When my husband passed away unexpectedly in his sleep one night in February of 2009, my life was turned up-side-down in an instant. Chaos ensued for the next few weeks like never before.
When I came out of the fog and looked around, it felt like I was so alone. I was a widow at 39 years old. I didn’t know anyone who was a widow at my age. It was mind-numbing looking toward the future without my husband.
Over the next few months, and now years, I rebuilt a life with my two young children that fit us. We learned how to entertain without Daddy, to laugh and cry with each other in a deep way. And we began to heal.
Through the process of healing, my extended family was essential. My mother lived with us for five weeks. My father watched my kids for me when I had to work. And my brother and his family moved to our town to be with us.
As I look back now, more than three years later, I know that the time after my husband died was a critical turning point in how I view life. It was a wake-up call to be more open with others, to enjoy every moment, and to appreciate all that I have. And, I learned that while the beautiful people in my life were a support that was essential, that I also needed space.
I needed space to breathe, to process emotions, and to let whatever was happening in my life settle into my body.
Before my husband passed away, I was a go go go getter. I worked, and took care of the kids. I was always doing something. I had not been bored in decades. Now I’ve learned to cherish a little boredom.
In space, I have found myself. I have found love, of myself, I have found peace, in chaos. And, I have found my husband. For those of you who have lost someone, I will say this. I believe that our loved ones are still a spirit. And I believe that we are also spirits that have a body. And when I find space in my life my husband is there. He is present. I have even heard his laughter and words in my head as if he was standing in front of me.
Space has created a whole new life for me. It has created a softness and gentleness that didn’t exist. Make the time to create your quiet space. Breathe and allow whatever you are feeling and what is happening to just happen. Allow the universe to hold you gently in its arms. Feel, even when it is hard. It will get easier. I promise.
Jennifer Hawkins is the author of “The Gift Giver – A True Story” A memoir about the year after her husband passed away and the conversations she had with him during that time. She is also the founder of “Letthelightinjen.com” a website that offers audio and ebook courses that teach people how to communicate with their lost loved one’s.Tags: bereavement, grief, grieving, happiness, light, loss of a spouse, spirituality, widow, widower
Your words were a great help to me.
My beloved husband Michael died in his sleep on Sunday 3 June this year when we were on holiday in our house in France, just six weeks ago. It was a terrible shock as he seemed to be so well. We had a wonderful day the day before he died which I will always remember. Like you, at the beginning I had arrangments to make like bringing Michael back to London, choosing a cemetery and arranging his funeral. Then once the funeral was over I was left with the loneliness and grief.
We have no children. Michael was semi-retired and the work that he did he did from home, so whenever I cam home from work he was here. I am a lawyer and work hard but I am glad to say that I never let work interfere with our family life. Michael was the rock that gave me the strength to cope with life and was always there for me He did all the cooking in our home and looked after me so well. I am lost without him. Like you I strongly believe that his spirit is with me and I hope that that is what will help me to cope over the coming lonely months.
He is ABSOLUTELY with you. I’m sorry for your loss. Thank you for sharing your story.
Thank you for your article. My husband drowned in the ocean while I was feeding our baby daughter on the beach, on 6th May. I waited three days for the ocean to return him to me – an experience that I cannot adequately describe the horror of, and which has left me deeply scarred. I am now a 36 year old widow with an 11 month old and a life ahead of me that seems to stretch interminably. My husband was our child’s primary carer as I was promoted and went back to work when she was six months old. I cannot imagine how I am going to raise our child without him, carrying this intense and acute grief that I have. Our lives are so much poorer for his loss. I would like to think that he is here with us I spirit but at the moment, in this abyss of pain that I am in, I cannot hear him.
I’m still searching for the peace. It’s been 11 months and it seems like it has been a life time that I have been without my husband. I’m still in the fog.
I am waiting for it to get easier.
jennifer, your words helped comfort me on the one month anniversary of the death of my beloved husband jerry. he too died in his sleep. this has been an incredibly difficult day. I am trying day by day to heal, nourish myself, sleep alot. Knowing I am not alone helps alot. Thank you, Val
I can relate with you. I also lost my husband unexpectedly due to a heart attack a year ago and it was so hard for me at first to deal with the pain of his loss. But I was able to hang on through the loving memories he left behind. I would like to share with you a great application I found within Facebook that somehow helped me in dealing with the loss of my husband. It’s called Evertalk. A friend of mine told me about it when my husband died. You know it’s hard to see memories of him everywhere. Even when I go online, I see pictures of him and it pains me so much. Of course I do not want to erase his pictures because I might regret it. Then my friend told me about Evertalk. I visited it and created a memorial page of my husband. It’s like a memory box but it’s online. It helped me deal with the pain as I looked back on loving memories my husband left. Family and friends also leave messages on his guestbook on Evertalk and it gave me comfort in a very difficult time. Anyways, I wanted to pass along the recommendation to check out Evertalk within Facebook. Hoping this might help you too. Their web site is http://www.everta.lk
We come to find new meaning in our loss, and gain comfort in a different but on-going, relationship with the deceased. I am glad to know that you have found peace and love after a loss. Thanks for the heads up on the Evertalk page Christina.