“Loneliness is not a surprising by-product of widowhood. I mean, even for the people who have never been through it, it’s a no-brainer. But frankly, I think that lonely is not a strong enough word.”
So begins an article by Catherine Tidd on OpenToHope. For anyone who has been a widow or widower for even a month, these words resonate. The sheer aloneness you feel from the moment you get out of bed — especially in the early weeks and months after your spouse has died — is literally overwhelming.
“There is a deep silence that comes with losing your spouse,” Tidd continues. “And it doesn’t matter if you’re standing in the middle of a crowded room, you will still notice it. It’s the quiet that comes when you don’t have that familiar voice whispering in your ear at a wedding, ‘Can you believe she wore that? I mean, what was she thinking?’ It’s the missing sound of two glasses clinking together on your anniversary. It’s the absence of someone breathing soundly next to you as you go to sleep at night.”
Does anyone understand your new sense of loneliness? If you are a member of a spousal loss support group, the answer is yes. Tidd understands this: “We’ve found anonymous support from strangers who don’t know us but are as close as we can come to confiding in people who know exactly what we’ve been through. We tell these strangers some of the most intimate details of our lives, knowing that out of thousands of people, one person might understand us and, out of thousands of people, no one will be heartless to enough say, ‘You did what? You’re crazy!’ ”
Tidd’s article is filled with insights that any widow or widower can relate to, because we are “People who get that a sleepless night with a newborn is one thing while a sleepless night with a dead spouse is a whole other deal.”
Knowing and relating to other people who have experienced the bizarre thoughts and feelings that come during the grief process is enormously comforting. We immediately relate to the insights of our newfound friends, such as when Tidd shares: “It’s almost like we need to roll over in bed and say in utter disbelief to our spouses, ‘Did you hear that you died? And you were so young!’ This would be followed by a hug from them, a pat on the back, and the murmuring of some comforting words while we cried on their shoulders.”
Here’s the full article: ‘Lonely’ Not Powerful Enough Word To Describe Widowhood. Along with the stories we share in group, it’s another comforting affirmation that we are indeed not alone.