I am in my 5th week of an 8 week bereavement group. We meet one evening each week for an hour and a half. My group is made up of 12 women who have lost their husbands in the past year. We are all similar in age which is helpful and there is one facilitator. The first week was the hardest. Everyone tells their story and there are lots of tears. Some deaths were sudden and some were long sicknesses. However, we are all similar in so many ways dealing with coping after this loss.
So I was reading over some handouts this morning and I checked off many of the suggestions for coping with grief. I thought I would write a blog about some of the things I did to see if it helps anyone reading this and maybe other people could post some additional suggestions.
Yoga – that’s been helpful at times for centering my thoughts and feeling good. Of course the time I was the only one in the class, and the male teacher had me close my eyes, and then sang to me while playing the guitar was a bit weird, but most of the time I like yoga.
Meditation – I’m not that “good” at it so I find guided meditations on the you tube app of my phone and listen to them. I especially like listening to Jason Stevenson’s guided imagery.
Acupuncture – This has really helped me with relaxing and relieving stress.
Connect with others – I have kept myself busy with friends this past year. I work during the day and meet with colleagues regularly about work and for lunch. I started playing bridge each week with some neighbors, took a mahjong class at the library, attended 2 book club meetings each month, and hang out with neighbors on the weekends.
Travel (plan a distraction) – I planned many trips this past year: Florida, Mississippi, Tennessee, A Christmas cruise to Mexico, Honduras and Belize, Mike’s birthday in Cape Cod, New Hampshire, Easter in Colorado, South Carolina, Anniversary in Thailand, Ithaca NY, and am planning to head to Atlantic City in about 2 hours for a long weekend. And that was just this past year.
Therapy – I saw an individual grief therapist and did EMDR. I saw another therapist as well. Now I am trying the bereavement group.
Get a puppy – Harry is so cute and keeps me company. He is so happy to see me when I come home and snuggles in bed with me.
Shop- Yes, I have done some shopping on line and enjoy getting packages delivered. I am wearing better clothes than I have in years and it does make me feel better to look nice.
Have a reading from a Psychic Medium – I felt this to be very comforting. I have had several readings and the messages and details that they were able to provide me with made me feel that Mike is still here in spirit and I have come to look for and notice signs that he is still with me.
Walk – taking walks gives me exercise which always makes me feel better and sometimes I talk to Mike and imagine what advice he would give me.
Start a new tradition in my loved one’s memory – I decided to honor his memory on his birthday, the 4th of July, by celebrating his life with family, remembering good times and eating ice cream. On the anniversary of his death, I will make a donation to a charity in his name like I did this past August to Destiny Rescue.
Read about Grief – I searched so hard in the beginning to learn how to cope. I needed to listen and learn from other people’s grief. Although friends and family were supportive, it was important to not feel so alone on this path. Many people have lost a spouse and it is not a fun club to be in.
Work – It gets me out of bed. Also a good distraction and at times fun.
So these are some of the more positive actions that I took to cope this past year. Would love to hear any other suggestions. I am moving into year 2 and will probably need to find some new ideas.