Episode 42: Find your people
You are listening to the Life Reconstructed podcast with me, Teresa Amaral Beshwate, grief expert, best-selling author and widow. I’m so glad you’re here because in this and every episode, I shine a light on the widowed way forward.
Hello and welcome to episode 42. In this episode, I share why people who love you perhaps don’t understand you, and I offer tips to grow your grief-savvy connections.
After the loss of a spouse, even those who love you don’t understand you. They can’t accurately see you. They don’t know how to sit with you, to keep you company in your grief. With good intentions, they try to coax you toward what they think should be the next phase of your healing.
They offer platitudes. They suggest that you should volunteer, or adopt a pet, or take some other action that they think might be the answer.
They try to fix what can’t be fixed.
We’re all a product of a non-grief savvy society. It’s foreign, uncomfortable, and we just don’t want to talk about it. We can’t possibly be a good support for something we don’t understand.
And besides, it’s impossible to truly get it, unless you have experienced it. I once didn’t get it either. None of us got it, until unfortunately, we did.
It’s ironic that during the most difficult chapter of your life, you’re also misunderstood, unseen, and not well supported.
This is the part when you can let people be wrong about you. Let them misunderstand you. Let them draw incorrect conclusions.
This is the part when, with love you say, “I don’t expect you to understand what this is like for me. In fact, I’m so glad you don’t.”
You probably don’t have the energy to attempt to defend yourself, or help them better understand you or your journey. So instead, simply let them be wrong about you.
But please don’t stop there.
Find people who do get it. Find grief savvy people.
Now your brain will tell you that it’s too hard. That you don’t have the energy. That you’re too introverted, too busy, or too exhausted. And those seem so true.
But what if they’re not true? What if connecting with grief-savvy people is actually not hard? Even if you’re an introvert, busy or tired.
Grief groups exist throughout the US, both virtually and in person. Grief Share, a Christian grief group, is just one example.
Many hospitals and hospice agencies offer grief support. Groups like these may help you for a time, and you’ll meet other people who are also walking through a grief journey.
Soaring Spirits International offers many wonderful programs for those who have lost a spouse, one of which is Regional Social Groups, which happen across the US, both virtually and in person.
Soaring Spirits also offers Camp Widow, a conference-of-sorts for widowed people. In 2024 CW will happen in Tampa and San Diego in the US. The following year it will be in different locations, tentatively Seattle, Houston, Washington DC and Chicago.
MeetUp.com is another way to connect with people in your area. You may find a grief group or a group specifically for widowed people. In fact, whatever your interests, MeetUp likely has a group. It’s designed to bring people together. To welcome newcomers. To create connections.
Lifelong friendships are made in each of these settings.
I started a MeetUp group for widowed people in 2020. It began with one member. Today there are 150 members. We are friends. We support each other. We laugh and we cry. We go on walks, we share meals, we karaoke (well, they karaoke, I watch them karaoke).
We have extroverts and introverts. Some are new to this journey; others are veterans. Every age group is represented. All are made to feel welcome.
What brings me joy is seeing the sense of belonging. The friendships that form. The familiarity, the authenticity that comes so naturally to a group of widowed people.
And while this is not the purpose of the group, two of the members got married last year, mentioning their late spouses in their wedding vows.
Although everyone’s journey is unique, there is a level of understanding that goes without saying.
And that’s what I hope for you. That you’ll find a few grief savvy people who get it, who get you. Who accurately see your whereabouts, who will choose to keep you company in exactly that place.
People who will walk alongside you as you learn this version of yourself, and as you continue to grow. Who want to hear about your person. Who want to help you honor your person.
You deserve that.
If this episode was helpful, please share it with a widowed friend. I would also be grateful if you would rate and review it, so it can reach more widowed people. And remember that I believe in you, and I’m here for you. Take care.
If you’ve found this podcast helpful, I invite you to join Life Reconstructed, my coaching program exclusively for widowed people. It will help you step forward toward a life you will love again. Simply go to thesuddenwidowcoach.com and click work with me.