THE CHALLENGES OF BEING A WIDOW
When my husband suddenly passed away, it was a total shock to my emotions and the toughest challenges for me have been the emotional issues. Although I was fortunate enough to not have the torture of dealing with a prolonged illness, I didn't have the luxury of preparing myself emotionally for having to cope with living life alone without my lifetime partner. It was suddenly thrust upon me, without warning, without a plan.
The most difficult challenge for me was dealing with the grief of missing my wonderful husband and the loneliness I felt. A part of you dies, death takes a piece of you and never gives it back, leaving a scar in its place. It was the lowest time in my life and I became extremely depressed, which, along with worrying about money, is often one of the first challenges of a widow.
What had happened to me? And where were my friends when I need them most? You go through a phase that is commonly referred to as the "grief honeymoon" where everyone gathers around you when you really want to be alone to think and come to terms with what life has just thrown at you. Then almost as fast as the honeymoon begins, it ends, and the rush of people coming at you turns into the running away of the same people who had so much concern for you.
My spirit had been broken, my friends changed as did my status as a person in this world. I was no longer a married lady . . . I was suddenly single in my world of married couples that I no longer fit in with. It is almost like you have a contagious disease that they may catch if they are around you and seeing what you go through is just too scary to face because they know it could have been one of them standing in my shoes. I was alone and scared for the first time in my life without the one person in my life who would wipe those tears away and make it all better.
As I've followed the path to my new life, I've learned so much about people, friends, family. I'm learning how to survive on my own, alone, because no one is guaranteed to be there to help me do it. Many run for fear you may need something from them. Let them run, I need strength, not fear, and it has taught me how to find the strength from within myself. What doesn't kill you makes you stronger.
In my experience, the emotional hurdles have been the toughest challenge of being a widow and gathering up the strength through my grief in order to go through the survival phase.