By Tracy Renee Lee
April 14, 2022
As a funeral director, I see spousal loss more often than I like. Sometimes the husband passes first, but other times the wife passes first. Regardless of who passes, the surviving spouse not only experiences sadness, they experience extreme loneliness too.
Loneliness is difficult to overcome upon the death of one’s beloved. There are, however, things one can do to push loneliness away. Realistically, the surviving spouse will most likely not feel like engaging in social activities for some time. However, human beings are social beings and therefore, should engage in social activities as an integral part of their recovery strategy.
Social loneliness seems to be more easily addressed. To overcome social loneliness one must simply engage in social activities. Social activities would include going to church, joining a mall walkers or an exercise group, a club focused on one of your interests, or perhaps volunteering to offer service.
Service projects are also an amazing recovery strategy. Not only does the person or group that you volunteer to serve receive the assistance they need, but you receive benefits as well.
Not only will service move you from the pain of grief, it changes your focus and increases your ability to experience joy and peace. In short, service is good for all involved.
Emotional loneliness is not as easily overcome as social loneliness. Emotional loneliness requires that your emotions are involved or focused toward another person. In other words, a relationship must develop or increase.
Grief is suffered because you have lost a loved one. To overcome grief, love must find another upon whom to bestow that love.
When I was a young girl, my grandfather was murdered. At that time I realized that my grandmother began spending a lot more of her time with her grandchildren. She would come visit our family and before I knew it, she was with us for over a year. In fact, it was not unusual for her to stay with us for two years or longer. Throughout my unmarried life, my grandmother spent more time living with my family than she spent away from us. I loved my grandmother and I thoroughly enjoyed her lengthy visits with us.
As a young girl, I did not understand that my grandmother was intuitively taking care of her emotional loneliness. She bestowed her love upon her grandchildren without reservation. Spending time with us and serving us gave my grandmother both social and emotional loneliness relief. Being with us, she attended Church, volunteered for my Girl Scout Troop, cooked delicious Cajun meals for us, and helped my mother keep a clean house.
My grandmother was an avid reader and would share the volumes of knowledge stored in her brain with us. She was Google before Google existed. I could ask her about anything and she always knew the facts that I required.
She loved to laugh and would share her humor freely. She found joy in everything. There was definitely plenty at our home to keep her socially and emotionally engaged.
If you are suffering social or emotional loneliness and feel that you are ready to do something about it, try engaging in various activities. It is not absolutely necessary that you go out by yourself to activities. You can follow my grandmother’s lead and visit your grandchildren. You can join a group for exercising or find a club that focuses on something in which you are particularly interested. Moreover, if you are a believer, you can begin going to Church or volunteer at your Local Hospital or other Organization.
Socializing with family and friends, meeting and making new friends and serving others are all great strategies to assist you in overcoming loneliness. Additionally, those with whom you engage will benefit as well.
My name is Tracy Renee Lee. I am a Certified Grief Counselor (GC-C), Funeral Director (FDIC), Published Author, Syndicated Columnist, Podcaster, Founder of The “Mikey Joe Children’s Memorial” and Heaven Sent, Corp. I write books, weekly bereavement articles, Podcasts and Grief BRIEFs related to understanding and coping with grief. I am the American Funeral Director of the Year Runner-Up and recipient of the BBB’s Integrity Award.
It is my life's work to comfort the bereaved and help them live on.
For additional encouragement, please visit my podcast “Deadline” at: https://open.spotify.com/show/7MHPy4ctu9OLvdp2JzQsAA Or at: https://anchor.fm/tracy874 and follow me on Instagram at "Deadline_TracyLee."