Along the Path of Widowhood
The cornerstone of my training as a doula comes from Birthing From Within, a process of childbirth education that originated from Pam England’s book, Birthing From Within: An Extraordinary Method of Childbirth Preparation.
A few years into my training, I learned a process called Solution-Focused Dialogue. After a year’s practice with colleagues, I learned to think in terms of solutions with my clients, rather than getting lost in the problem.
The “unknown” factor in the birthing process can be anxiety inducing. What is the path I will be asked to take to meet my baby? What challenges will I have to overcome along the way?
Some clients arrive with trauma from a previous birth. Over the years I’ve found that speaking with clients about their birth with a Solution-Focused Mindset (SFM) is a game changer.
Fast-forward to life now. I am a widow.
IMHO Widowhood is a giant problem.
Still, I wonder if I can apply some of the concepts of Solution-Focused Mindset (SFM) to help me manage the ups and downs of grief.
The quotes here are from PsycheCentral
SF Concept #1: There are Always Exceptions to the Problem
People are sort of like bicycle chains. They typically work just fine. Sometimes, however, they get a bit stuck or off track. In such cases, one may need a minor adjustment to get back on a natural course.
In my life: Okay. This feels like an attitude adjustment best used when the overwhelm starts to take me down. The area this might help is the home maintenance that is now mine. Case in point: I did successfully install a lock on my bedroom door without help. And I hung a broom holder using the battery operated drill! Thinking about these “exceptions to my overwhelm” feels like a small step toward confidence.
SF Concept #2: Small Changes Lead to Big Results
Consider how difficult it is when procrastinating at doing a tedious task such as doing laundry or paying bills. When a person initiates the activity, this often leads to progress and one often finds it easier to stay in motion and proceed with the activity.
In my life: Yes. It does help to take small steps. This happens so often in writing this blog, especially when I don’t know what I’ll write. The small step here is “just start!” Taking that small step without judging myself helps me to move past my “stuck-ness.” This is true for other less fun things, too, like laundry or bills. Taking one small step is the concept in SFM that I use most often in daily life.
SF Concept #3: Many Roads Lead to Solutions
[A related idea based in solution-focused mindset] encourages people to set goals that are SMART: Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant, and Time-measured. To set a specific goal, imagine a video description that provides an accurate mental image of the goal being met.
In my life: I’m taking this one as “homework” since imagining in my mind something I am “birthing” into the world is a go-to for me. Also, think of it … SMART goals might be useful in breaking down the overwhelm feelings I get with home repairs and upkeep, taxes and bills, and other things that I am on my own in managing. There may well be a better way to sort the areas that are constant problems for me.
And . . .
Beyond our best efforts to survive, there is still a path of grief to travel.
And we all know that grief sucks.
No matter how many good ideas come our way, the grief of widowhood will still have its way with us. It’s a fact: the only way through is through. Ideas such as those mentioned here are great, but this quote by Soaring Spirits’ Founder, Michele Neff Hernandez, leaves us with the excellent advice to be “kind to yourself.”
Every grieving person has to make space for grief and the pain that accompanies missing the physical presence of a person you love. There is no way to “get over it” or “move on” no matter how many people suggest you should. Grief needs time, attention and space to exist before healing can begin. My best advice to anyone grieving the death of someone they love is to be as kind to yourself as you would be to your best friend if they were living through the same experience.
–Michele Neff Hernandez
So let us be kind to ourselves as we rebuild our future.