BW 073 : Navigating Challenges: A Widower's Journey in Parenting After Loss

widow interview Dec 19, 2023
 

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The Transcript is below.


Content warning: brain aneurysm., BPD. Death

 

In this heartfelt episode, meet Aaron, a resilient widower who has faced numerous challenges while caring for his children. Aaron's life took an unexpected turn when he tragically lost his wife to a sudden brain aneurysm. Join us as Aaron shares his journey, highlighting the difficulties encountered and the strength found in the face of adversity. Discover the profound impact of fatherhood amidst grief and how Aaron navigates the challenges of parenting after the heartbreaking loss of his beloved spouse.

Meet Aaron, a resilient widower who has faced numerous challenges while caring for his children. His journey took an unexpected turn when he tragically lost his wife to a sudden brain aneurysm. Join us as Aaron shares his poignant story of resilience, fatherhood, and navigating the complexities of life after the devastating loss of his spouse.

Join us as Aaron shares his journey, highlighting the difficulties encountered and the strength found in the face of adversity. Discover the profound impact of fatherhood amidst grief and how Aaron navigates the challenges of parenting after the heartbreaking loss of his beloved spouse.

Aaron recommends: 

  • Find support
  • I wouldn’t say Enjoy time , but take advantage of the shock.

Quote 

''And I would say that to anybody who's going through this, uh, same experience, uh, right now as well and don't let other people tell you how you should grieve. Only you will know how you can grieve while going through it. Like you said earlier, you know, you wouldn't think you'd do certain things when you're just casually talking about it with your partner, uh, leading up to a moment like this.

Uh, but after it's happened, you'll learn a lot more about yourself. Uh, but you can't expect that that's gonna be the way it works for everybody.''

''I would say, you know what, in a weird way, I wouldn't say enjoy this time, but take advantage of the shock,  um, because you don't feel it all in that first moment. Use that time if you can, um, to get stuff done.  Pack things away, or, you know, maybe move things around if you need to, um, because in another month or two after, you're probably not going to have the motivation to do it then

I'm not going to lie and say it gets better. It's up and down.''

 ''this isn't something you get over

It's something you get through''


The Brave Widow Community is a place where you can connect with other widows, find hope and healing, and begin to dream again for the future.  Learn more at bravewidow.com.  

 

 

Hey guys, I’m Emily Jones

 

I was widowed at age 37, one month shy of our 20 year wedding anniversary.  Nathan and I have four beautiful children together.  My world was turned completely upside down when I lost him.  With faith, community, and wisdom from others, I’ve been able to find hope, joy, and dream again for the future.  I want to help others do the same, too!

 

FOLLOW me on SOCIAL:

Twitter | @brave_widow

Instagram | @brave_widow

Facebook | https://www.facebook.com/bravewidow

YouTube | @bravewidow

 

____________________________________________________________________

 

The Brave Widow Community is a place where you can connect with other widows, find hope and healing, and begin to dream again for the future.  Learn more at bravewidow.com.  

Hey guys, I’m Emily Jones

I was widowed at age 37, one month shy of our 20 year wedding anniversary.  Nathan and I have four beautiful children together.  My world was turned completely upside down when I lost him.  With faith, community, and wisdom from others, I’ve been able to find hope, joy, and dream again for the future.  I want to help others do the same, too!

 

FOLLOW me on SOCIAL:

Twitter | @brave_widow

Instagram | @brave_widow

Facebook | https://www.facebook.com/bravewidow

YouTube | @bravewidow


Transcript: 

Audio
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Emily Jones: [00:00:00] Hey, and welcome to episode number 73 of the brave widow show. Well, If you are hearing this podcast on the date that it's published or very shortly after you still have time to join us for the widow winter solstice on December 21st from 6 PM to 8 PM central time.

It's almost Christmas time at the time that I'm recording this. And at the time that you'll hear it, and I would love for you to join me at the winter solstice event. We have activities, we have music, we have free giveaways. We have a panel of widows who are ready to answer some of your toughest questions and some of the biggest challenges that I see people struggling with.

So there'll be. Available to answer those for you. And we would love to have you join us. It's a hundred percent free to join. And the way that you can sign up is by going [00:01:00] to brave widow. com slash winter. All right. In today's episode, I talk with Aaron Belding about his story. So without further ado, let's jump in and hear from Aaron.

Emily Jones: Welcome to The Brave Widow Podcast. I'm your host, Emily Jones. We help young widows heal their heart, find hope, and dream again for the future.

Hey, hey, welcome back to another episode of the brave widow show today. I have a special guest with me, Aaron, and Aaron has had some unique challenges in his grief journey with him and his family. And I cannot wait for you to hear his story and some of the words that I know he has to share with you. So Aaron, thank you so much for coming on the show today and welcome.

Thank you for having me. [00:02:00] Absolutely. Well, I know our audience would love to know a bit about you, your background, and really your story. So, uh, if you don't mind, I would love for you to share that with them.

Aaron Belding: Absolutely. So, uh, today happens to be the five month mark, uh, since my wife, Tragically passed suddenly from a brain aneurysm.

There was no warning. We met just shy of about 14 years prior due to different circumstances in our lives. I had to go back to high school for one last credit that I'd held off with for about 23 years and gone to the work field. My wife at the time had just had a son. She was a single mother. She was going back to high school as well.

And we met at a place called the Lifetime Learning Center, basically an adult high school. I only had to go there for the one semester. She'd been there for [00:03:00] about a year and a half at this point. We met. We started hanging out a lot. She was initially trying to help me with a different girl, and then we ended up talking more, and then we ended up being the ones that, uh, got together.

And within a year, we were living together. Uh, it was her first place on her own. She was living with her family when we first met. I had already been out on my own, uh, for quite a while since. Uh, I had been out on my own after I was kicked out when I was 16, I was homeless, uh, for a little bit., around that time diagnosed, uh, bipolar type 2, and then go figure, uh, you know, fast forward all these years, year around April, my work, uh, was returning to office post COVID life, uh, for someone like myself, this was extremely challenging on its own.

Right? And they got to a point where I realized I needed. Therapy, uh, and then I became self aware of something called Borderline [00:04:00] Personality Disorder, BPD. Which is a challenge, again, all in its own right. Especially when six months later, I go through probably one of the worst traumas of my life, suddenly losing my wife and now, um, being left as a single dad, uh, to my 15 year old stepson, and my 7 year old daughter.

Emily Jones: Yeah, that's, um, quite the journey that you took us on there and sometimes I think it helps learning a diagnosis and learning, you know, how to help manage some of those challenges, but then there also comes. It's own, your own grief and acceptance of what that means for you for the future, whether it's therapy or medication or those types of things that you'll just have to manage going forward.

Learning more about yourself can be helpful, but it also brings kind of a grief and additional challenge, I think in its own right as well. Um, how was your wife? [00:05:00] Understanding of some of those challenges, you know, initially, as you, you guys were married and what was your relationship like?

Aaron Belding: I mean, it was fairly good overall, obviously, like any couple, we had our challenges, uh, from time to time.

You know, when I was much younger, I would have, uh, considered myself more of a, you know, hopeless romantic type, where as she was very much the opposite. Uh, but somehow we really, we really balanced each other out. And. Whether it be on the emotional side or even just the stuff around the house, you know, she took care of certain things.

I took care of certain things. You know, I dealt with certain issues. She dealt with certain issues and we balanced each other out and compliment each other quite nicely because of that.

Emily Jones: Yeah, that makes such a great partnership, I think, and maybe that's why opposites attract because you can kind of balance out the other person and pick up, you know, on their weaknesses, where maybe it's an area that you're strong in.

So for those of you who are not watching on video, I haven't asked [00:06:00] Aaron his age, but he is young. I would say he's a young widower and, uh, he has. You know, children that, uh, obviously are young when he lost his wife five months ago. So do you mind to share, um, with the audience, uh, how old your kids are and what that experience was like five months ago, as you shared with me, it was just completely unexpected.

Aaron Belding: Yes. So, uh, my stepson is 15. My daughter is seven. Uh, I myself in 37 and, uh, my wife passed on her 35th birthday. Like I said, it was very sudden, you know, the day before great mood we're having good conversation. Um, normally. I would usually immediately just kind of get to cooking dinner and getting stuffed up for winding down, but my wife was really excited.

She had recently gone back into her art and she's been attending craft shows and [00:07:00] she was asked to be a teacher at a community center around here for some of her fluid art and resin art and I decided to sit down with her while she showed me some of her new pieces. And around three o'clock the next morning, I think it was, she woke up with a very bad headache.

And within, you know, I still went to work, but I didn't think it was anything more than a flu. She was also prone to migraines. And I went to work and I got the call. She was rushed to the hospital. She had to be transferred to another one where they had a neurosurgeon on site where they didn't have one here.

And sure enough, shortly after I got to the hospital, I got the news that she had passed and we had to tell the kids, uh, thank you to the people at Hamilton general for having the child life specialist. There was 1 of the. Only a few times my daughter has actually cried through this [00:08:00] kids are surprisingly resilient through situations like this, um, which led to some more challenges, though, in the coming days ahead, because of how she passed, she was a prime organ donor and.

We thought we had a week left to be around her. Um, then we got the call on Mother's Day, that some girl needed her heart. Uh, so we rushed off and I had to have the talk with my daughter and I didn't have a child life specialist to help me out this time. Now it was just me and the kids, uh, and my seven year old daughter.

So I can't we just let that other person die so that we can have a few more days around mom. Oh, I don't wish that. Anybody having to have that conversation, but, you know, otherwise they've been pretty resilient through this whole thing. They even, uh, and I'm speaking at the funeral. Um, we didn't know what she had wanted, uh, you know, a priest or, you know, one of the [00:09:00] general speakers that you can hire through them.

I ended up thinking I was just going to be doing the eulogy and then I admit doing the whole service, and having different guests. Yeah. Come on. And originally, my daughter was just going to write something and her, second cousin was going to be the one that said it. Then she decided, no, no, no, I want to, to a packed, chapel, um, standing room only.

And so brave.

Emily Jones: Yeah, that's, that's absolutely incredible of your daughter. And, uh, I can't really even fathom how I would try to have that conversation of making a decision, for your, for your wife and for the heart that was needed for someone else. And then. Going through the next steps of hosting, you know, the, the funeral service and then the mixed emotions you must have felt seeing your daughter get up there and read something like that in front of an audience that she'd [00:10:00] written.

That's incredible.

Aaron Belding: Oh, yeah. She's an amazing little girl. I'll give her that and to remain so positive. And again, today is five months since and still just. Brightness coming from her every day.

Emily Jones: Yeah, that's, that's really incredible and kids navigating grief with kids is really hard because they do grieve so differently and they don't tend to stay in grief.

They come in and out of it, which makes it even more complicated. I think for us as parents, like, you know, how can you laugh and be joking around about something? And my kids really dove into more of the dark humor. So, uh, you know, it was. It's interesting even seeing how they grieve differently and how they handled it even compared to a typical adult.

So Exactly challenges of its own. After your wife passed, what was the support like for you? Did you have a [00:11:00] lot of friends and family that swooped in to help you or what did that look like?

Aaron Belding: Absolutely. And that was in and of itself its own shock to the system. And probably helped me get through that first month, uh, a little bit easier.

Um, so for those who don't know much about, uh, that BPD thing I mentioned earlier, uh, something we typically, uh, deal with is thinking that, you know, everybody hates us or, you know, we're fearful of abandonment, uh, and things of that nature and within a week or less of her passing, I already had people Outpouring, especially from my work.

And thankfully, uh, my work has its own policy. Uh, 4 weeks paid off, um, after that happened. And they've been very, uh, understanding, the thing since, uh, but anyways, uh, what I was getting at was next thing, you know, I have a coworker of mine started to go fund me. [00:12:00] And within a couple weeks, the amount was huge and then the kind messages and for someone who normally go through life thinking everyone does or is going to hate them or abandon them, to have everyone come forward like that was, it was the worst and I don't want to say best, uh, time, obviously, but, an awakening time.

For sure. Yeah,

Emily Jones: that really had to touch you at your core to see the way. I mean, first of all, kudos to your employer for giving four weeks paid off. I hardly ever hear or see that. I think most people might get a couple of days. So that was amazing. And then how people came in, they started the go fund me and probably shared a lot of sentiments with you of.

They wanted to help and they were going to be there to support you and so that must have been almost a very surreal moment of, [00:13:00] well, I thought everybody was going to forget about me. And then I have all this support now. Yeah, exactly. So we don't often hear, although I just talked to someone yesterday that also is a father of young children and a widower, but it's, I think it much more common for women are kind of dominating the widow space, unfortunately.

Um, so. But I'm always curious, you know, for men and fathers of young children who have lost their wife, if you feel like you've had any unique challenges or experiences or struggles that maybe, you know, as women, I don't. We maybe take for granted that we can take our kids to the park and sit there and watch them and nobody gives us a side eye or whatever it is.

There's always going to be a changing table in the bathroom. That kind of thing. Um, but have you felt like there's been any unique challenges or things that you've experienced as, as a father and widower?

Aaron Belding: Oh, definitely. Um, now I know the topic. I actually watched one of your videos on this [00:14:00] earlier. That came up very early on.

I think maybe the BPD comes into play here, but also I think the term is widow's fire. Um. You know, about a month, month and a half in, you know, I was still very much mourning, and grieving my wife. And at the same time, I just felt so lonely. Now I am generally more of a shy type on that area of my life.

So, you know, it's not like I was going to clubs or anything like that, especially not at my age. But I decided to dip a toe in. And, you know, signed up for dating apps, uh, you know, your tenders, your bumbles, your Facebook datings, uh, things of that nature, and it did not take long for especially even some of the people who were supportive in the beginning, mainly, usually friends of hers, um, were very judgmental of that aspect.

interestingly enough, a common thing that came up was, [00:15:00] well, what would the kids think? Do you think I'm telling my kids that I've signed up for dating apps? Or that I'm sharing that part of my life with them? Uh, absolutely not. That part of it made zero sense to me when they would come at me with things like that.

And I will definitely say, you know, there's times I wanted to dive right in to that. Life and then other times where I pulled back away and like, no, no, I'm definitely not ready yet. But that definitely has not stopped from certain people making their little comments on that. Same note. Another kind of a challenge.

I've dealt with. This one's been a little bit more recently, 1st and I think 1 of the kind of a major 1st that came up was back to school, not even real holiday, but that time of year. And my stepson's 15 now, you know, he, he doesn't want to stand there for a back to school picture, uh, before going out and catching the bus.

[00:16:00] Not to mention, you know, I'm doing the morning routine by myself now, and I had to get my little girl ready. And, you know, she's got to get her hair done and, um, things like that. And we had the new outfit we got for work. Um, so I got a chance to have a picture with her, did not with him and next thing you know, people are making their subtle little comments or sending me private messages of, oh, you know, where was his picture?

Or, uh, there was a big festival in our area. Uh, the Niagara area is very much known for, you know, grapes and wine. We have this big grape and wine festival that he had, uh, yeah. Birthday that he had planned with a friend of his for like the previous month and a half. Um, so, rather than just my daughter and I hanging around the house, we went to the parade, we went to the festival, took pictures, and posted them, and you know, then I'm getting other subtle messages on there like, Oh, I mean, I hope, uh, Adrian got to join in.

Or, sorry, my stepson got to join in.[00:17:00] You know, and do you think I'm just leaving him at the house? Like locked in his bedroom? No. Uh, if he wanted to, and I have invited him out for things like this, but he's a 15 year old boy, he wants to go hang out with his friends, uh, or, you know, the new girlfriend he's got now, uh, things of that nature.

And if that's what's helping him get through this, I'm not gonna force him, but yeah, again, people who have no idea what it's like to go through this. You know, pointing their fingers and making the little comments. It's, well, like I said that issue earlier, you know, you assume everyone hates you, then I'm proven wrong, and then I'm starting proven right again.

It's like, there's no winning here. There's just no winning here.

Emily Jones: No, and I always think about, you know, if you had I'm going to have 10 different opinions about how you need to handle things. And I always find it so interesting that some of the most opinionated and sometimes judgmental people are the ones who've never [00:18:00] gone through that.

And it's hard because before I was a widow. I'm sure I would have had thoughts and opinions about it too. Like, well, that may be weird. Or I can never imagine signing up for a dating app just a couple of months after my spouse died, but it's what I did. You

know,

but I think part of it too, is because so many people don't understand grief is about, and.

It's not about either, or it's not like, Oh, I'm grieving or I'm not. It's this big, complicated experience that we have. And, um, you know, you and I, neither one had dated for a long time after we got married. So it's like, what are these dating apps all about? And what kind of people are going to be on there and what kind of trauma they had.

And, you know, I think a lot of it's just curiosity in the beginning. So, um, yeah,

Aaron Belding: it's. It's frightening out there, I gotta say. That new [00:19:00] swipe left and right world. I mean, that was around 15 years ago, 14 years ago. And there's some interesting characters. Uh, I mean, there's this one person who I, uh, saw the profile and thought maybe, you know, they were posting Halloween pictures because it's a couple months away.

No, turns out they actually thought that they were a pirate. No, and, uh, I'm like, hi, how are you today? And they're like, ahoy, I'm alrighty, or something like that. I'm like, oh, there's more than a few red flags on your ship. Um. So then I learned what ghosting is.

Emily Jones: Yeah. Yeah. That could be a whole nother podcast series in itself.

Just dating, dating again and figuring out the apps and all that. That's just crazy. But yeah, I think that's just very natural for people to feel opinionated. And I think sometimes people also feel [00:20:00] like they need to worry about you. Like, Oh, this person's doing something that's too soon or that's going to hurt them, or I think I know.

Better or best, and, it could be well meaning even, but people just really are not educated about how to help somebody along on this journey.

Aaron Belding: Absolutely, and kind of another point I almost forgot about till just now when you were talking was, and this maybe is different for widows versus widowers, and that's many people do not want to come near in that way, uh, a young male widower, because again, you know, those preconceptions, uh, usually, uh, being a big part of it.

And I noticed it when I was talking to, uh, one girl, it was interesting enough, someone who I knew around the same time that I met my wife, they were another student at that school. I mentioned before and, you know, she didn't know what happened. We're just having a casual [00:21:00] conversation in the beginning. And then.

She asked the question. So whatever ended up happening to your wife, she thought we just maybe separated or something like that. And then I let her know, um, unfortunately, she passed a few months ago. And then you could see the mood change right away. And, you know, that kind of stereotypical person that you, you know, speak to when you're going through this.

They gave you the same platitudes, the same comments. It was like this great conversation I was having, this person was morphing into another one of them. And then that led me to start thinking, you know what, I've been very honest on those dating app profiles about being a widowed single dad. And I decided to kind of test a theory.

Where I edited my profiles, and I took the widowed part out, just to see if there would be a change, um, in behaviors, [00:22:00] numbers, what have you, and I'm afraid to say there was, uh, a major change, and of course, That being said, I'm not the type to keep things secret. Uh, oversharing is more my issue. Um, and so I would always let them know very early on in the conversation.

And then sure enough, that's when they would fade away at that point. And then at which point I updated all the profiles again to show Widow. And it gets like, alright, social experiment done. Um, back to honesty, right out the gate.

Emily Jones: Yeah, I, uh, actually did something similar, but almost opposite. So I had widowed on my profile and I felt like I was getting a lot more.

Scammer type people, a lot more people who thought they might be able to take advantage. Maybe you're like this sad little person. And I felt in the initial conversations with people that would always be like this big hurdle. So I ended up taking it off and I wouldn't [00:23:00] make it a big deal. You know, if somebody was like, Hey, so why are you on here?

What are you looking for? I would just tell it as part of my story, but I didn't linger there. You know, I would say, but, you know, now for me, it's been over two years. I'm in a really good place. I'm excited about the future again, you know, really. Lean into that a little bit more and I found that people then were like, oh, okay.

I didn't make it a big deal I felt like they weren't making it a big deal. But yeah when people see that on your profile I think it definitely causes concern and I think it takes a special person today. Somebody who's widowed. I think I have even considered that and I feel like it's could be intimidating, even though I understand and I get it, it's still a tricky, uh, situation to navigate.

And it takes someone who's extremely understanding. I think

Aaron Belding: absolutely, uh, that when I started realized that it was like, you know what? And some people even try to tell me, like, you [00:24:00] don't expect to get anything real. Right out of the gate, just go for simple, quick, short term fun. And I'm just like, you know what, after 14 years, uh, with someone that's a really hard life to want to try to go back to.

Once you've had real, you don't want, quick and easy, I guess.

Emily Jones: Yeah. Yeah. And I think some of it too is, you know, curiosity. Some of it is wanting to have someone to go do stuff with. Like I went to lots of places on my own. Concerts, uh, events, just things first of all, to get comfortable being by myself and those types of things.

But then also you have that feeling of, Oh, it'd be really nice if I had someone to consistently go with to say, Hey, let's go to this movie or let's go to this event or whatever it is. So, um, it's definitely understandable. I think why we look for that. You know, companionship, um, how has it been with your kids now, as they're getting back [00:25:00] into school and they're getting into somewhat of a new routine?

Do you feel like they're getting their feet underneath them in a way? Or has there been additional challenges there?

Aaron Belding: I mean, most of the challenges in that regard have. Probably more so been on my end adjusting again. They have been so resilient and strong. I think my stepson's biggest hurdle with the initial back to school was having to get up at an early hour again instead of, you know, getting up at 10 30 and playing games for the rest of the rest of the day.

Um, so there's some mood issues there. Definitely within the first week. There's been other events that have taken place since then as well, and somehow they've still managed to go through, the night, you know, a couple of friends of mine came over for dinner, um. My they leave we all had a good night And then we find out that their bunny that their mom bought them a few years earlier had just passed in the next room [00:26:00] Then you fast forward to about two and a half weeks ago Now me and him were not close.

Let me just preface that right out the gate But two weeks ago my father died Um, we hadn't spoken in about 15 years, but I still felt the need to kind of let them know, like, hey, listen, you know, obviously, you know why you never met this particular grandfather, but he did pass. It was a little bit scary, though, with my daughter, uh, in the beginning of telling her that, because she initially was starting to get, like, Teary eyed to a point that reminded her.

No, that's don't forget. You never met him. He was not a good man. And she's like, oh, right. Yep. It goes back to her back to her day. Like, it was nothing like you flip that on and off a little bit, uh, too quickly. Um, we're obviously trying to navigate, uh, you know, me being the sole, uh, kind of leader in the house, I guess, uh, and all trying to work [00:27:00] together.

Overall, though, they've been pretty good at that. Everyone kind of knows that they have to step up a little bit, especially my stepson. Uh, I can't manage a full house on my own, to some extent. I'm not having him work. I want to make sure he keeps offering to go get a job. And I'm like, no, your job right now is school.

Go do that. Um, but I mean, he's just started dating himself now. And then you got my little girl, uh, who's, you know, becoming more sociable and having her own social life with friends and I tell you, I try to raise a little girl without, uh, being one yourself and having one to lean on. I mean, already, I've had challenges of like.

How do I manage hair? I mean, uh, I was very, very lost uh, in the beginning there. And because they were still in school when everything first happened, they themselves were only on for about two and a half weeks. [00:28:00] Uh, what did she come back with? Um, after the first couple days? Oh no. Oh, yeah. Um, I had a major freak out over that, that was 150 later and I got sick of cleaning those bed sheets and I just went out and bought new ones.

They were Disney princesses, there was no complaints, but even just, you know, keeping hair straight, uh, and you know, when should we cut it? Very much lean on the fact that thankfully I have more female friends than male friends to be able to ask when it comes to that, you know, you can't always go to them and sometimes you're left with, how do I do this?

Emily Jones: Yeah. Yeah. And it might be good for her if one of your friends or a friend of the family could help kind of step in and, you know, just occasionally spend some one on one girl time together, um, and just maybe be kind of that big sister or aunt. Uh, type of role model for her. Um, I know there've been a couple of men that I [00:29:00] know that have stepped in at times to just help with, I have three boys, and then, then a girl.

And it's hard because even though I know we're in a hot, you know, gender role topic culturally, I think there are difference differences between a mom and a dad and, having those roles and those figures in your, your children's life. Is helpful and important, but it's hard when you want to be able to be both of those, but at the same time, you know, that's not really your strength or your wheelhouse and she, they still need that, that person in their life, even as just as a mentor.

Aaron Belding: Exactly. Exactly. And I've had a couple, especially good friends, uh, that have been for me for that. Uh, and for her. Um, but I know people's lives get busy, but this goes back to that BPD and also still grieving. And then next thing you know, it's like, Oh, I haven't heard them. from in a while, you know, are they still there?

And then sure enough, I [00:30:00] get proven wrong down the road eventually, but it can be challenging, uh, in the meantime, but at the end of the day, uh, I know that they will always be there for my daughter if I need them, uh, to be. So that's, oh yeah, it definitely helps.

Emily Jones: Oh, that's great. Well, five months out, uh, it's incredible that you're sitting here being willing to share your story and to talk about, you know, some of the challenges and things that you've been through.

What, what would you tell, um, other, you know, young widows and widowers who are just really still struggling and reeling, um, and certainly probably someday still feel like you're in survival mode. Uh, what words of encouragement or advice would you give them?

Aaron Belding: Early on, uh, when it's just happened, I would say, you know what, in a weird way, I wouldn't say enjoy this time, but take advantage of the shock, because you don't feel it all in that first moment. Use that time if you [00:31:00] can, um, to get stuff done. Pack things away, or, you know, maybe move things around if you need to, um, because in another month or two after, you're probably not going to have the motivation to do it then.

I'm not going to lie and say it gets better. It just changes and evolves and it's not linear. It's up and down. Uh, the day after it happened, my uncle, who not quite as young and didn't have the kid aspect because they were growing moved out, but his wife had passed. About 12 years back and he told me in the beginning, this isn't something you get over.

It's something you get through. Um, and I would say that to anybody who's going through this, uh, same experience, uh, right now as well and don't let other people tell you how you should grieve. Only you will know [00:32:00] how you can grieve while going through it. Like you said earlier, you know, you wouldn't think you'd do certain things when you're just casually talking about it with your partner, uh, leading up to a moment like this.

Uh, but after it's happened, you'll learn a lot more about yourself. Uh, but you can't expect that that's gonna be the way it works for everybody. Yeah,

Emily Jones: and, and I totally agree and people are going to have all kinds of different opinions. So don't get so caught up in what everybody else thinks, especially if they've not gone through anything near a similar experience.

So, um, being 2 years,

Aaron Belding: even similar. Yeah, sorry, even similar experiences, even because I did feel the need, like, I got to talk to people who get this to some extent. And I found a Facebook group for other widows and widowers, but it was a more general group on people. My age may not necessarily have the same challenges as someone in their 60s, 70s or 80s.[00:33:00]

And, you know, when I tried to share certain things that I was thinking about, such as some of the topics we've already discussed today, you know, A lot of people did not get very supportive in those groups. Luckily, I ended up finding another one. And this is some, maybe another piece of advice, you know, find the right group that fits for you.

And I found one for extremely young and widowed, um, only accepting, uh, people in their twenties and thirties. And I will say, I Was able to relate a lot more, even the cause of death, a lot more common, uh, in that group.

Emily Jones: Yeah, I think there's definitely unique challenges that young widows and widowers have.

And especially if you have kids at home or you have. Someone you're taking care of and at that age, you're grieving the future just as much as you are the past where someone in their 70s or 80s, they're grieving a lot of the past and [00:34:00] those things. And we're still trying to figure out, well. What is the rest of the story here?

What is my future going to look like? You know, I haven't even got to thinking about grandkids and all that other, other stuff yet. So it's just a unique, different set of challenges that I think is really helpful to hear from people like you and hear from other people that are in a similar situation. So that people know they're not alone and that if, if you can be resilient and you can get through this, then they can too.

Exactly. Well, Aaron, thank you so much for coming on the show today and sharing your story. I really

appreciate it.

Aaron Belding: Thank you for having me again.

Emily Jones: Hey guys. Thank you so much for listening to the Brave Widow Podcast. I would love to help you take your next step, whether that's healing your heart, finding hope, or achieving your dreams for the future.

Do you need a safe space to connect with other like-minded widows? Do you wish you [00:35:00] had how-tos for getting through the next steps in your journey, organizing your life or moving through grief? What about live calls where you get answers to your burning questions? The Brave Widow Membership Community is just what you need.

Inside you'll find courses to help guide you, a community of other widows to connect with, live coaching and q and a calls, and small group coaching where you can work on what matters most to you. Learn how to heal your heart, find hope, reclaim joy, and dream again for the future. It is possible. Head on over to brave widow.com to learn more.

 

BW 085: Widow's Heart: and Tale of Loss, Love, and Liberation

Feb 14, 2024

BW 085: Widow's Heart: and Tale of Loss, Love, and Liberation

Feb 14, 2024