Hello, and welcome back to the widow podcast, it is so lovely to have you here again. Today I want to talk a little bit about three of the most important factors that I believe will help guide you in your healing journey to a place in your life that you can be happy again, that you can enjoy life, find peace, and love, and happiness in your heart.
Now, this isn't scientifically proven. I haven't done any scientific research on this. This is something I have noticed from my own personal journey with widowhood. And it is something that I have also noticed working with others in my groups, and in my one to one programs. And just even from chatting to people on social media platforms, I can see the difference that these three factors make, they just stand out, they stand out so hugely, and I can spot them a mile off. And I'm sure, it's something that you will become aware of too, in yourself and in others, if you aren't already, you may already be aware.
And for me, I'm not entirely sure at the time, I was consciously making the choices to be this way, to think this way. But they were choices nonetheless. And they guided me well, they guided me so well. And I wouldn't be where I am if I hadn't have made them.
Now, these aren't the only three things, obviously. But I think they are three of the biggest sort of determining factors in helping you make choices and decisions that will support you in your grieving journey, and take you to a life that you can love again, because ultimately, that's the goal. Right? You know, who wants to be miserable forever? We don't, it's just so awful. It's so painful. And to stay in that space to believe that is permanent. That is what the rest of your life is going to look like. Which, let's face it, we've all kind of been in that place, haven't we? Where you think, is this my life now, are my best days behind me. And that's not what we truly want. That's not what we desire. We want to find happiness again. I'm not saying it's easy, it's not easy. It's not a choice you make and then it's just suddenly there like magic.
#Factor 1 – Support Systems – 3:18
So, the first point, the first factor I want to talk about is around our support systems. One of the biggest determinants of how well you will do in your grieving journey. Other people around you, your community, the connections, you have your tribe, your family, your friends, your support groups, whoever those people are. They are going to be so significant and absolutely vital in your journey.
Yes, I say it all the time. Your healing is your responsibility. 100% we have to take responsibility for that. Nobody else can do it for us sadly. But that doesn't mean we have to do it alone. I was so lucky. From the minute I was told Simon died I was literally scooped up. The girls and I we were scooped up and we were probably actually just carried through.
There was somebody by my side all the time. My mum, my dad, my sister. My other sisters and my brother were also there, family, friends. My auntie, my oldest and bestest friends and some of my newer friends that have been in my life for a few years. They took it in turns to stay the night they helped me with childcare. People delivered meals. The school support system, the parents and the teachers took it in turns to cook a meal. And I picked up the meal when I picked up the children from school and I was given vouchers for food stores so I could go and get ready made meals, that were better for us. I wouldn't be where I am now without them.
Genuinely, people say to me, oh, you're amazing, you've done this, you've done that you've come so far, I wouldn't be here. Had I not have accepted the help and support from those around me. I couldn't have done it by myself. And I didn't have to do it by myself. Now, I recognize how fortunate I am, I live in a town where my family live, I've got friends around me that I went to junior school and senior school with. I'm just incredibly lucky. And I know not everybody has that. But also, people came to support me that weren't old, dear friends, that weren't family. They were people that just showed up, that wanted to support me, that wanted to help me. And I let them, I let them in.
People wanted to help. And I know sometimes it's very tempting, isn't it to just close down the barriers, shut the door, and push everyone away. Because you're so tired. You're so fed up, nobody can replace your person. What's the point, nobody can do anything to help me. And I get that, I get that, it does very much feel like that in terms of, there's nothing anyone can do. But there really is.
Having people walk with you, be by your side. Letting people support you in whatever way that you need, will help you, will help you feel less alone. It will help you feel more connected. It will help you find your way, a lot more easily, a lot less heavily. We can draw from their strengths. We can draw from their wisdom. And it will be one of the best gifts you give to yourself.
There's so many people I speak to that say No, I don't want to let people help me. I don't want to be a nuisance. I don't want to be a burden. I don't want to get on their nerves. I don't want them to think they've got to do this, and they've got to do that. People are choosing to show up for you. People are asking you what can I do? How can I help? Tell them! Let them know. It honestly, it is the best thing. You're going to be exhausted. You don't have to be a superhero. You don't have to do it all by yourself. You really don't. And I know, I want to stand on my own two feet. I want to be fiercely independent. This is my life now, I've got to get used to it. Yes, you have. I get that, but not straight away.
Let people help you find your feet. You're not going to need the help and support for the rest of your life, you will figure it out, you will find a way, you will find a new normal. But that takes a long time. It's a long process and we need a lot of nurturing in that process to get us through our grieving journeys.
We're not designed to live alone. When you go back hundreds of years, we lived in communities, families bought up children, grandparents, great grandparents, aunties, uncles, cousins. We lived in communities. We are stronger together. We know this. We're not designed to do it all on our own, you will not heal in isolation.
And sometimes, it's showing ourselves that love and that kindness and thinking I'm going to let them, I'm going to let people help me, I'm going to ask for people's help. I'm going to ask for support. Because that's the kindest thing I can do for myself right now. Whilst I find my feet, whilst I figure it out.
And you will, you absolutely will, let people guide you. If you keep saying to people, no, I'm fine, it's okay, I don't need anything. They're going to believe that. That's going to be what they see. That will become the reality for them and then people will pull back and we get frustrated with it, they don't understand, they don't know what I'm going through, they think I'm okay.
Half the time, that's our own fault. Be honest, say you're struggling, say you need some help, set up a support group, go out, find your tribe, meet people that understand, that get it. There's many people out there, and there's many people that will want to help. There's some wonderfully good, kind, generous people in the world, lean on them.
#Factor 2 – Changing the Narrative / I can do it! – 10:33
One thing I had from the beginning of my journey, that, again, wasn't particularly something I consciously thought about, it was just there. it was just within me. And I remember saying, you've probably heard me say before, to my mum and my sister, not long after Simon had died, hours, maybe a day, I can't remember exactly. But saying, I do not want this to define myself, or my daughter's lives in a negative way for the rest of our lives. I had this burning desire, to not become a victim, to believe that life could be good again, I have no idea how I was going to do this. I'm not sure I even fully believed it all the time. But it was a belief and a desire that was strong within me.
And I can see this in so many people, in my facebook group, widows rising, the belief and the desire in there, that internal instinctive, want, to not become a victim, to want to create a good life for themselves, honoring their loved one, it's there. And when it's there, we are able to make the choices and the decisions that help us get to that point. But it's got to be there in the first place.
What do you want for your life? What do you want it to look like? What do you want to feel on the inside? What kind of person do you want to be? Make yourself proud of that person. Rise up, you can absolutely do it. But you've got to believe that it's possible, you've got to want it for yourself. Because if you don't, it's going to be hard, it's going to be really hard. Because if we tell our brains, that it's not possible, that we can never be happy, again, that our lives are over, our brains will believe that, that will become our reality, that will become our life and our truth.
Because we always want to prove our thoughts, right? So if that's what we're telling ourselves, that's what will happen. And this is where, it's kind of changing that dialogue, it's changing that narrative. I can do it, look at others for inspiration, look at the people around you. Look at others that have lived a similar experience that have managed to create something truly wonderful and meaningful afterwards. Because if they can you sure as hell can do it, too. We're not born with superpowers, there's not one person better than the other, we are all capable of amazing things. So instill that belief and that desire within you, it will guide you and it will guide you well.
#Factor 3 – Have an open heart – 13:55
The third factor, the third point is to have an open heart and an open mind.
When we are closed, we remain stuck. We stay where we are. And having an open heart, having an open mind, leaves us open to opportunity, to possibility, to new things. And I know it's scary, I know it's it's not what we wanted, it's not what we desired. But as much as things will change and you will change through this, not all change is bad. Sometimes we think when things are different, they're going to be bad. And that's not always the case.
There's been so many changes in my life. I'm a different person, my life looks so different to how it looked before. But I have to be honest, there's so many positive, wonderful changes that have happened as a result of Simon dying, that I'm grateful for them. I'm not grateful that Simon died. It doesn't mean that. But I can see the opportunities that have been presented to me, the possibilities that lay before me. And I opened my heart and opened my mind to them. And I let them in, and I tried new things, I faced my fears. And it wasn't always fun. It wasn't always easy.
Grief, grief is exhausting. Grief takes everything out of you. And then some, and then we've got to try and find our way again, and build ourselves back up. It's not easy. And sometimes we do want to shut off, sometimes we do want to just kind of go, do you know what, I'm done, I don't want anything to change. I don't want anything to look different. I don't want to try these new things. I want my old life back, I want it exactly how it was. I understand that, I hear you, but we can't have it. It's gone.
By allowing ourselves to look forward, and even if you're not ready for things right now, just be open to the fact that at some point in the future, it could be a possibility for you. Meeting a new person, wherever you are in your journey, there's a point sometimes it churns your stomach, no way, absolutely not. But recognize that it's an absolutely not right now, it's not an absolutely not forever. Moving house, again, no way, I need to stay here, this is my house forever. I'm not leaving, it'll be like leaving them behind. That's how you feel in that moment. And that's okay.
But don't close off the possibility that sometime in the future, you might want to move house, things might change for you, something might happen. And it's just kind of saying, right here, and now, this is a right for me. But maybe at some point in the future, it will. You're not closing yourself off, you're going to grow through this. You're going to grow way more than you ever imagined. This is going to reveal parts of you you didn't know existed. You're going to find an inner strength, that inner determination. And you're going to do things that make you so flippin proud of yourself, you'll have to pinch yourself to believe. But we have to be open, we have to have an open heart and an open mind.
So just to reflect. This is what I believe are three of the biggest factors, the biggest beliefs that you can take on, mindsets that you can adopt, ways of thinking for yourself, that will help you through. Let people help you create those connections or support networks. Let them in, don't shut them out. Let people carry you for a bit.
Believe, believe that life can be good again, desire it for yourself. Know that it is possible. Right here, right now, it hurts like hell. You can't see it, and how it's going to work out. But just know that you will figure it out. At some point in the future, you will be happy again, you will create something wonderful, meaningful and fulfilling for yourself.
And thirdly, keep an open heart. Keep an open mind. Be open to new opportunities to new possibilities. Because anything and everything is possible and you are capable of amazing things, you really are.
Thank you so much for listening. It's been lovely to have you here again. I hope some of that helps and I will see you on the next Episode of the Widow Podcast. Take care bye bye