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I found this information on a website for widows. Some of it you may find helpful. Losing a spouse teaches a person one million lessons.

Your spouses’ belongings are now your belongings. Yours. Not his brother’s, dad’s or good buddy’s. Should someone tell you they’d like to have blah, or worse, are coming over to get his tools, lawnmower, chainsaw, clothes or what have you, tell them firmly that those items belong to you, and you use them.

Tell them this whether you use such belongings right now or not. Let several months go by before you decide what to do with these items. You might find they have sentimental value to you if not practical value. Or you might wish to give them to someone. Now, newly widowed, is not the time to give your spouse’s things away. Too many widowed who did this regret it later.

Your finances are private. End of story. No one who has any semblance of manners would dare disgrace themselves by asking you if you have life insurance, or worse yet, how much money you received, or what your inheritance is on anything. But, social clods will disgrace themselves without even knowing it by asking you such personal, private questions. I strongly urge you to not answer such questions.

“How much insurance did he leave you?” Answer: stare at them long and hard and reply, “That is a private matter” or if on the phone, remain silent until they break the silence and then as soon as they break the silence, say pleasantly, “I have to go now, bye” and hang up the phone.

If it is someone whom you feel you can not handle in this way, then let them think you received nothing. The vultures who think you have received nothing will then leave you alone, rather than pick and beg, or worse, sue you for some of that money.

You have control over your phone.

You have control over your mail.

You have control over your email.

You have control over your front door.

If you do not feel like answering the phone, door, mail or email, then do not. If you wish to not have to deal with a particular person, even if they are family or in-laws, then use an answering machine always to screen your calls, picking up only when it is someone with whom you wish to talk. Throw mail from them unopened into the trash. Block their email addresses so they don’t go through to you. If you don’t even want to hear particular people’s voices on your answering machine, check your phone book for the proper way to block individual phone numbers from ever ringing through to you. Another way to get rid of pests is to change your phone number, making it unlisted, or listing it under a false name without an address.

Doorbell rings – look through the peephole and answer it only if the person is someone with whom you wish to talk.

Doing these things will prevent you from being harrassed because whatever they do won’t reach you, since you have set your boundaries of contact and type of communication allowed.

You have the right to expect respect for your wishes as you grieve and mourn. Those who refuse to respect your wishes, avoid like the plague for now. Now is the time to put yourself first as your mourn and grieve your spouse. Take your time with everything and let yourself mourn.
When you feel up to get into a consulor or a good group therapy.
Don’t pay any old bills that are in their name only. Talk to a lawyer about what you have to pay.
Try not to make big life decisions for many months.
Find out who you can lean on and talk about the situation as much as you can handle. The more you get your grief out the less you bottle up and shoulder yourself.
Grief is not depression. It is a normal response to a major loss, many of which are traumatic.

Just about anything you feel or experience is a normal expression of grief.

Don’t say no to anyone who offers to help. You are not superman/woman.

On the days you feel like cooking, cook alot and freeze it.

TV dinners are ok. Peanut butter sandwiches are ok.

It does get more manageable but it takes time. If you ignore your needs, it will only get worse.

Its ok to be where you are.

If you want the pain to stop and wish you were dead, that is a normal feeling. If you are going to do something to hurt yourself or are suicidal, get help immediately.

– Keep a folder or set of files specifically for paperwork that will be coming in. Even if spouse had a way of arranging it, you are not going to want to think about it. Just get some folders and put the papers in the appropriate ones as they come. Deal with them when you are in a better mindset.

–Make a folder for incoming bills, so you can keep up with them.
–Make a folder for funeral/burial/creamation information
–Make a folder for any insurance/life insurance correspondance
–Make a folder for gifts and cards from flowers. This way when you feel up to doing the thanks you’s its all there.

This may sound strange, but paperwork can flood in very quickly and you don’t want to have to go through a mess of info trying to locate something specific.

-Start a notebook. When I had to start calling about accounts and bills, I kept a notebook. I listed company, name of person I talked to, the date and any important info.

I know it seems overwhelming, but it goes more smoothly if you just start writing everything down. Memory will not work well.

-Most importantly, drink plenty of water. Crying and not eating right dehydrates you quickly. Your health so very important now (since you’re under so much stress).
Very important to make sure you order at least 6 copies of the death certificate. You will need them for many things in the future.

Stock up on soft tissues (when you get to the store)they will feel better on those “not so good” days and nights.

Excellent advice about not giving or selling any of spouses belongings right away. Make sure that when something is sold or given, that it feels right to YOU!

There is no need to rush to remove clothing from the closet or dressers, do it at your own pace, and never, I mean NEVER listen to anyone that has not been through it tell you how to handle your grief or pain. You are the only one that will know when you are feeling better, not your mom or a loving friend. They will try to help you get over it faster, but they may not know that is not going to happen.

Be kind to those that offer to help and even the DGIs, they don’t want to see you in pain, it hurts them too.

If you aren’t home during the day, use your slow cooker as much as possible. There is comfort in coming home to a hot meal. (There is a current thread with some great recipes, check it out.)

If you have kids let them help you as much as they can. My (at the time) 7 year old learned to fold laundry, my 11 year old took on the yard work. Maybe it wasn’t done perfectly, but a few less chores for me.

Keep a copy of the death certificate with you for several months, maybe in an out-of-mind/out-of-sight place like locked in the back of your glove compartment. I can think of a few times when I needed one when I wasn’t expecting to.

It’s important to know too, I think, that many of your friends will disappear. Don’t take it personally. It’s not you, it’s their inability to deal with the situation. they feel uncomfortable and scared they’re going to say the wrong thing so they think it’s better to ‘give you your space’. If you need more support from your friends, tell them so and try to be specific if you are able to figure out what your needs are. Some will still disappoint you, but some will surprise you.

And realize too that many, many vultures may come out of the woodwork. Practice the phrase ‘I need some time to think about it’.

I think lastly, I’d like to say that it does get easier and it does get better. At 4 and 5 months, I made the decision to commit suicide because I felt I just couldn’t sustain that amazingly deep level of grief I was in for another two years. Events fell into place in such a way that I didn’t follow through with my plans. And by 6 months out, I realized that THAT level of grief was a lot more temporary than I had imagined. So please, when things seem they can’t get any worse, and you think it’s not going to let up, a reprieve is a lot closer than you think. So just sit tight, if you have to, and hold on. (((((Hug)))))
There is NO set time for how long one should grieve. It takes as long as it takes.

Try not to take the “you should be over it” comments too hard. Those who love you want you to hurt as little as possible, so they generally mean well by this, though it will irritate you.

There is no set rule regarding ring etiquette. Wear one or both if it feels right; forever, or just for a day, as you wish it.

Try not to tackle, or be trampled by, the huge mountain of tasks (death related and that now double workload that you will face and will accumulate). Rather, nibble off a little bit each day or when you can. Even doing some of the small stuff (all that I could handle early on) does make a dent in it and adds a sense of accomplishment.

Take care of you first. You will be worth more to your dependents if you take care of yourself and yet allow yourself to process the grief.

Drop by the YWBB, reading a lot and posting when you want. We get it, sadly enough, but thank goodness somebody does!

Hold on, one step at a time, stay in today (tomorrow will take care of itself).

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