A huge part of the grieving process is answering the question who am I now?
When your spouse was alive, you experienced life in a linear fashion, with clear titles and beliefs about who you were. You had the beloved title of wife or husband.
After my husband died I lost my favorite title of wife and it was terrifying. My frame of reference for the world was gone. I wondered, who am I, and what does the new Julie look like? I discovered It involved imagining a new future.
Who you are now requires you to release your past even as you also honor it, remember it, and cherish it. You actually have two new questions to consider.
1. Who are you now?
2. What is your new purpose?
Find your beliefs and you’ll find your purpose. Find your purpose and you’ll find your future. Then you’ll be able to answer the question, “Who am I now?”
Julie Martella, Navigating Widowhood
Teresa Beshwate, the Sudden Widow Coach and author of the book, Life Reconstructed, teaches the practice of creating a belief plan. A belief plan is a list of things you can believe are true about you and for you in your life. They can help you create a sense of who you are in life after loss. Here are a few beliefs from my plan to get you started.
- I believe I’m exactly where I’m supposed to be, even if I don’t understand.
- I believe tomorrow will be better
- I believe my spouse is watching me from above/ is in a better place
- I believe I have the skills I need to be successful.
- I I believe I am dedicated to my children
- I believe I am someone who likes to travel
- I believe I can help other women.
- I believe I am learning to be my best new self.
Amy Florian, an author and young widow herself, shared the advice a friend gave her following the death of her husband, John. She also struggled with fears of her future.
“Amy, your future wasn’t wiped out. Johns’ was, at least here on earth. You still have a future, it’s just going to be very different that you thought.”
You have a future, as hard as it may be to imagine. It’s going to look very different that you thought, but it’s waiting for you. You, dear one, just need the courage to find it and to find your place in it. While that can be terrifying, consider for a moment the possibility that it may also be a tiny bit exciting.
I’m still a mother, a daughter, a dog owner, and an unintended farmer, but I’m also so much more. I’m all of the things in my belief plan, and that plan inspires me to feel that I am also a women with a future, and one who desires to serve other women. I may not know where the road will take me, but I’m willing to follow the breadcrumbs.
And that’s enough for now.
Wishing you all the love,
P.S. If you struggle with finding your purpose, your future, or answering the hard questions I can help. I offer a program called Navigating Widowhood where together we explore those topics and more. You can reach out any time.