Thursday, August 21, 2014

Top Eleven Tips for Widows/Widowers: Tip #3

When you're feeling overwhelmed with sadness, therapy may be the answer.
There are various options.  You may find solace in a group of people who are in the same situation as you.  Grief groups can be found at churches/synagogues, at hospice programs, at hospitals.  There are grief groups for people whose loved ones have died of a particular disease.  I found a leukemia/lymphoma grief support group after my husband died.  One caveat:  your goal in seeking such a group should be to come to terms with your loss and "graduate" from the group.  This doesn't mean you won't see the friends you've made there any more.  One plus about groups is that you may find friends to socialize with outside of the group.

If you're not a "group person," you may want to seek individual counseling.  That's what I did.  I began at the height of my husband's illness when I was so sad and stressed, I could hardly function.  That helped me then and in the time of transition when I first was widowed.  You can get referrals from your family doctor, from friends, from your spouse's doctor.  Just be sure you and your therapist are a good match.  If you don't feel comfortable during your first meeting, find someone else.

If nothing else, think about book therapy.  There are tons of books on widowhood--memoirs, advice for managing daily life, coping with grief--I probably read them all, or anyway, a lot of them.  I have a huge collection now of books about widowhood, and I'm always surprised when I'm lecturing and ask if people have read any helpful books and I get a lot of no's.  I guess it was natural for me to seek books.  No matter what stage of life I've been in--parenting, step-parenting, transitions, loss of a parent--I've always looked for books.  Some of my favorites on widowhood are:
     Widow to Widow
     It Must Have Been Moonglow
     The Five Ways of Grieving
     The Widow's Story

And no, I didn't include The Year of Magical Thinking--it is not one of my favorites.

Take care, and stop back next week for Tip #4.



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