The mind is a powerful thing. Periodically, I wonder if I’ve completely lost mine. Seriously, I feel like no one warned me that my brain, in the early days of widowhood, would be scrambled, and my ability to make logical decisions would be thrown out the window. I quickly realized that I wasn’t alone, because there were thousands of others feeling exactly what I was at that moment.
With a newly scrambled brain, I attempted to navigate the next step. Inadvertently, I began to surround myself with family, friends, and other widows walking a similar journey. These people provided support when I needed it most, and I trusted them to have my best interests at heart.
Some of them were the most important people in my life prior to my husband’s death, while others came beside me in grief when I picked them up on the side of the road and said, “Jump In!” Obviously, I’m kidding (sort of), but those brave enough to go on a road trip through life with me deserve a huge chunk of credit for where I am today. I couldn’t do life without YOU.
Finding your tribe of people isn’t always easy. Especially, if you’re an introvert (LIKE ME). You may have to work a little harder than the extroverts, but I can promise you there are people out there waiting for you. In my early stages of grief, discerning who to rope into my inner circle was based on a few different things: my values, my social circles, and my resourcefulness.
My decision making process always starts by understanding what I value most in this world. For some, those core values could be faith, love, variety, or spirituality. For me, I value my faith, family, and friends. .
As you begin to write your values list, who are some of the key people you think of that fall in alignment with that list?
There were many people between our family, friends, and church that surrounded us in our most critical time of need, but there was one person that rose to the top of my list and I subconsciously appointed her to help facilitate the endless flood of people, tasks, and decision making was critical in the aftermath. That person was my sister.
She was one of the key people by my side during those early moments of shock, overwhelm, and chaos. She was tasked with contacting our family, so we could be surrounded by people who loved us. She also interviewed attorneys for me and directed the flow of traffic when people wanted to know how they could help.
As you think of all the places you spend your time, and maybe that’s mostly at home in your yoga pants (no judgement), who are the people that you are surrounded by on a regular basis?
If I’m being honest, I wasn’t sure I even had a social circle in Minnesota. However, as I began this journey, I realized that I had a whole community of support. My childhood friends, work colleagues, friends from my children’s activities, church friends, our neighbors, and the community of Andy’s friends who stepped up in our most critical time of need.
Communicating what you need when you need it most, with these people in your life, will not only allow them to better understand what you are going through…it will show YOU who is willing to jump into the trenches and pull you out from time to time!
Many of the amazing people I have picked up along the way, were simply due to my need to connect with others along a similar journey. I found connection through local and online grief support groups, Facebook communities, and googling everything I could about navigating grief to provide my family with a sense of normalcy amidst the chaos.
What I found out? We are not alone. There are so many people in the world, on a similar journey as my own, that understood my pain on the deepest level. This is why it has become my personal mission to connect widows to resources, life, and each other as they navigate life after loss.
As you search for a local support groups and resources please ensure you are working with a reputable non-profit organization or one that someone you trust has had a positive experience with. If you are in need of social, psychosocial, or financial resources check out Brighter Days Grief Center for Minnesota specific organizations or links to national resources available.
As a final reminder, every single person that steps into your life has been woven into the fabric of your story. Some will stay for only a short time and others will be there until the end.
Those you choose to surround yourself with are a part of the elite few that you get to call your people, your community, and your tribe. Regardless of how long they are here on this journey with you, embrace them when you need them most and trust that they are here in this moment to support you in your most critical time of need.
If you are a widow and uncertain where to go next or how to find other widows to get connected with along your journey, please join my facebook community.
Hi there, I’m Erin.
Transformational Life Coach
I’m serving the widow community by connecting them to resources, life, and each other as they rediscover life after loss. When I’m not coaching, I love to travel and spend time with family and friends. If you’re ready to take the next step on your journey start here!