Four years after the death of my husband, I am back to teaching and traveling.
After five months of battling cancer, my husband passed away quietly, leaving me empty and alone. Between tears and making arrangements for his funeral, I tried my best to forge on and keep a brave face.
One good thing about lingering sickness is that it has prepared me for the eventual death of my husband. One major thing I did was devote a good number of hours to reading self-help articles and books. This was what prodded me to write this article; I know it might be of help to a wife out there who lost or is about to lose a husband.
My husband and I were together for 13 years. We were together almost 24/7 thanks to the nature of his job. We did almost everything together. This is why losing him was very tough for me. One big lesson I learned from losing him is that TIME HEALS the wound of losing a loved one. For sure, my love for him will not change and will not disappear, but I will be able to continue living with a smile.
I will list down the things I did to help me get though this very difficult time.
1. I allowed myself to grieve.
I cried a lot. I would look at our pictures and reminisce about the fun vacations we took and restaurants we visited, and go through the simple chores we did day to day.
2. I 'wrote off' my grief.
I am a literary person, so words and letters comfort me. I started writing about my day-to-day feelings and how much I missed my husband. This truly helped me vent out what was inside me.
3. I talked about my grief and loneliness with my best friend.
I am a very private person, so I chose just one person to share my feelings with. These conversations provided much needed solace during those trying times.
4. I turned on the radio and listened to upbeat songs.
I stayed away for a month or two from love songs. These kept me happy most of the time.
5. I started looking for work to keep my mind busy with things other than brooding about my loss.
I did this about a month after my husband passed away. I was a stay-at-home wife, so I started looking for a job. After two and a half months, I was lucky enough to land a full-time job, which accelerated my recovery. I think my job was the best thing that happened to me during that time. It allowed me to be busy with so many things and gave me opportunities to socialize with people. This was the biggest mood-booster for me.
6. I enrolled in classes to force me to get out of the house.
Ballet is my childhood frustration, so I looked for adult ballet classes. These lessons provided me with the opportunity to get out of the house and get some physical exercise. I also indulged myself in shopping for pretty ballet outfits. My ballet classes gave me something to look forward to during those dreary days.
7. I redecorated my house.
Some people have the luxury of moving to another place, but unfortunately, I do not. So what I did was I just rearranged things in my house and bought some new things to have a new feel in the house. Unlike other people, I did not feel the need remove the photos of my husband around the house.
8. I went out of my way to socialize with my family and friends.
My family and friends knew that my husband had passed away, so I was very lucky for their sincere effort in including me in their outings and gatherings.
9. I kept my weekends busy.
When I started working, my weekdays were busy and hectic. My weekends, though, were another story. This was the time when I felt most lonely, so I made sure to also keep my weekends busy with ordinary errands, like doing the grocery, meeting my family and friends, and hanging out in cafes.
10. I took very good care of my dog.
All throughout my grieving period, my dog kept me company. Taking care of him provided some kind of relief and joy. He was by my side all the time, and I was very grateful for this.
Life lesson: TIME HEALS. I gave myself time to grieve, heal and be happy again. There were really times when I definitely felt very low but I knew that I have to be very purposive in the changes I need to make in order to pull through. Cheers!