Dating for widows and widowers
We also invited a group of widowers to meet us and volunteered at a camp for children who have lost someone and ultimately went on a trip to where none of us had been before.
We get together a lot now and talk about what engaged us the most. Some people say the trip; some say volunteering at the camp; some say trying on lingerie.
We liked it all and I think part of what l learned was that it didn’t matter what we did, whatever we did, it was good to be together and share new experiences with people and develop the closeness that comes out of that. One of the things I learned from the research is that it’s not a good idea to force people to talk about something that’s painful, so we didn’t do that. I would advise that they ask caring questions and not make assumptions.
As we were together, the painful things came up, but it was naturally in conversation. I know lots of people have a hard time dealing with death so they don’t say anything because they are afraid to say the wrong thing. Whatever that person seems to be wanting to talk about, let them do it.
In fact, studies of actual grieving people show that they don’t follow those stages.
So why did you decide to start your own widow’s group five years after your husband’s death?
I’d been doing this research about grief and it still haunted me that I felt there wasn’t a good model out there for me to follow. I asked everybody I knew if they knew anybody until I cobbled together five people who said they’d do it.
I would say if someone already suffers from depression, it should be treated and if someone is grieving, it doesn’t necessarily mean that they’re depressed.
I did find in the research that people tend to be traumatized by the death of a loved one more than depressed by it.
The research found that couples who are very close and loving, when one dies, the other person is well situated to find a new partner and be happy again because that’s what they are accustomed to.