My Grief Care

Widow Grief

7 Episodes

Episode 1 : I Lost Myself When My Husband Died

I Lost Myself When My Husband Died

Did you feel like you lost yourself when you’re husband died.  Like part of you died too? Grieving the loss of a husband may impact a widow similar to the impact of losing a limb. Depending on the closeness and depth of the relationship, losing a spouse is often described as losing a part of oneself. This is not a surprising statement because the relationship between husband and wife is often the most interdependent and intimate connection people experience in their lifetimes.

Ron found one psychological study that compared the psychological impacts on both widows and amputees. They found strong similarities, including parallels in psychological symptoms. Both widows and amputees frequently experience depressive and anxiety symptoms, struggle to accept their losses, and will often prefer to avoid talking and thinking about their loss. Both types of loss are impairing and require very significant life adjustments.

Some widows we’ve worked with describe experiencing physical pain in response to grieving the death of their husbands. This pain is sometimes compared to a person experiencing phantom limb pain at some point following an amputation.

While we don’t work with people following amputations, we have worked with hundreds of people grieving the loss of loved ones. And, we have often heard from widows who attend our retreats, “I feel as though I lost a big part of myself” and/or “I don’t really know who I am anymore. I’ve lost my identity.”  Can you relate to any of that?

You may not be comfortable in your skin, feel a lack of identity and lose your confidence.  If that’s you, that’s normal my friend.  Just as someone who lost a limb has to adjust to life without it, a widow must do the same thing.  It is a struggle and challenge to live and adapt to these losses.  This can’t be done overnight.  This takes time and you are going to fall a lot along the way.  Give yourself grace.  Please understand the depth of the impact of losing your husband. It is going to take time and healthy grieving steps to eventually heal.  

Early on, this loss and pain engulfs you, and it should. You may see your identity as a widow. But, our experience is that a gradual transition from identifying primarily as a widow to seeing yourself as a person who has experienced the loss of her husband seems to have a significant impact on your recovery process.  But give yourself time to transition.

When you are ready, if you are stuck or need help and healing, please check out our Next Chapter Widow Retreats.  They are like nothing else out there.  We’ve been where you are, and we know how to help.