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Widowhood

The Four Stages of Life After Losing a Loved One

Losing someone you love is devastating. You have grief, pain, sadness, bewilderment and, even with the comfort of family and friends, you may feel very much alone. But, you are not alone.
There are those you can call on to help you through the four stages of life that lead you to peace and solace … or you may undertake them on your oWn.

Stage One
The First Hurdle: The Shock and the Grief – Grieve. Cry. Talk  … a lot. Grieve more. Grieve as long as it takes. Don’t punish yourself. Then, let go of your grief. Laugh, a lot. Evangelist Billie Graham saID, “Sometimes we need to be alone with our grief and memories. We just need to guard against making this our only response for it’s not healthy.”

Stage Two
The Renewal– Prepare for your life without your lost loved one. Identity crisis? Learn to know yourself. Go slowly. Set goals. Have a plan. If you are alone, enjoy the unexpected gains of life alone: exercise, meditate, relax, be kind to yourself. Attain financial security.

Stage Three
The Bridge … The Passage – Have you achieved emotional and physical renewal along with financial security? Are you prepared to move on? Or should you repeat some of the steps in Stages One and Two to assure you are empowered to take charge of your life? Not to worry. The time it takes is different for everyone.

Stage Four
New Life Options … Adventures– If you are ready to move on there are limitless options to consider: Single? A new significant other or a different type of relationship. Unconditional Love? Adopt a pet. Volunteer work, a new job, your dream job. Pleasurable pursuits, travel, new friends, take in the arts. Pursuits with a purpose, helping others. Pack up and move … when the time is right.

Experiencing even some of the steps of the Four Stages of Life is, in itself, a distraction from your loss and sadness to help you move on. While you handle your grief, achieve renewal, and undertake one or more of the adventures, you may come to realize and accept why it is you who is still here. You have happy memories to cherish, wonders in the world to enjoy. and rewards from reaching out to help others.

You will find solace and peace. It is just a matter of dedication and time!

Victoria D. Schmidt has had a long and illustrious career including being a fashion editor at Woman’s Day Magazine in New York City, and serving as the Director of Tourism for the State of New Jersey where she is credited with the most successful New Jersey tourism campaign: New Jersey & You Perfect Together. After losing her husband to Parkinson’s disease, Schmidt wrote Finding Solitary Contentment: Ways to Handle Grief and Embrace a New Life and Remembering the Loved One You LostShe is also the author of Triumph in Exile, a novel based on the life of Madame de Staël, the woman who challenged Napoleon. For more information, please visit: http://www.victoriadschmidt.com.

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