Unfortunately, there’s no guide book for grief. Everyone is different, and no two people will experience grieving in the same way. From numbness to anger, from disbelief to guilt, there’s no set pattern to the grieving process, especially when you’ve been widowed at a young age. You might find you have difficulty sleeping or you might lose your appetite, particularly in the first weeks and months after your partner has died. You might feel like withdrawing from friends and family, or you might feel that life has lost its meaning. After you’ve been widowed, your emotions can be so changeable, intense or irrational that you might feel like you are going crazy. Believe it or not, this is completely normal...
Most professionals will tell you that there is absolutely no ‘right’ or ‘wrong’ way to grieve. There is no set order and no ‘normal’ timetable. Some people feel ready to face the world again after just a few weeks or months. For others, it can take much longer to feel ‘normal’ again.
For many people joining WAY, it’s a relief to know that we’re not alone in the range of emotions and practical challenges we’re facing. If we’ve had a bad day, we can rant about it on WAY’s closed Facebook group – and other members will respond with a word of advice or a virtual hug.
Or we can go along to local WAY events to meet up with people who understand exactly what we’re going through. WAY offers a lifeline for young widows and widowers who often feel isolated and lonely after their partner dies. And for many members who aren’t ready to face social occasions yet or who have kids tucked up in bed, it’s a comfort to know that you can turn your computer on at the end of the day and connect to a community of people who can help you through the grieving process.
“Just knowing there are others who really understand how you feel and truly want to know how you are makes getting through the day just a bit easier. Knowing I could log on and sound off without people thinking I was crazy or too dramatic helped and still helps immensely. It feels like a safety net, there if and when you need it.”- Samantha
What’s different about being widowed young?
The stereotype of a “widow” or “widower” is someone in their seventies or eighties. However, the sad reality is that more than 142,000 men and women in the UK are widowed under the age of 50.
Losing someone you love is difficult at any age. And if your partner dies young, the loss can be difficult to cope with in many different ways. Not only do you have the pain of bereavement to cope with, but also you have been robbed of a future you were planning to share together. And you are most probably facing a huge array of practical challenges too – from raising children alone to simply paying the household bills.
“WAY is a lifeline – it helps you make sense out of the insanity that is the situation of being widowed at a time in life you should only be planning a future.”
Drawing on the experiences gathered from WAY members over the past 18 years, we have compiled some practical tips to help young widows and widowers navigate the first few weeks, months and years after their partner has died. Whether you’ve been widowed yourself, or whether you’re supporting someone who’s been widowed at a young age, we hope you’ll find it useful: