Grief is a unique experience for every human, so this episode is obviously not going to be accurate for every widowed mom out there. However, helping other people who haven’t been through anything even close to what you have understand what you’re dealing with is always incredibly challenging, so I want to try to help with that today.
If you’ve listened to the podcast before and wished there was an episode that you could share with family and friends to help them understand what you’re going through as a widow, then this one is for you.
I’ve been asking my clients and people in my community what they wished their loved ones knew about their experience as a widowed mom. And so, if somebody you love is a widowed mom and you have trouble communicating or empathizing fully with them because you don’t really understand what they’re going through, I invite you to listen in here.
Join me on the podcast this week as I cover some of the most common experiences of widowed moms, and some of the misunderstandings that exist around comforting those going through grief and loss.
Listen to the Full Episode:
If you like what you’ve been hearing on this podcast and want to create a future you can truly get excited about even after the loss of your spouse, I invite you to join my Mom Goes On coaching program. It’s small group coaching just for widowed moms like you where I’ll help you figure out what’s holding you back and give you the tools and support you need so you can move forward with confidence.
What You’ll Learn from this Episode:
- How compassion can help both parties when someone has experienced a big loss.
- Why there is no pressure on you to fix somebody else’s problems.
- How to be there for someone without trying to take away their pain.
- The physical and mental impacts of grief.
- How you can be of service to someone reeling from a big loss.
- Some, perhaps surprising, things to avoid when trying to comfort someone suffering from grief.
Featured on the Show:
- Interested in small-group coaching? Request a Consultation here!
- Join my free Facebook group, The Widowed Mom Podcast Community.
- Ep #2: Myths of Grief
- Ep #4: The Widowed Mom’s Bill of Rights
Full Episode Transcript:
Welcome to The Widowed Mom Podcast, episode 45, For Those Who Love Us.
Welcome to The Widowed Mom Podcast, the only podcast that offers a proven process to help you work through your grief to grow, evolve, and create a future you can actually look forward to. Here’s your host, certified life coach, grief expert, widow, and mom, Krista St-Germain.
Hey, everybody. Welcome back to another episode of the podcast. If you ever wished you had an episode you could give to family and friends to help them understand what you’re going through then this is the episode for you. No matter where you are in your grief this episode will give those who love you a glimpse of what it’s like to be a widowed mom.
Before we jump into today’s episode, a little listener shoutout to a listener whose name is Megan and on Apple Podcasts she calls herself “ApplesBitter” and she left a review called, “A Soul I’d Love to Meet One Day.” She gave it five stars and wrote, “I became a widowed mom four short months ago. I had a two-and-half-year-old son and was 31 weeks pregnant with our daughter. Never in a million years did I think this would happen to me.
“Now, with a beautiful two-month-old and a toddler I needed something that helped me process my emotions and grief. Krista’s words and thinking has inspired me to push through and work through my thoughts. Her voice is sweet and calming which is just what I need after the chaos during the day. I enjoy listening and learning from her. I’m hopeful to come out stronger even though I miss my husband dearly. Thank you, Krista for sharing your talents with us. Love, Megan.”
Thank you, Megan, and hey, I want you to know, don’t be hopeful that you’re going to come out stronger. Okay? I want you to decide that you’re going to come out stronger because you can do that. You can decide and then you can make that true for yourself. We all can. So hope is lovely, but we can do better than hope. We can just decide and then we can go create. I know that won’t always seem easy, but I promise you that you have what it takes. So, thank you so much for that review.
If the podcast is something that’s helping you, I would love it if you would leave a review. It helps me know that it’s helping you and also it just helps give other widows a better shot at finding the podcast. There’s so many amazing podcasts out there and reviews and ratings are what help people find them. So, thanks so much for those of you who have taken time to do that.
A little update in my world, I know that depending on when you’re listening to this of course it could be years from when it was actually recorded, but assuming it’s sometime in the near future you are also probably still dealing with COVID-19 and all of the changes that that’s brought about in our lives. So, my children now don’t have school. They essentially got off at spring break and then never went back and our governor in Kansas canceled schools for the balance of the school year, but at least we know.
At least we know that school is canceled. My 12-year-old thinks that this is amazing and he is happy to play Minecraft as often as possible and doesn’t really mind working from home at all and doing his studies from home. My 16-year-old daughter is not loving it. She is not loving it. Even though she doesn’t particularly love every element of school she does like academics and more than that she likes sports. She was really excited to play volleyball for the balance of the season and be on the track team and, of course, was expecting that, as usual, she would be able to see her boyfriend whenever she wanted to and being the mean mom that I am, now she doesn’t get to.
So, it’s a little bit more rough on her than it is on my son. I have never been more grateful to work from home and have an online business because the impact to me has been so much less than I know that it is for a lot of other people and I certainly know that for those of you that have little kids it’s so much harder for you than it is for – at least I think, this is my thought, that it’s not as hard for me because my kids are just a little bit less maintenance and they’re more self-sufficient. Thankfully, I don’t have to teach them any math because if that were the case, we would be going down in flames around here because ah, no math. No math is happening is this household.
But otherwise we’re doing pretty well here. Still dating, still dating the same guy. We actually sat a few days ago and I got his feedback and I’m going to do another podcast episode specifically about dating. Kind of like this episode it will be designed to be something that you can give other people that you’re dating or a person that you’re dating so that they can better understand a little bit of what The Widowed Mom experience is about. So, let’s jump into this podcast, For Those Who Love Us.
I first want to give a disclaimer because grief is multi-faceted. It is a unique experience for every human. This episode is not going to be universally accurate for every widowed mom. I can’t speak for everyone. So, I want you to keep that in mind and as you listen be reminded that I’m using very broad brush strokes. I’m generalizing. I’m speaking for myself. I’m speaking on behalf of the hundreds of widows that I’ve coached with, that I’ve worked with, but it’s always best to have a conversation with the individual to see what her experience.
So, if you’re listening to this one, you might be a widowed mom trying to decide if you want to give this episode to other people. But if you’re other people, if you’re someone who loves a woman who is a widow and a mom then you might want to have a conversation with her after you listen to this episode because maybe not everything I say accurately represents what she’s going through. Maybe some of it she agrees with and maybe some of it she doesn’t and that’s okay.
So, I’m hopeful it will help you better understand her and, in that spirit, I’m going to cover some of the most common experiences of widowed moms. I also encourage you to listen to episode 2, Myths of Grief where I share six of the most common myths of grief and talk about why the five stages of grief that most people are familiar with aren’t actually accurate, why time alone doesn’t heal, and then some of the common faux pas and misunderstandings about healing and loss.
I’d also encourage you to listen to episode 5, The Widowed Mom’s Bill of Rights and that will, from the widow’s perspective give you a little bit more insight that I think will be useful to you. So, we’ll link to both of those episodes in the show notes. I’d also like to thank all of the women who contributed to this episode whether it’s because you are a client of mine or have been a client of mine or it’s because maybe you contributed directly to this episode.
I asked the women who follow me on social media, the women who are on my email, members of free Widowed Mom Podcast community Facebook group I asked them to share with me what they wished those who loved them knew and I received so many valuable and honest answers. So, if you contributed, thank you so much.
All right, so let’s jump in then. For those of you who love us, the first thing I want to offer to you is compassion, compassion, compassion. Compassion for her, of course, but also compassion for you. Chances are good that you’re going to say something that you wish you hadn’t. Your words may not come out like you want them to. There might be awkward moments of silence. You might be tempted to criticize yourself for something that you do or something that you don’t do, but here’s what I want you to know, we’re all imperfect humans, all of us.
We’re all doing the best we can do. No one teaches us how to handle situations like this is school. We are quite ill-informed when it comes to grief, so I want you to show yourself some grace and I want you to just do your best to love her. Show her some grace, know that she’s doing her best, too, but grief is complicated, it’s messy, it’s unique and there’s no way to navigate it perfectly. The goal is just to navigate it with grace and with compassion. Compassion for you, compassion for her, all right?
Number two, good news, her emotions are not contagious. You cannot catch them and her emotions are not problems that you have to fix. They’re not even problems. I know that you don’t consciously think that someone else’s emotions are contagious and you don’t consciously think that someone else’s emotions are problems, but directly or indirectly most of us have become to believe that negative emotions are problems and that the goal of life is to experience positive emotions.
We live in a culture fixed on happiness. So, when we see someone that care about in pain we consciously or unconsciously believe that that emotional pain is a problem. Because of our belief about pain we want to get others out of pain and we want to get others out of pain so we can feel better. We don’t want to hurt. We don’t want other people to hurt and we don’t want to hurt.
So, with the best of intentions we try to help another person feel better so that we can feel better, but what happens when you try to make someone else feel better, someone in grief feel better is often that they interpret your intentions, as good as they may be, in a way that wasn’t how you intended it. They interpret what you say as minimizing how they feel. They interpret what you say as telling them that they shouldn’t be feeling how they feel, that they should be feeling some other way.
So, I encourage you to be aware of this. Don’t try to take the pain away. Don’t try to minimize the feelings. Don’t try to find the silver lining. Sometimes what that sounds like is, “He’s in a better place,” or, “He’d want you to be happy,” or, “You’re young. There’s more fish in the sea. This was part of God’s plan,” or, “He’s not in pain now.” All of those things are basically well-intended and trying to make her feel better. These statements won’t make her feel better, chances are they’ll just make her feel like you don’t understand what she’s going through.
So, “I’m so very sorry and I love you so much. This sucks and I’m here for you.” Don’t minimize the pain, just acknowledge it and let her know that you’re there for her, but don’t try to take away the pain.
Number three, everything is probably out of whack physically and emotionally for her. The impacts of grief on our physical bodies, on our brain, on our hormones, all of it it’s very real. So, her hormones are probably very unbalanced compared to what they are normally. She might not be sleeping well. She might have what we call widow fog, which is kind of an inability of her pre-frontal cortex to process information, to remember information. Everything feels very foggy and blurry. She might find herself being way more forgetful than she’s used to being. It feels like a fog.
It’s not unique to widows, it’s typically something that people in grief experience, acute grief. She might also have a physical ache in her heart. Broken heart syndrome is a real thing and it feels like to the griever that there is a physical pain in their heart. So, everything is not normal for her. Everything that’s going on in her body is all out of place.
So, show compassion for that and know that she’s probably frustrated by it and she might not even understand what’s actually going on with her body and in her mind and with her hormones, but she is going to be feeling the impact of it. So, just know that.
Number four, any act of service might be helpful. Asking someone in grief what they need or what they want can sometimes be tricky because oftentimes they don’t know. It’s uncharted territory for them and so to ask what they need can just sometimes not give you a productive answer because they really genuinely don’t know how to answer that question, especially in the beginning.
So, anything that you can do might be very helpful. There are probably things that she’s going to be doing that she’s never done before or there will just be so many things on her list of things to do that if you can help with any of them chances are good that she’s going to be grateful. I know for me, people just came over and mowed my lawn. I didn’t even ask, and I was so grateful. I don’t even know how long it lasted, it’s such a blur to me, but people came over and they mowed my lawn.
One of my friends organized all of the school supplies to be purchased for my kids because it was about back to school time, so that I just didn’t have to do it. They didn’t even ask me – well, maybe they asked me, but honestly, I don’t remember. They just handled it.
Of course, food. Any of those things are helpful, but acts of service, it’s okay to just wash the car. If you see something around the house that needs help just clean it, just fix it, and don’t expect that they can necessarily answer the question of what do they need and, especially – I know I used to say this all the time before I had my own loss experience. I would say, “If there’s anything I can do, let me know.” She will almost never let you know.
First, because she probably doesn’t know what she needs and second, she doesn’t want to bother you. Sometimes, she’s worried that you’ll think she can’t handle it all and that you might be judging and so she just won’t ask. She doesn’t want to be perceived as needy or weak. It’s different for different people, but the blanket offer of, “If there’s anything you need let me know,” very rarely gets taken up on. So, just do something.
Number five, check on her, especially when you think she’s doing “great” and I put that in air quotes. There’s typically a lot of people immediately after someone dies. In a few weeks afterwards you might be inclined to think that she’s fine and stop checking on her, stop texting her, stop calling her, but this will likely be when she needs you the most because in the beginning it feels like a flurry of activity.
But once all of the action settles down and the food stops coming and her schedule starts to return to normal, that’s when reality starts to sink in. It’s different for every person, but chances are good that that’s when she’s going to need you more than ever and it’s at that exact time where you will look at her and you will think, she’s doing fine, and the worst of it is over. That may not be true, it’s probably not.
Another time that this happens is after the first year. There’s nothing magical that happens after the first year. That’s something that surprises a lot of widows. We’re often told that if we can just get through the first year, all of the milestones one time around that the second year will be easier and so a lot of us go through that first year kind of gripping on and holding ourselves tightly just trying to survive and we do, we survive. But then we’re really shocked to find out that the second year can be harder than the first year.
So, just because you think she looks like she’s okay, and just because you might be thinking that enough time has passed don’t assume she doesn’t want you to check on her. Check on her anyway.
I had a cousin, I call her a cousin, it’s a little more distant than that, but a cousin that lives in Colorado, Lindsey, if you’re listening, I love you, and she checked on me so often. She would send me cards, she would send me random texts, she would send me little presents in the mail way longer than so many other of my friends and my co-workers did. She just kept checking in with me.
We didn’t even talk all that much, but I can’t tell you how much it meant to me to know that she was thinking about me and that she hadn’t forgotten because I definitely hadn’t forgotten and it did feel like the rest of the world had kind of gone back to normal and so just to know that you’re thought of and checked up on, even if it’s not a long, in-depth conversation, it really can provide a lot of comfort and good feelings to the widowed mom in your life.
Number six, don’t be offended if she declines your invites to be social, but please don’t stop asking her. She might want to be alone, but she probably still wants to know that she’s invited. So, just keep the invitations coming and even if she comes, she’s probably going to feel like a third wheel or an outsider. It’s not because you’re doing anything wrong, it’s not because she’s doing anything wrong. It’s because her brain is likely scanning the environment for evidence of her thinking and most of us are thinking that things are not good. We’re seeing ourselves as outsiders. Everything feels very unfamiliar.
If she’s used to having her spouse with her, her person with her then not having him by her side is going to feel very awkward. It also might be very uncomfortable for her to watch you with your person. She’s also hearing things and seeing them, and experiencing them in different ways. So, songs and movies and stories might bring up memories for her. This is not a problem for you to fix. This is nothing that you have to worry about. It’s just something to be aware of. It’s just grief. It’s something that she’s going to go through in her own way and on her own schedule.
There’s no need to rush it. There’s nothing anybody has done wrong to have made it happen, but just be aware that social experiences are going to be different for her potentially for a while and that’s okay, but sometimes the invitations stop coming. Maybe because you feel awkward. Maybe because you’re worried about saying the wrong thing or doing the wrong thing. Or maybe because you assume that she doesn’t want to be invited or that she has said no before and so that she’ll say no again. Please just keep the invitations coming and be respectful of whatever it is that she says, yes or no, and however it is that she shows up.
Number seven, don’t worry about bringing his name up in conversation. Oftentimes, it seems like we don’t want to bring up the name of the deceased in a conversation because we’re worried that it will make the person sad. I promise you, she’s probably already sad. It’s not going to make her more sad. She’s very aware of the loss. It’s not like she forgot about it and when you bring up his name, suddenly it reminds her. It’s not how it works.
She’s probably thinking about it all the time and chances are good that she would really like to know that you’re also thinking of it. I know, for me, after Hugo died it was really helpful for me to be able to tell stories about him and I love that we had worked for the same company because most of my coworkers knew him, too, and I loved when they would tell stories about him and they would bring up jokes about him or little quirks that we loved and we could all laugh together.
My kids and I, we still joke in restaurants whenever we order something medium. We joke about it because Hugo, French was his first language. He was from Canada, and the way that the word medium came out always seemed to confuse the wait staff. They could never understand it. We still joke and smile about that.
Those are the kinds of things that will help her be reminded that you didn’t forget him because she hasn’t forgotten him. So, don’t be afraid to laugh. Don’t be afraid to share your favorite stories. Don’t be afraid to tell stories. Don’t be afraid to bring up his name in conversation, and don’t worry about it making her sad. It’s actually helpful for most of us.
I’m going to give you some do’s and don’ts of what to say. Quite a few of them. This is number eight, some do’s and don’ts. Don’t tell her to get over it or to move on. We don’t get over it. We don’t move on. It’s not something that happens, and then we just forget about it and we move on. It becomes part of the fabric of our life experience. We might move forward. We’re going to bring that experience though with us.
So, instead of telling her to get over it or telling her to move on, try to support her as she moves forward with the loss and with her grief because it will always be a part of her life experience. Most widows I know don’t really have fond memories of being told, “You’re so strong.” It seems like a compliment, but it’s very odd for the widow to be told she’s strong because she doesn’t see herself that way.
She sees that something has happened, and she’s dealing with it the best she can, and that maybe on the outside other people might see her as strong, but she just thinks she’s doing what anyone in her position would do, and she might not be feeling strong at all inside, but she doesn’t really perceive this as a choice. It’s a strange compliment to accept, so I would just avoid it.
Also, the difference between asking how are you doing versus how are you doing today is significant. How are you doing is a difficult question to answer because it’s like, “How am I doing as it relates to what?” It’s like, “I’m doing the best job I can do. I’m terrible. I’m sad all the time. I’m crying and trying to not let anybody know that I’m crying. I’m secretly thinking like, ‘My best days are behind me.’ I’m totally miserable. I’m feeling guilty because I laughed yesterday.’”
There’s so many answers to that question, and none of them feel accurate, appropriate. It’s just an awkward question to answer. How are you doing today is a much easier question for her to answer because that is a small window of time, and she can tell you how she’s doing today. But how are you doing in general?
There’s a great podcast called Terrible, Thanks for Asking. That’s probably the best answer to that question. Terrible, Thanks for Asking, but she’s never going to tell you that. She’s more than likely going to just say, “Fine or good, all things considered,” and it will very awkward and phony to her.
Also, please don’t corner her and ask her, “How are you really doing?” That’s not fun at all. How are you really doing? It feels very prying and very uncomfortable to her to be asked that question. So, just, “Hey, how you doing today?” It’s a much better way to approach it.
Most of us really want to support someone who’s grieving, and so sometimes we think that comparing a similar grief experience or a grief experience we’ve had will help us find common ground. I would avoid that. When you compare your loss to hers, maybe it’s divorce or loss of a parent. Typically, that’s not received as well as you intend it to be.
Usually, what’s happening in her mind is, “It’s not the same. You don’t understand. This is awful.” Of course, when we’re the one in grief, it’s hard to see anybody else’s grief experience as relevant to ours. So, I know that you mean it well, and that your heart is in the right place, but comparing grief just typically isn’t helpful. So, “This must be really hard for you,” is a fair statement. But, “I remember when my mom died,” or, “I remember when I got a divorce,” avoid that.
Another term that a lot of widowed moms that I’ve worked with and talked to really don’t appreciate is the term single parent, and the reason for that is that they didn’t choose to parent by themselves. It wasn’t a choice that they made. Solo parenting tends to be the preferred term. Again, it’s different for every person, but this is something that’s come up in a lot of conversations that I’ve had.
It’s not as though there’s another parent somewhere else that exists in the world that she can call for help or that she can discuss things with. She can’t tag out when she’s tired. It’s just her. She’s doing it solo, and she’s not looking for pity, but she’s probably thinking that no one understands her, and to be told that you are a single parent when you identify as a solo parent can sometimes get under her skin a little bit.
By the way, there are of these items on my list, so let’s do number nine. Unless she asks, I would suggest you keep your opinions about her life choices to yourself. All the decisions about parenting, all the decisions that she used to share with her spouse are now all on her, and chances are she’s putting a lot of pressure on herself to get it all right.
So, keep your opinions about her parenting, dating, what she’s doing with her wedding ring, whether she’s wearing it or not, how she’s spending her money, her investments, just her choices in general, keep them to yourself unless she explicitly asks you for your advice.
If she wants your advice, she’ll probably ask for it. If she hasn’t explicitly asked you, she probably doesn’t want it. So, approach with caution. She’s already doubting her choices most likely, and your unsolicited opinion isn’t really very helpful. I know you probably would mean it to be helpful, but just give her some breathing space and know that if she wants your opinion, she’ll probably ask you for it.
Number 10. Looks can be deceiving. She might look from the outside like she’s doing very well. She might look like she’s doing great. You might think, “Man, she’s got it all together. She’s juggling all the things. She’s so strong. She’s handling it so well,” and a lot of other people would agree with you, but if I had a nickel for every widow who told me that other people were telling her she was strong, when she didn’t feel strong, that she was doing amazing, when she didn’t feel amazing, you get the point.
It can seem like she has a very tough exterior, but really, what’s probably going on underneath that tough exterior is a wide variety of very big feelings, including but not limited to, sadness, loneliness, anger, guilt, regret, fear, anxiety, worry, hollowness, doubt, uncertainty, and some happiness and some laughter. But lots of feelings, even though from the outside she looks like a superhero, all those feelings are normal, and they’re very unpredictable for her.
So, don’t make assumptions that just because she looks like she’s doing great, that she feels like she’s doing great because often how we look and how we feel are very, very different. It’s okay to ask her how she’s feeling and ask her if she wants to talk about anything, but don’t just abandon her because she looks like she’s doing well. She might need you more than she thinks.
Number 11. She might have been very confident prior to this loss, and now, she might seem less confident than you’ve ever seen her before, and that might surprise you. Oftentimes, we have no idea how much of our self-belief and our self-confidence came from our relationship or our partner’s belief about us.
So, now that he’s gone, she might be faced with self-doubt on a level that she’s not known before, at least maybe not in her adult life, depending on how long they were together. This doesn’t mean she’s done anything wrong. It doesn’t mean anything about her future potential. It just means that she’s going through an identity shift, and she’s going to need to redefine some of what used to be just foundational beliefs that she took for granted.
She may now really doubt some of her capabilities. She may doubt her potential, her capacity. She may doubt her spirituality. She’s re-evaluating a lot of things that before she never really had to think about. She might be questioning the dreams that she used to have, especially the dreams that she shared with her husband. She might be questioning the reasons that she’s on the planet. She’s probably questioning her career, all the things that she values.
The death of a spouse shakes everything up, and there’s no area of life that’s unaffected. Nothing feels normal, and that includes self-confidence, self-belief. So, don’t be overly alarmed if she doesn’t seem like herself at all because she doesn’t feel like herself at all, and she’s going to have to potentially go through re-examining and redefining her identity for herself and figuring out who she is now, who she wants to be going forward.
Number 12. We use a few terms for this. Grief waves, also known as grief bombs, grief storms, grief tsunamis. Sometimes they come out of nowhere. We can’t predict them, and we can be completely caught off guard by them. So, if they happen in your presence, do not panic.
Again, emotions aren’t problems to be fixed. They’re just emotions. Nobody needs you to fix them. It’s not your responsibility. You couldn’t do it even if you tried, and she probably doesn’t want pity. She probably just wants to know that you love her and that you’re there for her.
Believe it or not, she can be emoting all over the place and still moving forward. Having strong emotions doesn’t mean she’s not making progress. Actually, it can mean the opposite. Sometimes when we’ve repressed the strong emotions, and we try to bury them, or pretend they’re not there, or cover them up with a substance, that stalls our healing versus actually letting them come to the surface and processing them, and that can be useful and helpful.
So, she’s going to have to feel her feelings, and she’s going to have to keep going, but if you’re a witness to a grief wave, or grief storm, or a grief bomb, don’t panic. It’s okay. It’s not your fault. You don’t have to fix it. Just to be there with her. Just love her.
Number 13. Evenings and weekends are often the worst. This isn’t universal, but what I have seen most often is that daytime routines keep her busy, and then comes the nighttime. The time after the kids go to bed. If she has young children at home, that’s the time most likely that he used to be with her, and that’s often the time when she might feel the loneliest.
Also, the weekends. There were times where they did things as a family or they did things together as a couple. This is when most of my clients tell me that they are the loneliest and that they struggle the most. This is often when the buffering behaviors come out. So, this is when she might be more inclined to reach for the wine, more inclined to shop, more inclined to go to the pantry and try to find some relief there.
Again, not problems for you to fix, just something for you to be aware of. Maybe if you’re inviting her to do something or you’re planning some time together, maybe an evening or a weekend might be useful because that might be a time where she’s used to just being home alone, and maybe you go over there and you offer to just hang out and chat during some of those rougher times.
Number 13. Death-aversaries, holidays, and other special days can be really rough, and sometimes she might not see that coming. So, just be aware of that. Sometimes she might think it’s going to be no big deal, and then find out that she’s struggling so much more than she thought she would. Or it can be the complete opposite.
Sometimes she might think it’s going to be really awful, and then find out that it wasn’t as emotional as she thought it would be, and that’s okay too. It’s hard to relate unless you’ve been there, but sometimes she might judge herself for not feeling as upset as she thought she was supposed to feel, and she’ll tell herself that she’s doing it wrong.
So, lots of emotions, whether or not it’s harder or easier than she thought. Lots of emotions around death-aversaries, holidays, other special days. Please don’t put any pressure on her. Please don’t judge her for this. Please just let her figure out what she wants to do.
If she wants to do something totally different for a holiday, maybe she wants to take her kids and go on a trip and not do the same family tradition. Maybe she’s just not up for that. Let her do that. Don’t give her a hard time. Please don’t think that if she’s not up to the same tradition that your family is used to, that there’s something wrong with her or that she’s not healing well.
She’s going to know what she needs, and it’s so helpful when those who love us just let us be who we are and figure this out. One holiday might be completely different from the next, and from the next, and from the next, but that’s okay. We’re going to figure it out. We’re going to get there, and just notice that you might want to judge her and make how she wants to handle a holiday mean something, and try not to. All right?
Number 15. The last thing I want to offer to you is just a way for you to think about your role in her life. If your only job as her friend, as her family member, as someone who loves her was to love her, and your only job was to feel love for her, how would that guide the way that you show up for her? If you weren’t trying to fix it, if you weren’t trying to make it better, if you weren’t trying to move her forward, if you didn’t believe that she should be somewhere else in her life, and it’s your job to show her how to get there, if you really sincerely believed that your only job was to love her, how would you be with her?
That, I think, is the most useful space for someone in her village to occupy. Just decide, “My only job is to love her, and what does that look like? How can I love her?” She’s not damaged goods. She’s just someone in grief. She’s not lost her ability to make decisions. She’s not lost her ability to parent.
She’s just hurting, and I promise you that when you take the pressure off of yourself, when you recognize that her emotions are not problems, that they aren’t things that you can or should fix, that you really aren’t able to make it better, and you can just bear witness to what she’s going through and love her, be by her side as she goes through it, it will feel so much better to her and it will feel so much better to you. That’s really all you need to do, is just love her.
If someone sent you to this episode, I encourage you to go back to her and ask her if she’d like to have a conversation about it. Ask her what was really accurate for her in this episode. Ask her what wasn’t so accurate. Ask her what was it that should have been in this episode that wasn’t. What was it that she really wanted you to take from this episode? Let that lead to a loving conversation.
Because if someone pointed you to this episode, it’s because she loves you, and it’s probably because some of this stuff can be hard to talk about, and she wouldn’t have sent you here if she didn’t believe that you loved her, and she wouldn’t have sent you here if she didn’t value the relationship. So, I hope that this episode gives you just a little bit of a window into what she might be going through. More than that, I hope that it lays the foundation for a more open, honest, transparent, supportive, and loving relationship because that’s what everybody wants.
All right. Hope this was useful to you, and hey, if you haven’t yet applied to come and work with me, and you are a widow, and you are a mom, and you really want transformation. Now, it’s not cheap. I’m not going to lie. This is why I offer so many free resources like this podcast.
Coaching with me, it’s an investment in yourself, but it’s something that will change your whole life, and something that will change the trajectory of future, and I feel very passionately about the work that I do. If it’s something that you’re interested in, then go to coachingwithkrista.com and click request a consultation. That will take you to a brief questionnaire. You fill it out, and we’ll see if it looks like coaching is a good fit.
If it does look like it’s a good fit, we’ll hop on the phone, and then we’ll talk and see if it really is what you need. Sometimes it is, sometimes it isn’t, but you have nothing to lose in requesting a consult. All right? Hope this was helpful. Love you so much. Everybody have an amazing week. I love you, and you’ve got this. Take care. Bye-bye.
Ready to start building a future you can actually look forward to? Get a free copy of Krista’s Love Your Life Again Game Plan, and learn her three-step process so you can stop feeling stuck and start creating your next great chapter. No matter what you’ve been through, your past does not have to define what’s possible in your future.
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