Especially having been happily married for over a decade, the loneliness experienced by a widow or widower is impossible for many to comprehend, unless they have experienced a spouse or partner’s death. It could be described as wretching at times, so empty that it is painful. Even when in a room full of people, this feeling does not depart. Like a screen, we can talk with and feel the presence of others, but there is a barrier that doesn’t allow them access to our being. Hard as we try, that screen is tough and won’t tear or open.
The best a widow or widower can do is to pretend. Join others for lunch, dinner, parties and even one-on-one visits. These activities keep you in the loop of friends and family, so that when time heals your wound enough, you will feel that screen slowly disappearing. Afterward, you will find enjoyment once again that comes from your heart. Oh, you will still miss your partner. That won’t change. What will change is enjoyment for the present moment.
Talking with others who walk in your shoes can be very helpful. However, carefully choose who you partner with. Certainly the person who is always depressed and negative will not be the one who will help pull you out of your doldrums. Those who have more time between the present and their partner’s death than you have will most likely be the ones who can serve as an example that the loneliness will lessen and that you will once again be able to be truly social with enthusiasm. That does not mean you will forget your partner nor that you will not miss his or her presence. Instead, it means that you can experience fun and enjoy yourself without feeling guilty or lonely.
If you are a believer in prayer, asking for God’s assistance with your healing and moving on with living will bring you opportunities, growth and contacts that you will recognize because you are cognizant of God’s presence with you at all times. God bless!