BW 101: Navigating Father’s Day as a Widow: Tips, ideas, and Finding Hope

tips Jun 11, 2024



Navigating Father’s Day as a Widow: Tips, ideas, and Finding Hope 


In this special episode of The Brave Widow Show, I’m sharing an excerpt from a live call within the Brave Widow membership. It’s your sneak peek into our community, complete with replays and worksheets to help you along your journey.


We dive into ideas for getting through Father's Day and keeping your person’s spirit with you.


Also… I share advice on managing complex emotions like complicated grief, conflicting grief, and disenfranchised grief. Whether your loved one was difficult, struggled with addiction, or left you with mixed feelings, this episode is for you.


Watch the episode here:


Remember: you’re not alone. 


For more support, schedule a call with me by clicking here:


Let’s heal and grow together 💪✨



00:43 Navigating Father's Day and Holidays

01:07 Understanding Complicated and Disenfranchised Grief

02:44 Live Call Begins: Setting the Scene

03:12 Thought Work and Personal Breakthroughs

06:43 Ideas for Honoring Loved Ones on Father's Day

12:50 Travel and Healing: Personal Experiences

16:31 Creative Ways to Keep Their Spirit Alive

25:40 Tips for Managing Complex Grief

29:21 Finding Support and Self-Care

33:12 Setting Boundaries and Rebuilding Life

37:12 New Connections and Finding Purpose

40:49 Conclusion and Community Invitation





[00:00:00] Speaker 3: Hey, hey, and welcome to episode number 101 of The Brave Widow Show. Today's episode is going to be a little bit different. Today, I'm going to share with you an excerpt of a live call that I did within the BraveWidow membership community. A call that would be similar to one that you could join and that you would have access to via a replay and via worksheets that you can fill out.

This will give you the opportunity to see some of my teaching style some of the content I put together and to see how you might be able to use that and to implement it in your daily life.

Navigating Father's Day and Holidays

[00:00:39] Speaker 3: In this particular episode, I'm going to talk about specific ideas and tips for navigating Father's Day, for navigating really any holiday, but recognizing that Father's Day is one of those tougher ones.

And then towards the end, I'm also going to share tips for navigating grief when it feels different.

Understanding Complicated and Disenfranchised Grief

[00:01:02] Speaker 3: There are technical terms like complicated grief, conflicting grief, even just disenfranchised grief, which I didn't really know was a thing for a while. But, essentially, it's how to address when maybe society doesn't support you in grieving your person.

Yeah. Maybe your person was volatile. Maybe they were an addict. Maybe they had a gambling problem. Maybe they committed suicide. Maybe they did a variety of things. Maybe they were even abusive. Or maybe they were just a difficult person to live with. And so, when you hear other widows talk about their grief, and talk about how much they miss their person, and how they wish they could have them back, you find yourself not really resonating with that.

You find yourself thinking that Life is a little calmer now than it used to be. I talked to many of those widows who are afraid to say those words out loud, who think that they're the only ones that feel that way and who live with a lot of guilt and shame because they have all these mixed emotions around grief and and how they think about their person and their relationships.

So, The last half or so of this episode is going to be talking about some of the things that you can do to navigate that. So again, today is a little bit different. I hope that you enjoy it and I would love your feedback on what you think. Let's dive in.

[00:02:38] Emily: Welcome to the Brave Widow Show, where we help widows find hope, heal their heart, and dream again for the future. I'm your host, Emily Tanner. After losing my husband of 20 years, I didn't know how I could ever experience true joy and excitement again for the future. I eventually learned how to create a life I love, and I've made it my mission to help other widows do the same.

Join me and the Brave Widow membership community and get started today. Learn more at BraveWidow. com ​

Live Call Begins

[00:03:18] Speaker: Hello, brave widows. I am just giving everyone another minute or so to get logged in and get signed on. And while we wait for everybody to get in, you may notice. I'm in a different place. I'm not in my home office recording this. And there's actually a reason for that, that you might be interested in learning more about.

Thought Work and Personal Breakthroughs

[00:03:46] Speaker: But I have been doing a ton of thought work over, especially this past year and especially the past six months. So, I've been doing a ton of thought work and really challenging why I think things have to be a certain way or should be a certain way or just really even just questioning the limits that I have for myself.

And it's relevant that I'm in this different location because Um, this is an area where I feel like I've really had a lot of breakthroughs for myself and a lot of being willing to incorporate things in my life that I didn't realize I was so resistant to before. So, um, I did a survey not that long ago.

That talked about what days, you know, people wanted to attend on, um, the brave widow calls, which times are more convenient. And Friday was the second most popular day. Actually, Monday was the most popular day, which was surprising. But, um, I thought to myself, well, I can't really do Fridays because. Fridays is when I do everything else in my life, right?

Like, I'm currently at a location where we're flipping this rental from long term to more of a short term, like, Airbnb type situation. And so Fridays are typically when I'm focused on that, or I'm doing, you know, accounting stuff, or I'm doing all the other things that aren't very fun. In our life. And so I've always thought like, well, I can't do my calls with brave widow on Fridays.

I can't do coaching calls on Fridays because I'm also doing these other things. And so today, um, I I've just started questioning that more like, why can't I do both? Like, why can't I go do work for a couple hours there, incorporate a call, see how many people are able to attend. And Go back to doing whatever else I need to do.

So that's something I've been incorporating more in my coaching practice and I can't wait to start sharing with you guys. So, I'm also standing and I've never taught a class like this where I'm actually standing. So if I move around too much, then you'll have to let me know later. Hey, Sue! But yeah, I'm trying to incorporate more, like, not just sitting at my desk for eight to ten hours a day.

Incorporate being a little healthier. So, instead of saying, well, the only way I can get exercise is to leave my desk and go somewhere else or to go for a walk or to go to the gym, I'm trying to figure out how I can do both. How I can Be present on a Zoom call and be standing or doing something else so that I'm not just physically sitting down the whole time.

New Format and Worksheets

[00:06:38] Speaker: All right, so I am going to send out these worksheets. I recently started doing, when I was doing the dating series, I went from doing slides to doing more worksheets. So that way people, if they want to print them out, if they want to take notes, I don't know if you could do this on a PC, but I know With like Mac, you can actually click this little markup button and you can write your own notes.

You can fill out fields. You can do stuff on there. So this is like a new format I've been testing out to see how people like that, but it gives you the ability to print it out, take notes later, write on it whatever you want to do. .

Ideas for Honoring Loved Ones on Father's Day

[00:07:17] Speaker: So today I'm going to talk about ideas for Father's Day and how to keep your person's spirit alive and present with you. . And then, I also have some tips for people that have like conflicted grief or what they call disenfranchised grief, which would be society doesn't understand why you're grieving. Maybe your spouse was a mean person.

Maybe they were an addict. Maybe they were abusive. Maybe they just were volatile to be around, and so people don't really understand how you're missing that person, but you obviously still have lots of emotions around that. So I'm incorporating that, And may end up doing a full session on that just depending on the feedback from everybody. I'll also start by saying that however you want to recognize Father's Day or not is totally okay. Sometimes with major milestones and holidays, we like to keep the same traditions. We like to talk about it. We like to make them feel like they're here. Um, And other times it's like, I'd rather just take a trip, do something else, not make a big focus or big fuss about it.

And so if that's you, that's totally fine. You're not expected to make a big thing about these holidays or special events, if that's what you don't feel like doing. Make sure my phone is turned off here. Okay, so some ideas of keepsakes or things that you could do with physical items that they have. So you could wear something that they owned.

Nathan was a huge watch collector. He probably had, I don't know, 20 watches. He was always trading, buying. Bartering, like I'd always noticed he'd have one watch and then two months later I'd be like, where'd you get that one? He's like, oh, I sold this one to get that one. I'm like, okay. So that was always his thing, and he was always tinkering with like the watch bands.

And so I have like 50 different types of watchbands and like 10 of the same kind, but different colors. So. You might have something of theirs that you want to wear physically to feel like you're closer to that person. It might be their ring or their watch.

A lot of people will wear their spouse's ring or they'll have it made into, you know, a new ring or they'll combine rings to make something else. Uh, for me, I, I did a lot with my ring, I changed it to a necklace, I changed it back to a ring, I wore it on my right hand, I took it off, I wore it, I took it off.

I've been a lot of drama with me and my ring, okay? But, um, some people like to just like reinvent a whole new thing with the jewelry, so that's, you know, a cute idea. Um, but if you have a shirt that you like to wear or a bracelet or just something of theirs that you physically want to wear, um, that's always a nice way to feel closer to them.

You might do something like frame something that they've written or drawn or have something made with their handwriting on it. Sometimes people make jewelry. Sometimes, like, um, it's kind of the same idea of if your grandma had handwritten a recipe, then maybe you have that laser engraved on a piece of wood or like a cutting board or something in your kitchen.

Um, but you could do that with like a love note that they've left for you or a special message. You could put that On a shirt, you could engrave it on like a, a bracelet or a necklace or there's all kinds of things that you could do. Some people might even get a tattoo, um, you know, with their husband saying, I love you or something like that.

There's a lot of cool ways that now with technology, we can take something they've written in their handwriting and put it on something else. You could create a video collage. I love making videos. I even had a video collage at Nathan's funeral but I just love making like those little music videos with different video clips of them in there.

Nathan was just a super funny guy. So he had all these very random funny Facebook posts. And so I screenshotted a lot of those Facebook posts and put them in between the videos and that whole collage. So people are like laughing while they're watching it. It was a great way to just Like highlight how funny of a person he was.

Um, so you can, like, if you have an Apple phone, um, there's iMovie. And I think if you're a windows person, windows still has their movie maker, but it's pretty straightforward. It's not as hard at all as it used to be to create a video collage. And that might be something fun that you could do and share with family or share with your kids or, um, just have for yourself.

And I tend to put them out on YouTube just so at any point in the future it's not something that's lost that my kids couldn't go find. If something happened to me or four years from now they want to see it, like it would be out there. , you could create a shadow box. of items that they liked and so you could go to um, if you have like a craft store like a Hobby Lobby or Michaels or something, then they can help you if you take several items of things that they liked and help you pick out a frame and a shadow box and just like, have a little collection of things that they really liked and that can be something that you put together or you find or that you put together and have ready for Father's Day.

You can have a blanket with photos of them printed on it. Or I also love this idea of having like a quilt or a pillow or a stuffed animal with material from their shirts. Or like take their shirts and. cut them into different pieces and then actually make something that you can use on a normal basis, um, which I haven't done it yet.

I haven't taken the time to find someone to do that, but that is something that I eventually want to do and have some clothes set aside to do eventually or save them for our grandkids in the future too.

Travel and Healing

[00:13:24] Speaker: All right, so traveling, I found for me, travel was very helpful in the healing process, and I've done a mixture of Traveling to places that we loved together, and also traveling to places that he never would have gone or that he would have hated.

So it can be bittersweet going to a place that you both really loved. But I talk a lot about St. Augustine, Florida. And for whatever reason, I don't know if it's because there's so much history there, it was like, One of the city, I think the first fort was founded there in the 15 or 1600s.

Like it's one of the very earliest settlements, um, in the United States. And so there's so much just history there. I think it was probably the pirates that Nathan really blocked off the pirate stuff there, but it's a really just kind of cool place to go. So, um, we went there several times at different times of the year.

And so I took the kids it was on our anniversary a year after he had died. They had never gotten to go. It was always just. pretty much us. So I took the kids and I got to tell them like this was your, you know, one of our favorite restaurants. This is why we liked it. There's a pirate museum. You heard your dad talk about that.

And it was just really cool for them to almost get to learn more about Nathan or see a different side of Nathan. And experience those things while at the same time, um, getting to go on a new adventure. So yeah, there were like mixed emotions about that, but it also was really nice just to take them. And share those memories and, and those experiences.

I then later that year ended up going over to England. I met someone from there and I got the grand tour of London and some of the south parts of England. And it was one of those, like, I realized life is short. I always wanted to go to Europe. And, um, I finally just up and went. And it was just, An awesome, awesome trip and um, it was great just to experience something that didn't remind me of Nathan.

It wasn't a memory that we had shared together. It allowed my brain the ability to make new memories that didn't necessarily have him present for them. And I would catch myself going, Oh, I wish Nathan could have seen it. And then I would say, Oh, he would hate it here. There's like no air conditioning. He would have died in some of these shops.

It was so, he was so hot nature. Like you would have died. There's so many people like, let's be honest. He would be miserable here, but. Um, you know, that's something that you can do. And I know other people have done. And then one idea I thought was really cool. My kids and I actually found one. Um, but some people will like create a Facebook page or something about a traveling rock.

And it's like, the one we found was a rock that had an M and M painted on it. And it had the Facebook page on the back. And it basically said, you know, take the rock, put on Facebook, like where you found it and take it somewhere else. to a different state, to a whole different location, and put it where someone else can find it.

And it was just really cool to see like all these people and all these places this rock had traveled across the United States. We ended up finding ours in Albuquerque and brought it back to Arkansas and hid it. So, I think that's super cool idea that you could do.

Creating Keepsakes and Memories

[00:17:05] Speaker: Incorporating some of their favorite things.

Um, this is a great way for just really making it feel like they're still there and that you're engaging in some of their favorite things. It could be playing their favorite game. It could be you have a movie marathon day and you're just watching all of their favorite movies. It could be their favorite cologne or perfume.

It could be listening to a playlist of their favorite songs. That's one of the things that I'll do on Nathan's birthday is basically go out through the cemetery sit graveside and just listen to a playlist of all of his favorite songs, even though I don't like all of them. It just really reminds me of him.

It makes me feel like I did when we were in the car together and he always dominated the playlist., it could be finding a project that they had started and then they end up not getting it done. So that might be something that you want to finish, which would be cool. Um, and in Nathan's case, there would be several of those that I'd be able to pick from.

But mostly ones I don't know how to do. It's like, gun parts that were somewhat put together and I just put them in a box like I'm somebody will know what to do with this, not me. But there are a lot of things that you might, you know, choose to pick from. You might start picking up one of their favorite hobbies.

So in that example I did start Shooting more and getting more interested in that. And I also like learning more about watches and wearing different watches and all that. So, that's kind of a cool way. I know he's probably thinking like, well, now of all the times now you're interested, but, it's still a good way to.

You feel like you're engaging in something that they really like, you could think about some of their favorite sayings or something like a phrase that they're just always saying, or something like that. And you could put it on a t shirt or a mouse pad, or, you know, just have a collage of those things.

Like if they're so different things that they would say all the time, then you could have something that just reminds you of that, um, that brings back some good memories. You could go to a concert or a sports event that they like to go to. Um, so for my birthday, Um, we, it was right before, it was the year before COVID.

So it was 2019. And for my birthday, Breaking Benjamin, he had got me hooked on that band. It ended up becoming one of my favorite bands. And so, um, our anniversary and my birthday were like 10 days apart. So for like a combo gift, we got, um, tickets really up close to the front in Cincinnati to go see Breaking Benjamin.

And it was an amazing concert. And. While we were there, of course, we took a selfie of the two of us, and there were these guys that were sitting behind us, and they totally just, like, photobombed the picture, and were being goofy. So, of course, Nathan has to turn around and start talking to them, and they had their own band, and it's called Enemy, but it's spelled E N M Y.

And we were talking to them, and they're like, oh, if you like Breaking Benjamin, you're gonna love our band. And they were, you know, just getting started, and so, um, it was two guys. And we went to one of their very first shows there in Cincinnati. So like, that was a cool experience. He ended up becoming, um, friends on Facebook with one of the guys.

Um, after Nathan died, one of those two guys actually ended up dying as well. And so it was just a weird, very bittersweet experience, but the, um, band ENMY over this past year, they actually signed with an official record label, which was super cool. So it's just been like this surreal kind of awesome experience where, yeah, it was a great concert, but the meaning behind it is.

So much more than just attending that one concert. So whenever I go to Cincinnati, I try to see if any means got a show going on that I can go to because I think that's just really amazing. And I did go last summer around the same time. I think it was, July or August when my, around when my birthday would have been and saw Breaking Benjamin actually here in Arkansas.

And so it was just really cool. Like this whole, almost like coming full circle. I got a meet and greet with them, um, where I got to see them in the hotel. We got, um, to take a picture with the band. Like it was just a really cool, um, experience. So whether or not I continue to like their music won't matter, even though I do.

But I think it'll just be one of those things that just always has great memories and threads of a story. And then, um, of course having their favorite food. Nathan was a huge foodie. So incorporating their favorite food, um, is something that you could do on Father's Day. It's just have a whole meal where it's like all of their favorite things.

And then here on this picture, um, we, you know, Our family, we would say we liked doing escape rooms when Nathan was here, but he was not the most patient person, so it was like, it was fun for the first, you know, 75 percent of the escape room. And then it was stressful, but this was our first attempt of an escape room without him.

Um, I think we were actually in St. Augustine, um, or Orlando for this one. Um, so it was fun, but just, you know, different without him being there. All right, so some other ways to keep their spirit with you this Father's Day is to, Take time as a family to write down some funny memories or favorite memories of them and to put it like in a, in a jar or in some sort of time capsule and then you could do that each year and as the years go by reflect back and see, you know, what memories always stood out to you.

What memories maybe you've forgotten over time. Um, Just, I think that would be a really cool, um, experience. So I may try this one with my kids, uh, this year is just like creating some, like a time capsule with some memories. You could keep a chair for them open at the dinner table and you could even put a framed picture at their seat, you know, to help them feel present there.

You could also do like a fun scavenger hunt for people to find memories that you've hidden around the house or find items of his that you hid around the house. Um, that might be a fun, fun thing to try. And then I've shared this story before, but, um, On our anniversary, we were, it was going to be our 20th wedding anniversary.

We had matching t shirts ordered. We were going to have everyone over all of those things. And, um, I found, so he died. July 17th, and our anniversary weekend was August 10th, and I still wanted to have people over, which I don't really know why, but I wanted to have people over. I wanted to do something, but I didn't want it to be just like, sad the whole time.

So, my mother in law encouraged me to do it anyway, and we had a cookout, and as the sun was starting to set, Everybody got a glow stick and we all stood in a circle and we went around the circle and, um, asked everybody to say one word or share a story or share a memory and then break their glow stick and shake it up and throw it in the middle.

So we went around the circle and everybody, you know, shared something. Um, most people didn't share a story and knowing Nathan most of the time, it was pretty funny. And they would throw it out in the middle. And then at the end, all the kids got the glow sticks and put it in the shape of a heart. And we all just stood there for like a moment of silence to see all of the memories and stories that we had to share.

And it was just such a cool. Like just uniting type of experience that didn't feel overly sad. It didn't feel, um, it just felt appropriate. So I always like sharing that idea. My therapist had actually told me about doing that, like with, um, candles, but Nathan was just such a different person. I'm like, I don't think the candles are really Nathan style.

Let's do glow sticks, like crazy glow sticks. That sounds more appropriate. So that was nice. Was a lot of fun. But you could use anything really anything like that that lights up. So, I have some space here for you to think about what ideas you might want to incorporate. And there's no right or wrong answer. It might be none, it might be ten, it might be one. But hopefully this gives you some ideas of things, you know, that you can do for father's day.

, okay.

Tips for Managing Complex Grief

[00:26:14] Speaker: So, um, I didn't realize that there were so many different types of grief or words to describe grief, and I think there were like four or five.

And so I just picked these to talk about, um. For widows who Really struggle with feeling 100 percent Oh, I'm grieving my person. I wish they were back. You know, my life was so great. Um, unfortunately, not all widows feel that way. And I know that some of you are in the community. And I know that, um, Some of you are quieter because you don't want to feel judged or you don't want to feel like, you just feel a little more isolated and alone.

Um, as you're trying to figure out all these mixed emotions that you have with grief because even though you're grieving and even though you're having like all the emotions, At the same time, maybe life is a little easier now, maybe you feel a little more free, maybe you just feel that things are calmer because you don't have to walk on eggshells, or because you don't know how your person is going to respond to something, and so I just wanted to acknowledge that some people may be going through that, especially for Father's Day.

and give you some tips for being able to move forward and acknowledging what you're going through. So I think I have eight total suggestions. So one is first to just acknowledge there is complexity there. There is complexity and emotions with, well, on one hand, Everyone I know tells me I should be glad he's finally gone.

You know, like I don't, you know, maybe they were not a nice person. Maybe they racked up a bunch of credit card bills. It could be maybe the struggle with addiction and spent all our money on gambling or did something else, like whatever it is on one hand people, I don't expect that I would be grieving that because now I don't have to live with that on a day to day basis.

But at the same time, I am grieving it and maybe I don't even understand, like, all the emotions. Like, there's relief. And there's sadness. You can also find that with a spouse that had a terminal illness. So maybe they were suffering, or maybe they were in hospice, or maybe physically you had to watch them suffer.

And so on one hand, you're relieved that they don't have to be in that situation anymore, and they're not suffering anymore. But on the other hand, you really miss and you would give anything to have them back. And so The first suggestion here is just to acknowledge that that type of complexity and that type of mixed emotions is normal.

It's okay. There's nothing abnormal about that. One thing that grief teaches all of us is that, If, if we are open to learning it is that we have to incorporate, opposite emotions. We can be happy about something and sad at the same time. We can miss our person and be relieved that they're gone at the same time.

And so our minds like to think about either or, but grief is about accepting both and, um, which is a very complex concept and situation. Um, the 2nd suggestion here is to find support.

Finding Support and Self-Care

[00:29:54] Speaker: So, if you don't have someone you're talking to, if you don't have a support group or grief share, um. You you need an opportunity to be able to talk about it.

You need the opportunity to be able to say the things that you feel guilty for saying, for saying the things that you've never been able to say out loud, or that you are so afraid of judgment for. That you're, you're afraid to say those words, you're afraid to write them down because you feel like people are going to look down on you, or they're not going to understand, or they're going to make some crappy comment, which does sometimes happen but you need to find an outlet to talk.

The answer is not to shut down, to isolate, to just suppress everything that you're feeling. So, whatever environment feels best for you, Maybe that's therapy. Maybe it's coaching. Maybe it's a group. Maybe it's this community. Maybe it's grief share. Maybe it's um, you know, another group in person. Whatever that is, you need an environment where you feel that you can open up and talk.

And if you've been in a situation that's difficult with your spouse, then sometimes it feels like it's really hard to find those people. But I promise you, they exist and they're out there. We've had many guests. On the Brave Widow show, where people lost a spouse to suicide, to addiction, to overdose, to, um, all kinds of things.

We've had widows that were divorcing their spouse, and were separated, and their spouse ended up dying before that was final. So, even just, On the podcast, we've had several guests that are in those situations where life with their person Wasn't just fairy tale beautiful. Everything was great. Like it was really difficult to live with that person Um, so those people do exist and they're out there Just sometimes people are more hesitant to speak up because they feel alone um, our third tip here is to focus on taking care of yourself.

So to make sure that you're eating healthy, that you're eating routinely, that your sleep is well, that you're, you're exercising to some extent, or you're standing up more like me and you're finding times to just fully relax. I love going to get a massage. I, also in the past, I've enjoyed things like yoga or meditation, just things that really require you to.

Not shut off your brain, but to focus on where you are in the moment and just be like fully relaxed is super important. If I don't do those types of things, I get very irritable. I get crabby. I'm not a great mom for my kids. And so I tell them like, I need time to do these things so I can show up and be the best version of me and I can be a normal functioning human.

And you need those things too. It helps you to think clearly. I love, um, Dr. John Deloney has, he's part of Dave Ramsey's team and he has a podcast. And I think I've heard him say one time when our mind is, when our mind is really loud and we're having just lots of anxiety or depression or drama, or things are happening in our mind, one of the best things we can do is turn to our body.

So having trouble quieting our mind, taking a walk helps. Making sure we're getting good sleep helps. Moving our bodies or getting our bodies where our nervous system and our mind can calm down, um, from all that noise is super helpful.

Setting Boundaries and Rebuilding

[00:33:46] Speaker: Alright, number four is to set boundaries. And I put with people who don't understand.

And that, a lot of times, is your own family. Unfortunately, um, and I know I talk with a lot of widows about this too, where their kids don't understand or, um, their siblings, you know, don't understand or say things that are really tone deaf or think that they should be over it now. Or think that oh, their spouse was an amazing person.

If I bring this up, like, they're not going to understand. They don't see how he was when they weren't there. Um, so it's okay. You can set boundaries. You can create distance. Um, one thing I talked about last week was, um, with my siblings. I'm not necessarily super close with them. I love them. We get together, like, three or four times a year.

Probably mostly for my dad. I like them alright, but, you know, I wouldn't, like, be necessarily be super close friends with them if they weren't. We weren't siblings. And so I set boundaries not by being on the defense about things, but just allowing space to exist, right? Like, I don't reach out a whole lot.

Um, they don't reach out to me a whole lot. With relationships, it takes a lot of proactive work to stay in touch with someone to routinely build that relationship and do things together. So if you're not actively putting that work in space is going to creep in automatically. And so with some of my family, I just, that's how I set boundaries is I just, allow there to be space between us.

And I don't expect them to understand. I don't expect them to understand the grief process or what people go through. And so I don't get disappointed if people don't reach out, they don't say things. Um, and so you may not be able to be open and honest about how your person was or how you're grieving or how that's made you feel.

And that's okay. You don't have to be that way with people that are closest to you, that have been closest to you in the past. That's why it's so important to find support where you can find people that you can talk about those things with.

All right, number five is to take time to reflect and rebuild. So if you've been in a relationship with a person that's been difficult or that has caused you a lot of hurt and pain, This is really the time to just let things quiet down to focus on healing your heart and healing the pain and the hurt from things in the past so that you can personally grow and so that you can rebuild your life and your heart into the person that you want to be.

And you can take the time to plan that out and take the time to take some of those steps and to figure out What you want life to look like, figure out what does a healthy relationship look like. And the more that you work on your own feeling and self worth and growth, the more that you're going to be confident in.

If you engage in a relationship with someone else in the future, whether it's a friendship or a romantic relationship, you're going to know what to look for. Whether it's a romantic relationship or not, it's important that you take the time to really understand what you've been through. Take inventory of where you are and where you can heal. And understand, learn about attachment styles, about communication styles, about what are healthy boundaries and healthy relationships, what is actually possible for you, because you inherently, as a human being, have work.

So this is a good time to focus on those things. Um, number six is new connections. It's really important to find people who are supportive of you. And that doesn't have to be anyone who knows anything about Greek. I often recommend that people focus on not abandoning everyone that you know, but that you have a small group of acquaintances or people that don't know how you were in the past.

Like, they don't know the old you, they don't have expectations of how you used to be, they don't know the spouse, they know nothing about you. Other than having met you as a widow and forward and that can create just some really great experiences and help you connect with people who care about you and who want to support you and the version you are now and the places you want to go now and they're not stuck on the past and it's hard when we have family and friends that have known us for all these years of the old us and how things used to be and now everything has changed and And it's created a lot of friction.

And it just takes, sometimes it takes time for people to adapt, and sometimes people never adapt, and that's where we have to create space and start setting some boundaries. But it is important that you find some new connections and people who are supportive, so that you don't feel so alone. Number seven is to show grace and be gentle with yourself.

You've been through just losing a spouse or a fiance is a lot, and so show yourself grace, be gentle, recognize that you've gone through a lot, and it's okay if you need to rest, it's okay if you need to take baby steps, we want to be moving forward, but we also don't have to have a giant pile of expectations for ourselves, and a lot of times as widows, we, we do that, we think we should be able to do all these things, and the reality is, That that's just a thought error.

Last one, number eight.

Finding Purpose and Moving Forward

[00:39:46] Speaker: So finding a sense of purpose. So this would be finding activities that bring you a sense of meaning. Um, after we lose our person, we can often think that, well, what next? What am I supposed to do next? What, um, what's the point of it all now? You know, my person's gone.

What's the point? And even if you're in a relationship with someone, and it was a difficult relationship or wasn't what you wanted it to be. You can still feel very lost, like, well, what am I supposed to do now? Maybe somebody was very controlling, and so they told you everything to do, and now you're like, nobody's telling me what to do, I don't know, I feel very lost right now.

, finding activities that bring you meaning, that could be journaling, it could be volunteering somewhere, it could be in a Facebook group, you're helping a widow, Who's not as far as long as you are. It could be, um, working with your church. It could be a lot of things, but you want something that brings you a sense of purpose and meaning and okay.

Yeah, I do still have something left to contribute to this world. My life isn't over now just because I lost my person. My life didn't stop. Um, so that's important. So. Okay, those are my eight tips on how to move forward when you're dealing with, these are some big words, complicated, disenfranchised, or conflicted grief.


Conclusion and Community Invitation

[00:41:23] Speaker 4: Again, I hope you guys found this episode helpful, and most importantly, I hope this episode helped you to see that you are not alone. There are so many other widows that are walking this journey with you in their own way, that experience some of the same feelings, emotions, and go through some of the same challenges that you do too.

And I love you. Love being able to help my clients and I love being able to help my members of the Brave Widow membership community and I would love to be able to help you too. If you want to learn more about the coaching program and membership community, just simply go to BraveWidow. com.

[00:42:03] Emily: Are you a widow who feels disconnected? Do you feel like you're stuck or even going backwards in your grief? Widowhood can be lonely and isolating, but it doesn't have to be. Join us in the Brave Widow membership community and connect. We teach widows how to find hope, heal their heart, and dream again for the future.

Find your purpose and create a life you love today. Go to bravewidow. com to get started.