If I were to compare my own journey with others during our healing process they would vary in some way. You might have a mother that lost a son, a sister whom lost a little brother, a son that lost his father and a wife that lost her husband. Each of these people will be impacted differently. They can be impacted by what role their loved one played in their life story:
- A mother who gave birth to her son who is not supposed to die before she does
- A sister who grew up with her brother and was at his side through many accomplishments; you might say they were best friends
- A son who relied on his father to protect and comfort him
- A wife who made those sacred vows with her husband and made so many plans together
All of these individuals will have their own personal struggles, but will definitely have one thing in common and that is the loss of their loved one, the fact that they will miss the presence of them and will have a long journey of healing.
As a widow, I thought as I was meeting other widows during their journey that we would have experienced our healing the same way. The fact is: we don’t! During my journey, I have met many other widows, and each widow went through her own individual process of healing. We will likely experience some of the same things, but not every thought, feeling, or experience will be the same.
There are so many factors that will affect the way a person heals. I noticed things that, I believe, have affected the way in which someone has healed or is healing. If they have children, that can impact the process. The widow/er will need to be a mother or father to the children as each of them is healing. Maybe a spouse died before the couple could have a child; then the spouse left behind must deal with the fact that they will never have a child with their spouse.
How the last moments were spent with their spouse alive, as well as the marriage overall, impacts the healing process. The couple’s financial status can have a very big impact on how a widow manages through the process. Other factors that will impact healing are how well you get along with your in-laws, friends that you have and the overall support of the people around you.
Another thing will be how the person died. You may not think that it could play that big of a role in the healing process, but it does. What if the person left one night and did not return or you might have watched your spouse suffer from an illness before dying? Maybe they were murdered or they could have taken their own life. These instances bring different questions and trauma with them.
In the end, after you watch your spouse’s casket being carried away, you realize that you are left alone; without the person you had dreams with, the person who was a part of your everyday life, the person who brought you purpose, the person you love. This is when your journey of healing begins. The one where you will meet many crossroads and where you will have to choose a path. Choosing your path is difficult; the whole healing process is difficult. There is nothing easy about it.
This trauma brings you to your most vulnerable raw state as a person. The people around you will really get to know the person you are and watch you transform as you walk the journey of healing.