'Where did everyone else go?’ she lamented at our grief group, the week of the anniversary of her husband’s death. 'I feel lost and alone. It's as if everyone has abandoned me.'
I recently heard that 60% of people who phone helplines admit to being lonely. Loneliness is something many grievers are grappling with.
As people drift away, the sympathy cards stop arriving, and the last of the flowers wilt, grievers can feel lost and alone. In fact, the most talked-about issue in the grief group I run is surrounding loneliness.
Shirley arrives home each afternoon bursting to share the news about her day at work. Her partner always took the time to listen, and to love. Now all that greets her as she pulls into the driveway is a hungry cat, and a dark, forlorn, lonely house. Lilly likes to socialise, and I noticed she is always the last one to leave the functions she attends. One day she explained why. She dreads going home to an empty house. Can you relate to Shirley or Lilly?
'The biggest disease today is… the feeling of being unwanted, uncared-for, and deserted.' Mother Teresa
Mother Teresa has identified several issues that often relate to people who are grieving. Feeling unwanted, uncared-for and deserted is a major problem, particularly in our western society where people tend to distance themselves from folks who are grieving.
Is your heart is feeling hollow and empty? Does life seem meaningless? These feelings have the potential to trigger depression. But there is hope. We need to acknowledge that feelings of hollowness, emptiness, and meaninglessness etc. are often part of the grieving process. Problems arise when we park our lives there.
So what can be done?
Each heartbroken person will most likely find that they are faced with two choices; they can either sink into self-pity and despair, or they can discover ways to adapt. Even though their hearts are breaking, I encourage people to become proactive and committed to finding positive, healthy ways to combat loneliness and uselessness.
I suggest you look for ways to feel wanted, useful, needed, cared-for, productive, included, less lonely, and supported. Some have discovered these needs are met by reaching out and helping others. Others have needed counselling, particularly if these feelings have been triggers that have led to depression.
Here are some ideas to help you alleviate loneliness: Make your home welcoming and inviting. Install a sensor security light that comes on when you walk to your front door. Have internal decor that enhances your sense of well-being. Be creative and make your home your safe and pleasant sanctuary. Be mindful of triggers and have a strategy. Plan things to look forward to. Join community groups, clubs or a walking group. Travel. Study alongside others. And earn to appreciate solitude and use your time to explore various interests and hobbies.
This is an excerpt from my book HEALING THE GRIEVING HEART by Del Marie McAlister
Imagine having someone walking beside you every day of the year, sharing nuggets of wisdom, messages of comfort, real life stories, and glimmers of hope. Many people, including myself have traveled a similar journey to yours and we understand what it’s like to grieve deeply. HEALING THE GRIEVING HEART contains snippets of our collective wisdom, and practical ideas, that has the potential to become healing balm to your grieving heart. A must-have if you are bereaved.
"I loved the book! I heard your voice throughout and it was such a comfort. Very heart warming and affirming."
“I can thoroughly recommend this book. It would have to be the most practical book I have read on dealing with the loss of someone you love.”
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Copyright 2018 Del Marie McAlister
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