Touched by loss. Empowered through community.

Find Your Tribe

Monday, November 6, 2017
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Find Your Tribe

Being widowed can be a lonely, isolating experience. Very often, with the loss of a partner, what follows is a loss of identity, friendships, and socialization.  It can be difficult to feel like you belong anywhere. You might feel left out with married couples, you might feel out of place with all your old friends who don’t understand what you are going through as you navigate being widowed, and you might not feel up to trying to socialize or meet new people.

Over the years, I have been fortunate enough to meet people who have grown to be very important to me post loss.  I attended a widow grief group, and made friends who, nine years later, are still in my life, and some of the closest friendships I currently have. We went out socially, we supported each other emotionally, we laughed and cried all in the same night, and for the first time since my husband died, I didn’t feel like an outcast or a freak show. I felt like I was in a safe place where I could speak freely without worrying what I said or how I said it.

I found a support group for young widows with children. I shared my concerns about parenting, about how my children were coping, and about the challenges of being a solo parent shouldering the burdens alone. They understood the duality of important days like First Communion or Graduation in my child’s life, days filled with joy and yet immense sadness.

I joined a virtual online weight loss challenge started by a widow, and met people who were on a similar health journey. We had common goals, and worked toward being healthier, stronger and better. Sharing time with people who challenged me and made me change in a positive way was good for both my physical and emotional well-being. Even though I’ve never met most of these women in person (I have managed to meet a few local ones), I speak to many of them daily or weekly, and consider their friendships some of the most meaningful I have in my life.

Finding others you can identify with can help you climb out of dark and isolated places. Feeling understood, accepted and loved is an important part of healing. Do what you can to seek out the company of people who can lift you up, hold your hand, laugh with you, and maybe even kick your butt when you need them too. Become part of something bigger than yourself. Find your tribe. Lean on them, be there for them, walk with them. There is strength in numbers, and you don’t have to be alone.


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