In our previous post, our guest bloggers Pastor David and Shannon Carroll spoke about the importance of community during their journey with amnesia. Today, we would like to discuss the concept of community in your widow journey. We plan to follow with a series of questions about community and the importance of maintaining healthy boundaries within your community. These concepts are especially important with the added pressures of our present world situation. The challenges of gathering together in this environment has added to the trauma of our losses.
What does community mean?
A quick Google search shows community as defined, being in a physically located community such as your local town being your community. Another definition that came up and resonates better with both of us is that community is “a feeling of fellowship with others, as a result of sharing common attitudes, interests, and goals”
Community in Grief
For some widows, they are surrounded by people after “the event”. This group of people tend to be around for a certain length of time and then “disappear” as they go back to their normal lives. In the meantime, you are still there dealing with the loss and expected to go back to normal. You are often expected to “get over it” and move on. Often, our timeline of grief and our journey does not match the expectation of others. This is normal and ok to grieve on your own timeline.
It is also ok to reach out and ask for assistance from others when you need help to get through.
What do you do if you don’t have a community around you?
For others, there is not a community of people around us even at the beginning of our journey. We want you to know that it is perfectly okay and normal if you don’t have a community around you. We are here to provide some resources for you as you travel this journey.
Even though we both had a physical community around us, one of the reasons we built Torn in Half was that neither of us could find a community that related to what we were going through (younger widows) and, at the time, there was little online support. As you probably are aware, even if you have a community around you, they often do not understand where you are in life as they have not suffered such a loss. We chose to build this site so that others, like you, would have this community as a resource.
Today, there are many social media like Facebook widow groups. If you need to and feel comfortable doing so, you can join one or more to be in a group that understands where you are in life and can relate to the topics that you cannot share with those who are not on the widow journey.
Our online search for how to build up community brought very little resources. So, we have decided to share with you our thoughts on the topic and ask that you share any of your thoughts on the topic
2020 has definitely brought a lot of isolation to everyone. In this day of dispersed families and isolation it’s more than normal to feel alone. Below are some of our ideas for finding community during grief.
Tips to find the connection that you need to get through this time
- Mindfully search out groups on social media that you may be interested in.
- Hobbies, causes, volunteer organizations, religious or spiritual, motivational, business, professional organizations, etc.
- Our resources section has some links that may be of interest.
- Let technology work for you - connect with other humans via the phone, Zoom, Google Meet, Facebook Live, or other social media.
- Ideally 3-5 contacts per day for positive mental health.
- We know it’s not the same as in person but it is a way to form connections.
- Search for virtual events that may be of interest
- Attend a virtual webinar on a topic of interest
- Reach out to friends, family members that may be in your circle. They may be waiting for you to ask and not know how to approach you in your time of grief.
- Call, text, or email them.
- Reach out to a church or spiritual organization
- Many have online groups, support groups, and services online
- Show acts of kindness
- Send out motivational or cute pictures on social media
- Send a note of thanks or gratitude to someone
- Donate to a charity, food bank, etc.
- Take an online class - learn something new
In closing this is a topic that doesn’t have a lot of resources for virtual community building tips. We’ll be researching and looking for resources and ideas…our norms for building community are not there...no coffee shops, get togethers, pot lucks, socials, card nights, etc.
We hope that Torn in Half can be a part of your community and that you’re able to surround yourself virtually or in person with positive helpful people.
Wishing you peace and blessings,
Teresa & Jeni