The Empty Space
I lost my husband two months ago. We were married for forty-two years. The
devastation I feel is deep and painful. Looking at my life now I see it as a picture
with a hole in it. The hole used to be filled by my husband. Now this big empty space
is with me where ever I go. We were not only mates but best friends. I go to the
grocery store now alone. I pay the bills – alone. Looking across the dinner table is an
empty chair. How do I stop having an empty space in my life?
When you lose a husband it is the first of many losses. As you are finding out there
is more than one person/thing missing in your life. Everything about your life is now
different. The empty space will seem smaller as you grieve and as you change and
grow from within. To help you with this change so that the empty space seem less
empty you can:
Make a Plan: You are changing even if you do not realize you are changing. The
loss you experienced has created a vacuum in your daily life. In general, nature
abhors a vacuum. Personally we do not like a hole or space so we rearrange things
to make us feel complete. This change occurs whether you want it to or not. What
you can control however, is how you want that change to look, feel and act. Make a
list of goals of where you want to be in six months, a year or even eighteen months
from now. What do you have to do to obtain these goals? For example do you need
to downsize your home and move to a smaller abode? The more in control you feel
the quicker you can manage your grief.
Start Something New: When change occurs in your life it is a good time to try
something new. What have you wanted to do for some time but haven’t given it a
go-- like taking pottery classes? Perhaps there is a trip you have always wanted to
take. Make a life list of things you still want to do before you die and start checking
Rearrange Your Space: It is important to change your personal surroundings to
reflect the internal changes occurring in your life. Take stock of your material
possessions and remove the ones from your living space that no longer suit you or
that you no longer need/use. Go through your husband’s belongings and keep a few
treasured items and then remove the rest form your space. This cleansing process
might be difficult but it will help you grieve and eventually help to fill that empty
Decide Who You Are: No matter what our age we can always ask the question,
“Who do I want to be now?” You are moving from a time in your life where decisions
were decided as a “we” and not as an “I”. How do “I” want to live? Where do “I”
want to live? Who do “I” want as friends? How do “I” want people to see me now?
What decisions do “I” need to learn to do that we used to make as a “we”? I had a
perfect example in my grandmother. My grandfather died in 1985 at the age of 82.
Throughout their marriage he refused to eat pizza or have it delivered. My
grandmother decided in her next phase of life that she was going to have pizza. It
helped defined what she wanted be. Small things can be as important as the big
Remember that you will be changing over the coming years. You do not have to be a
passive observer to your own life. You do not need to feel like a victim because your
husband (or wife) died but instead you can take the control seat. With each change
you make the empty space will start to fade and it will, in some ways, seem smaller.
Are you looking for others with whom you can relate? Visit the Beyond Indigo forums
to connect with others who are on their grief journeys.
--By Kelly Baltzell, MA
© 2010 Kelasan, Inc.
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