Advice To The Newly Widowed: My .02

As I look back on the past nineteen months, I feel like I owe it to the newly widowed out there to share what I have learned. In no particular order, please know this:

  • Make friends with your shower floor and the car. You will cry there often. Or I did. You'll find a place. We all seem to. I still cry. I will always cry. I cry a little less now.
  • Get a lot of copies of that death certificate. Carry at least one with you everywhere you go in the first few months.
  • Learn to say no when you need a break.
  • Learn to say yes when you need help.
  • Get out of the house. I don't care if it's to go to the mailbox in your filthy sweatpants that you've been wearing for a week straight.
  • It's not too soon.
  • It's not too late.
  • You will be okay. Really.
  • The only person who knows how you should be grieving is YOU.
  • Cry when you cry.
  • Laugh when you laugh.
  • It is okay to date.
  • It is okay to not date.
  • It is okay to continue to wear your wedding band. Or not.
  • You can go through his/her things when YOU are ready.
  • People love you.
  • Some of your friends and family understand what you are going through.
  • Some of your friends and family do not understand.
  • Lean on the people who understand.
  • Grief doesn't have a timeline.
  • The holidays can be however you need them to be, look however you want them to look.
  • The holidays will be hard no matter how you change them up. They just will. Plan for this suckage.
  • You do not have to visit the cemetery. You can if you want.
  • You have permission to grieve in the way that works best for you.
  • Grief can be physically painful. I'm not sure why this gets left out of so much information. It can hurt like a mother fucker.
  • Grief can be sneaky. I have been struck down to my knees in the most inopportune places and the worst possible times. You can't prepare for it. Roll with it if you can. Know that you are not alone. Pack tissues or handkerchiefs. You will need them. Often.

For more advice on what to do in those early days, practical advice, check out this post by fellow widow, White Elephant In The Room, called A Widow's Primer. It is an excellent source of what you need to know and do in those first days, hours, months. She speaks the truth.