Hard to believe it has been five months since my husband Phil, passed away of a staph infection post back surgery. Phil loved Open to Hope and all the wonderful people we have spent time with since the death of our son, Scott in 1983.
As I like to say I have talked the talk of helping the bereaved find hope and now I am again walking the walk. You may wonder if being a part of the grief world has helped me during my loss and I would say a definite “yes”. I have learned a lot from our current and past guests on Open to Hope podcasts and our Open to Hope writers including the fact that I am not alone.
Finding Hope After Spouse Loss
There are around 13.6 million widows in the United States leaving four widows to every widower. That means that 80% of women will be the last person standing as my husband and I use to say. That doesn’t even count the number of women who have never married but are in partnerships. Being an older widow does have its advantages as I don’t have children at home so I can really focus on my path forward and myself. Below are some of my thoughts on being a widow.
I am sure you can add greatly to the list as I hope you will.
Finding hope after Spouse loss observations after four months:
- You can and will compare your own losses with yourself. Comparing with others losses is useless
- Losing a child for me was like climbing Mt. Everest without oxygen
- Losing Phil is like climbing Mt. Everest with oxygen. Some trips are more painful than others but you will take the trip
- Spouse loss is misplacing your cell phone and not having another phone to call you
- Spouse loss is being in free fall never knowing when you will hit a ledge
- Spouse loss is for the first time not having a curfew
- Not having someone to hold the kite string at the bottom of the hill
- Not having someone to play games with and share the news
- Being able to sleep in the middle of the bed
- Not having someone to comment of how great you look
- Not having someone to laugh at ironic or irreverent things
- Spouse loss is managing things that you don’t want to manage. Taking out your own garbage
- Spouse loss is wishing that the plane that just flew over would crash into the house and take you out.
- There are a lot of widows around. People identify with spouse loss.
- People of a certain age know spouse loss is coming for them
- No one wants to be the last person standing
- Long-term spouse caregivers often envy the freedom of widowhood
- Spouse loss is a fact of life
- Life goes from being overwhelmed to boredom
- No one to rub lotion on your back
- No one who fully shares and understands those pivotal moments
- No one to say, “I don’t want to go out” or “isn’t it is time to go home”
- No one to say, “You go on up. I will turn out the lights”.
- No one to check that the door is locked
- No one to help you find those missing keys
- No one to plan a trip with
- Sometimes I feel like half my brain is gone/No one to finish my sentences or remember my grandchildren’s birthdays
- The death of a spouse and a divorce have a lot in common. A person we loved is Missing In Action (MIA)
- No one to daily listen to my ideas and edit this article
I hope you have found this article helpful and “yes” I am getting support for myself. I am taking part in two on-line spouse loss bereavement programs through Kara a wonderful grief organization in Palo Alto, California run by my good friend Jim Santucci and from Soaring Spirits Foundation a spouse/partner loss non-profit run by Michelle Neff Hernandez and let me not forget Herb Knoll, although his organization Widowers Journey is “for men only” he has taught me a lot about courage and faith.
I dedicate this article to my pal and partner Phil. We had a great 60 years. I will stay open to hope as he and Scott are always with me in my heart and I know if I’m not happy their not happy.