Author’s note: This week’s articles are designed to provide employers with information about helping an employee experiencing sudden widowhood at an age society considers “young.”
Today’s article is an attempt to get you to understand sudden widowhood. I use the word attempt because however I describe it, the description is not accurate enough.
The best way I know to describe what happened to your employee is:
the scene in “Deep Impact” where Jenny Lerner (Tea Leoni) and her father Jason Lerner (Maximilian Schell) are standing on the beach waiting for the first tsunami waive to engulf them after the comet hits earth.
Well, an emotional tsunami has engulfed your employee.
The best description of the pain she is feeling is:
her heart has been ripped out and put into a mortar and is being ground 24/7 with a pestle. No matter how much grinding is done, her heart is like a jaw breaker and never gets any smaller.
“Feelings, wo-o-o feelings” (Morris Albert)
Other feelings she might be dealing with are loneliness, abandonment, loss of identity, and lack of self-esteem. You name the emotion and if she is not feeling it now, there is a good chance she will feel it later.
For example – I did not hit the “anger” stage until six months after Joe died. It was just one of those days where every little thing went wrong. I slammed my car door every chance I got while saying more than a few unpleasant things to Joe. Luckily my 2004 Saturn Ion survived the abuse.
Letting her deal with grief is not only healthy but a positive and productive step in the recovery process.
If she stuffs her negative feelings inside she is hooking herself to an I.V. bottle of poison, attaching it to a rack and rolling it around for the rest of her life. In case you did not realize it -
Maybe suddenly or maybe over months or years but the poison those negative emotions cause, will slowly eat away at her mental and physical wellbeing.
By the way – this is true for anyone who stuffs their grief inside, not just us widows.
“Life Is A Highway” (Tom Cochrane)
Sudden widowhood is a nightmarish journey some of us must take while traveling life’s highway. It is not fun but it is a learning and growing experience. Once she gets through this journey she will be a better employee.
Don’t you want an employee who is able to endure being engulfed by an emotional tsunami, slowly ascend through the wave and finally break through the crest? Imagine what she can do for your company – the possibilities are endless.
Coming tomorrow: The answer to “How Long?”
Bio: Michele is passionate about providing support and encouragement to other widows and educating other people about adventures through her grief journey. She has a B.A. in Rhetoric and Communications with career experience in retail sales and management, bank collections, and call center management.