your Spouse: Your Heart and Mind Are In Time-Out
Your body thinks it is literally going through a physical attack and it protects you by shutting down. It splits the head from your heart in order to protect both. There are a lot of dualities in widowhood, in so many different ways. One of them is the sense that you are here in the present, but you’re also in your past. You’re always grappling with both being in the past and the present at the same time. That’s one duality. The duality I’m going to talk about today, is how your heart and your head have split at that moment in grief. They can’t talk to each other anymore.
A lot of my analogies go back to being the parent of your children, because that’s what we’ve got.
I like to put it in the sense that your heart and your head are both in timeouts right now because they’ve both been screaming at you. Your heart’s going, “Where’s my love? Where’s my husband? I don’t understand what’s going on here!” And your head is answering, “Dude, they’re gone. They’re dead. How can you not know this?” And then they both numb out.
It takes time. They’re taking turns between yelling and going back and forth and back and forth while you’re trying to juggle these thoughts and feelings. It’s exhausting because you don’t even know where YOU are. You’re just trying to go on with life.
Before we get into the core of my program, we lead into it, bringing you into the point where you can do this hard work. And then after that, once we have done the basics of this hard work, I’ll lead you into what the next steps are and how to step into your new life. But again, today, we’re talking about literally the core of the program. Let’s assume you’ve already done the prep work. We’re also going to assume that after we’ve done this, that we’re going to do all the after work needed to go forth confidently into your next life.
Let’s just dive in. This is good stuff. I want to make sure you understand this because even if you’re not ready to start the program, you can take what I’m teaching now and apply it. Let’s find yourself after losing your spouse.
These are based on Worden’s Tasks of Grief that you may have seen. I’ve expanded them a bit and I’ve made them my own as well as added a fifth to take you further. My Tears of Widowhood takes the word TEARS and associates each section to a letter.
T – To Accept Your New Reality
So the first one obviously is the “T”, the “T” of tears. This is to accept the reality of the loss. The first step is to recognize that your heart and your head are in two different fields right now, which we’ve gone through already.
The first step is to recognize that in order to go forward, you’re going to be balancing between them. If you know what you’re talking about, if you can recognize the fact that they are on two different levels, and they’re speaking two different languages. That’s going to help you understand their different voices, and how eventually you can get them speaking to each other again.
Now, this could be the longest and hardest part of your journey. The reason why is because it’s not just a simple one step option. When you do this, you’re going to be accepting the reality of your loss again. And again, and again. This is not a simple, “Here it is. I’m done.” This is a continuum.
This is one of the reasons why grief is its own process and has its own time for its own unique thing, because you are different. What hits you as reality? What hits you as a memory? This is now completely yours. I can’t tell you what that is, BUT I can help you find what it is, and get through it and go to the next step. This really is your journey. I’m just going to be here as a mentor here to help you guide yourself.
E – Experience It All
The next one is the “E” which is to experience your pain and your loss. This one kind of sucks because it is painful. It’s going to affect you physically.
Like I said before, your nervous system really thinks it has been hit by a Mack truck and it’s going to react that way. So you’re going to have all these physical symptoms. Headaches, back pain, insomnia. You can’t eat properly, or maybe the flip side hits you and you eat too much.
The only thing that kept me going was the fact that my son needed to keep a routine. I had to re-teach myself how to eat. These are real symptoms. These are not Phantom pains. You’re going to be feeling all the things.
Mentally, you’re going to go through the same kind of ups and downs that your emotions are. You’re going to go through a period of time where all you can think about is recreating what happened the day they died, just to try to make logical sense out of it.
If the death was a long term loss, like for instance, if they were going through a long-term sickness from cancer, you’re going to go back into those memories.
You’re also going to start thinking, “Am I good enough? Can I do this on my own?” You might start freaking out mentally about the fact that you have all this overwhelm from these responsibilities now that you didn’t have before, you never planned on happening before. My goodness, you didn’t sign up for any of this!
Then, you’re going to get overwhelmed mentally which means other mental functions will be shut off too. You can’t think properly. It’s going to feel frustrating because you know you know something, but your brain can’t access it.
It’s frustrating and it hurts. Of course, emotionally you’ll find that there’s waves of grief which is a horribly, horribly overused metaphor, but it’s true.
You’re going to have points where the emotions are so overwhelming, and that it’s going to go back into numbness again. It’s not just grief. It’s not just being upset or sorrowful. It’s being angry, it’s going to be frustrating, it means happiness. There’s going to be intense joy that comes out of nowhere and then just goes away.
But the important part of all this, which I know sucks, but it’s so important that you do experience each and every one of those pains in your life, as they come up the first year, even if it might seem a little foggy.
The second year is when reality hits as the fog lessens, which can be a trip in itself. As the second year progresses, these waves will continue, but you get used to feeling them and you get used to embracing them. Eventually they start going down.
The only way you can go away faster is by feeling them. If we’re still using the wave analogy, feel it wash over you. If we’re talking mentally, just sit and think about what’s going on.
Don’t get overwhelmed. Just be with it, feel it, note it, and then let it pass. If you avoid these feelings, any one of these feelings, they will prolong your grief.
A – Adjust To Your New Environment
All right. The next letter is “A”, adjust to the new environment. How suddenly has life changed, right? Boom. Here you are going about your life, and then it’s “What?! How did I get here? Oh wait, that happened.” Things will never be the same as they were before. You know that and you have to adjust to that.
You have to adapt to your normal, your new reality. It takes time because you are again, in that duality where you are in the past, but you’re also in your new reality and you don’t want to deal with the reality because you don’t want to be here, you want to be back there. The first year it’s just reacting, it’s just trying to survive.
It’s going from one day to the next, sometimes from moment to moment. You’re just trying to breathe and get rid of all the administrative stuff, and deal with people, and your new reality, and your kid’s grief. It’s a whirlwind.
Then the second year it’s going to be more, okay, I’ve done that. I did that myself.Let’s pretend you’ve gone through a cycle, and you’ve come up to their death anniversary. It’s January again. Oh wait. This happened last year. Um, but it’s different now. Okay. How is it different? And then you can start playing with those thoughts and feelings. Starting to connect them.
You’re going to do this until you find it to be comfortable in your new identity. Which means you have to discourage your old identity from taking precedence.
I bring this up because it’s something I say quite often, that the identity you were when your spouse was alive, isn’t there anymore. In a sense, she/he died when they died. All of a sudden you’re thrust into this new life, these new responsibilities that you never wanted.
Who asked for this, right? Especially when you’re so young, and now you have who this person is. Who was I before? Who am I now? What is going on? How do I go forward?
My program is exactly that: how to figure out what part of you still remains from the past, into your present. What is your new identity, and really becoming comfortable with letting go of the past, knowing that they’re never going to leave you.
And this is a lot of work. And we go into that later on. The basic premise is that you have to adjust to your new environment, and that can take some time.
R – Reinvest In Your New Life
The next is “R” of the TEARS, which is to reinvest in your new reality. By now you’ve figured out what this new reality is, and you know who you are now.
All of your emotional energy that has been balled up inside you as it’s been working its way through you, your system, as you’re going through all this. You have all of this potential energy, which has been waiting and waiting to go forward, which you can now use to focus on the future.
It is so much easier, guys. To look forward and use your energy on the future. It’s so much easier than using all that energy on your grief. But it’s what you had to do. You had to feel all these things and you had to get to the next stage.
When you finally are able to free that energy from inside you, you’ll find your release. You’ll release your potential to focus on the future and figure out what’s next. You are going to discover strengths you never knew you had before. You’re going to figure out skills you didn’t know that you had or newly developed. And you’re going to reinvest in who you are, who you discovered, who you still are, and you’re gonna become the best multifaceted person you could ever be.
S – Soar Like A Phoenix
Now here is the one that I added myself. So far we have T E A R. Here’s the fifth, the one that really describes the transformation. The final letter is “S”, for Soar.
It’s a little cheesy, but it’s true because there’s so much strength in it. As a Phoenix rises from the ashes, so you will find a new, brilliant identity. This is the transformation.
It is really amazing to see widows go through this change. I love helping people get to the point where they are back on their feet. You’re going to soar. You’re going to live life fully. And you’re going to embrace the death of the world that brought you here again.
There’s that duality again. You will never go back to that. Bye, bye. But you will always be with your loved one. They’re not here in the flesh, but they’re here in spirit and your heart and in your memories.
Those memories will be so real and will be supporting you into your next life and as you’ve transformed into your new identity, it’s going to feel that they have changed with you. I can’t explain that until you go through it yourself, just like it’s impossible to explain what it feels like to be a widow. As I found myself and my new identity, the memories of our love supported me, and together we’ve become the Phoenix.
If you’re going to be doing this on your own, and you are more than capable of doing this on your own, this is going to take time.
However, if you want to get off the grief cycle and start living fully faster, I’d like to talk to you to see if you’re a fit.
I’m not gonna give all the details right now because I don’t want to give the cat out the bag, but I want to let you know that what this is is just a small part of what I do. If you’re not ready for that, that’s cool. Take this and run with it.
If you want to know more about what the program is and everything – the beginning, the middle, the end, and how to get you there – I’d love to talk to you more.
I hope you have a beautiful rest of the evening. And if not, I hope you feel those feelings and you hang on to them and make them yours, baby.
You’ve got this.
I promise I got your back.
You’re not alone guys.