Year Two: Myths and Truths

Feb 23, 2022

The second year after losing a spouse is a popular topic of discussion in the widowed community. The commonly held belief is that year two is harder than year one.

When I read this blanket statement, I cringe for the people who have only recently joined the ranks - those who are newly immersed in the darkest darkness.

I’ve spoken to hundreds of widowed people in various stages of loss: ranging from the brand new to the 30-year widow. I coach widowed people all day, every day and I am widowed myself. So, with that perspective, I’d like to offer my two cents on year two.

Myth: Time heals

Truth: Time does not heal. The proof is in every social media group: “It’s been 10 years and it still hurts like yesterday.”

Intentionality is what heals. We heal by carefully examining thoughts, and choosing to think, feel and act on purpose.

Myth: Year two is worse than year one

Truth: Generally speaking, year one offers some form of anesthesia. Yes, it’s still horrific, but for many, there is a protective layer of shock.

In the second year, whatever anesthesia year one offered starts to wear off. If year one feels like acute pain, then year two is a more chronic ache.

In year two, some things get better while other things start to feel harder.

For example, in year one, we know intellectually that it’s real. In year two, the reality of the loss settles into the bones.

Although they are very different, if we could put year one and year two on a scale, I think they would weigh about the same. Partly what makes year 2 seem harder are our own expectations, specifically, the following myth.

Myth: I should be “better” by now

Truth: There is no rulebook, including and especially the self-imposed kind. When we judge our journey, (and we’re especially tempted to start judging in year 2) we add misery to the already tremendously intense grief of losing our spouse.

Please don’t.

You’ve lost the one person on this earth that you chose to spend your life with. You shouldn’t be anything other than what you are, which is doing the best that you can.

There is no magic wand that appears on day 366 that makes it all “better.” It’s just another day on the journey. Is it easy? No. But it also doesn’t have to be one ounce more difficult than necessary.

Inside my coaching program designed exclusively for widowed people, we face year 2 head on. We get so good at processing the pain that we no longer live in fear: we don’t fear difficult feelings, and we don’t fear year 2.

If you’re ready to invest in yourself and face year 2 with courage and certainty, simply click here to book a free Hope Breakthrough Session and we’ll see if it’s a fit.

Simply click here and we'll see if it's a fit.

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