“Deep Impact”

(Author’s note: This week’s articles are designed to provide an employer 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.)

What Happened

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 (Maximillan Schell) are standing on the beach waiting for the first tsunami wave to engulf them after the comet hits earth.

An emotional tsunami has engulfed your employee.

The Pain

The best description of the pain she is feeling is:

Her heart was ripped out ad 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 jawbreaker and never gets any smaller.

Michele Kearns

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.

Healthy Choice

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 –

Poison Kills

Maybe suddenly or maybe over months of 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 break through the crest?

Imagine what she will do for your company – the possibilities are endless.

Coming tomorrow: The answer to “How Long?”

Bio: Michele Kearns is the founder and HUG© (Hope Unites Globally) Award-Winner of JoyReturns. She shares her widowhood adventures hoping to encourage widows to move through grief and rebuild their lives. A graduate of Kent State University with a Bachelor’s degree in communications, she’s used those skills while managing call center teams, facilitating a grief support group and helping small businesses with various writing and administrative assignments. Michele is a bookworm, lover of chocolate, red roses and golden retrievers and is an amateur photographer.


Mortar and Pestal Photo by Katherine Hanlon on Unsplash

Cell Photo by Christopher Windus on Unsplash

Wave Photo by Nathan Anderson on Unsplash




While attempting to deal with sudden death and the pain it left, I wondered if/how I would be able to put my life back together.  What would my new life be like without my best friend, mechanic, computer geek, and resume writer?  I had dealt with tough challenges and other deaths before, but how could I survive this?  I learned to take it one day at a time and deal with whatever happened that day.  It was not an easy thing to learn but it was necessary. 

While I was taking it day by day, God was implementing his plan for my new life in baby steps.  His efforts have resulted in a mostly new me (still have the same weird sense of humor) who once again finds herself a passenger on a high-speed elevated train heading in a new direction. 

Only God knows where this track will lead and the adventures I will meet along the way.


The Pain Sudden Death Inflicts

The Pain Sudden Death Inflicts

Describing the pain left behind by sudden death is not much easier  than describing the impact, but here is the analogy I use.  It’s like death took your heart and put it in a mortar and then uses the pestle to grind it up.  The grinding goes on 24/7 and the real kicker is that no matter how much grinding death does, your heart is like a jawbreaker (a.k.a.  never- ending gobstopper),  it never gets any smaller. 

No amount of over the counter or prescription drugs takes away the pain.  You might get drowsy and fall asleep from the drugs but the pain is there immediately upon awakening. 

The grinding and the pain stay with you through out the day. 

Eventually both will lessen but it is going to take a long time before you feel relief.