Sunday Book Review – Healing A Spouse’s Grieving Heart by Dr. Alan D. Wolfelt

The Sunday Book Review highlights Healing a Spouse’s Grieving Heart by Dr. Alan D. Wolfelt, who is a noted author, educator, and grief counselor. This book is a great companion guide for those of us who’ve loved and lost someone. It offers 100 practical ideas to help cope with grief.

 

Healing a Spouse's Grieving Heart: 100 Practical Ideas After Your Husband or Wife Dies (Healing Your Grieving Heart series) by [Alan Wolfelt]

Available on Amazon

 

Blurb:

Helping widows and widowers learn how to cope with the grief of losing their helpmate, their lover, and perhaps their financial provider, this guide shows them how to find continued meaning in life when doing so seems difficult. Bereaved spouses will find advice on when and how to dispose of their mate’s belongings, dealing with their children, and redefining their role with friends and family. Suggestions are provided for elderly mourners, young widows and widowers, unmarried lovers, and same-sex partners. The information and comfort offered apply to individuals whose spouse died recently or long ago.

 

My 5 Star Review:

Comfort for the grieving spouse’s heart told in bite-sized, often one page chapters. Easy to digest as a complete read through, or as a night table book where you could keep it handy to open a page for a bit of inspiration.

The book offers short and comforting words and suggestions and short to-the- point topics and advice to live by. An easy read that had my head nodding in acknowledgement to much of it. This book offers good tools to help wade through the grief journey.

Dr. Wolfelt offers us 100 Practical Ideas in one page chunks as he shares a common issue mourners face with uplifting advice on how to deal with those moments. I will share quotes I felt poignant, and I’ll add my own thoughts from my own experience in response:

“The death of a spouse tears through every layer of your existence.” – Fact.

“You will grow to learn that you can mourn and live at the same time.”–  I’m beginning to learn this.

“The loss of a partner is among life’s most wrenching and challenging experiences.” – 1000000%

The doctor tells us “The journey of grief is a long and difficult one. It is also a journey for which there is no preparation.” – Fact!

We’ll learn that feelings of shock, numbness, and disbelief are nature’s way of protecting us from the full reality of the death of a loved one. Yes! Thank God for the numbness and denial! We’re advised to reach out to someone when we need to share our pain. Good advice for sure, but for some like myself, I don’t like to reach out and burden others. I wish some would pick up a phone and check up on me – if nothing other than common courtesy.

Reminders about who we are now after we are left as half from one. The arduous and painful work will begin when we assume our own new single identity.

Here’s a bigee for me: “Widows often tell me how surprised and hurt they feel when friends fall away after the death of a spouse. I found out who my friends really are,” they say. – This is my number one glaring headlight into my new life – the very, very few who are now in my life. Death surely tells a whole story.

“Caring for someone who is sick is physically as well as emotionally draining.” – Understatement! There is no pain like watching your beloved die before you daily.

I’m pretty sure I’m here: “You may not know what to do with yourself now that your days are no longer consumed by caring for your spouse.” – Yes, not only our world has been shaken, stirred and turned upside down, but now we’re also out of routine, another sense of loss – that we are no longer needed.

“Many people have lost touch with the gift of family. Your friends may come and go, but family, as they say, is forever.” – I’m sorry, but this part actually made me laugh. Let me rephrase that: Your family may come and go, but friends are forever. I’m a living testament to this.

“If you harbor bad feelings about your partner’s medical care, find a way to express those feelings.” – Oh I’ve expressed my feelings loud and clear. Covid killed my husband and he didn’t even have it. He couldn’t be assessed in hospital during Covid, so like the many more who died because of Covid, without having Covid will be numbers we will be receiving in time. My husband was a victim of not being able to get assessed early enough in hospital. That is Fact.

“Being without someone to hug and hold is often a big part of their grief. You may have kissed and hugged your spouse every day. You probably slept side by side. Losing this kind of physical intimacy can feel devastating.” – No kidding! The good doctor hit the motherlode here. We hugged and kissed many times a day. Of course we slept not always side by side, but spooned and tucking my always cold feet under his legs. There is no replacement. It’s loss upon loss us grievers will continue to endure.

“It’s not unusual for mourners to save clothing, jewelry, books, locks of hair, and other personal items. You may even want to wear your husband’s old sweatshirt or sleep with your wife’s robe.” -Some of the small comforts in my own grief. I gave away most of hubby’s things and kept what was most sacred to me: Special photos, his gold chain, now worn with his wedding ring hanging from it. His slippers by the bed. His favorite sweatshirts. And his love that is always around.

“Should you still wear a wedding ring when you’re a widow, or shouldn’t you?” – Naturally, there is no one answer. But if you’re asking me, I will be wearing my wedding ring til the day I die – no matter what may come.

“Griefbursts” – This is a perfect word for the unprepared for moments where merely a kind word, hug or song can set off the waterworks.

Throughout this book, the good doctor shares some good advice on things to do to get back into community, suggests when it may be time to talk to a counselor, join a support group, among many other suggestions.

Another quote I found resonated big-time with me was: “You may lack the energy as well as the desire to participate in activities you used to find pleasurable. The fancy term for this is ‘anhedonia,’ which is the lack of ability to experience pleasure in things you previously found pleasurable.” – I’m so there. I don’t like to be out long, and like to dash right back home when out for a time. What I need is a holiday away from my environment.

“If you choose to marry, know that you will never get over your grief for the spouse who died. You will always love your previous spouse and, even years and decades later, you will always feel some grief over his or her death. This is normal and necessary.” – I absolutely couldn’t agree more. Real love never goes away. Why would I even consider remarrying? My husband filled my heart and soul. That doesn’t go away. Marrying anyone else could only make them second best, and who would want to be that?

If you are grieving, read this book.

 

©DGKaye2021

 

 

D. G. Kaye Explores the Realms of Relationships – May 2021 – The #Grief Process | Smorgasbord Blog Magazine

Well it’s been a very long year for me, and my thanks to Sally Cronin for keeping my spirit alive while I’ve been living the very recent loss of my husband. Sally has been generous with her resharing of past articles while I’ve been mostly absent from blogland and not fulfilling my monthly contributions to her Smorgasbord Blog Magazine. So in staying with the current theme of my life this year, my recent article is about Grief and touching on what one can expect on this journey, through my experience.

 

Smorgasbord Blog Magazine – D. G. Kaye Explores the Realms of Relationships – May 2021 – The #Grief Process

Hello to my wonderful Smorgasbord family.

I’d like to first say thank you to the so many of you who’ve been sending light, love and condolences with messages, emails, cards, and even some unexpected gifts. And a huge thank you to Sally for keeping my spirit alive here and beyond. Undoubtedly, I have a lifetime of stories to write about, and I’m not here today to write specifically about the 180 my life took not even two whole months ago, when my husband seemed to be getting sicker by the day and a palliative doctor came into the hospital room to talk to me about his ongoing care, before we’d even had confirmed results back from an oncologist. This was the beginning of the end.

 

Grief

 

But today’s article isn’t about all that what went down with my husband’s end of his life, but more geared toward the topic about what this series represents – Realms of Relationships, not just about relationships, but also about situations and emotions that we endure and or encounter in life in relationships, and how they affect us and how we deal with them.

So, for today, I’d like to share a bit about what I’m learning about how this grief process works, and since I’m currently living the nightmare, who better than me to share with you my experiences, straight from this proverbial horse’s mouth. And always remember, everybody’s own grief is unique, but one thing is for certain, there are definitely the same steps and stages involved in the grief process, and possibly a bit overly cliché sounding, but it is the old standard – the five stages of grief – Denial · Anger · Bargaining · Depression · Acceptance, which are, and will be components of the journey, no matter how one grieves. Yup, they’re real. There are variations for sure, which I’ll get into later. But suffice it to say, there are no shortcuts with grief.

 

despair

 

Books on grief are typically not our first ‘go to’ genre. Let’s face it, how many people want to read about end of life? But ahh, how many who’ve lived through a heart wrenching loss wish they had someone to help them understand the inner torment grief brings to the table, wishing they knew more about what to expect?

As I grew myself up by reading self-help books about growing self-esteem, reading true stories and situations about people and how they handled their hardships, it paid off helping me to learn what I needed to better myself. In the same circumstance, wanting to reach out and look for some way of relief from the grieving process, books and gatherings with people who’ve walked in the shoes, really can help too.

Now I’m not saying reading books about grieving will help us get out of our grief, but they can do several other things such as, allow us to feel with another who has walked in the same devastating shoes of unbearable grief; it’s almost like a feeling of camaraderie, like when we shake our heads as we read something that resonates, as if to affirm every single emotion and stage we’re going through as we read. It’s a natural instinct for us to want to connect with others who are familiar with all the new emotions we will go through.

Truly, I believe that only someone who has lived the journey can write these kinds of books, and you can be sure, somewhere down the road, I’ll be writing one of my own – one day, when the stinging rawness of my unacceptance at willing to face all the music I keep locked up in a compartment in my head so that at present, I can function and get on with the grueling things that demand attending to during my hours of grief, like, arranging funerals, Covid restrictions, two religions dilemma, and fulfilling my husband’s wishes, all in the same moments while my very own hell in my heart resides within. I will write a book.

I’ve read books all my life to try to better myself and learn, so naturally, and despite the fact that I haven’t been able to read for pleasure at present, a single page of any book since my husband began deteriorating, Only after he passed I had a hunger to devour books that could make me feel I wasn’t alone. I felt compelled to read a few books about grieving. I needed to know how people got through it all. I needed to learn about all the other goodies (sarcasm) I had to look forward to.

 

 

I was immediately drawn to Dr. Elisabeth Kubler-Ross’s work as a psychologist and her own experience with grief, and her work with people who’ve had near death experiences and came back to tell, which I’ve recently read – On Life After Death. . . .Please continue reading at Sally’s Smorgasbord.

 

Source: Smorgasbord Blog Magazine – D. G. Kaye Explores the Realms of Relationships – May 2021 – The #Grief Process | Smorgasbord Blog Magazine

 

©DGKaye2021