I intend to write on despair, what it means, how it could happen and how to prevent it happening to you while grieving. Despair could come from a traumatic event or an abrupt change in circumstances, that has suddenly occurred in our lives. This could be an incident that takes place suddenly without being prepared or expectant of it.

This could be the loss of a loved one or a sudden change in circumstances like a divorce, a terminal health diagnosis or redundancy from a long-life job.

Within this context I will reference the loss of a Spouse. When many become widows, it is a very traumatic and shocking event. This creates sudden uncertainty, fear, and anxiety. Or it could be blinding hopelessness that just does not see a future or a road to feel there is a need to live. The former is the beginning of the pendulum of despair, while the latter could lead to thoughts of no longer finding a reason to live. So, clinging to Hope after trauma is very crucial.

Despair is the complete loss or absence of hope. Hope in the sense that this event has changed everything you consider to be safe and secure. The consequence of this could bring despair and not find reasons to see a future or expect to live in the future.

To explain this feeling, I will be sharing with you what it looked like when I was first informed that my beloved spouse, who I had shared over a semicentennial (0ver 25 years) with had passed away. My first reaction was to whale out in deep sorrow and get down very close to the ground and sob uncontrollably. The only thing I could see at that moment was all the years we had built crumbled away.

I wondered where I would start to rebuild from, after such a great loss.

I eventually discovered the stronger my faith became, the stronger I was able to navigate the future with hope. My word in season is ‘Hope deferred makes the heart sick, but a desire fulfilled is a tree of life’ Proverbs 13:12

However, in that moment of deep emotional despair and sorrow I felt a still voice within prompting me to try to envisage hope above all that was being felt at that moment. This somehow stirred me to glean life above all the emotional and physical despair I was feeling when the news broke.

So, I unconsciously decided that I would not and could not be defeated by my husband’s loss. Death will not take him and now attempt to mare my future.

After the loss and devastating news, I had to discover strategies of how to make my walking out of widowhood a successful journey. So, I started by planning my future with one little healing step each day, when feeling stronger, taking more strides that I was able to manage.

At my most vulnerable stage of grief, despair presented as fear, uncertainty, no future, and anxiety.

Find below Three crucial widow recovery secrets I applied to my journey of healing and personal discovery:

  1. Using spiritual faith in Jesus Christ to strengthen your inner man = God’s spirit in you to fight and drown out negative voices of despair and hopelessness. I read the words and promises of our creator in the Bible. Plus praying and meditating on the word. The Archbishop of the Church of England, Justine Welby in his second lecture for Easter 2023, he states that ‘despair is a deeply human emotion’ and warned that ‘a society without God is a society for which despair may be the only way forward’.

‘It is just at the moments when we are without options that we throw ourselves unconditionally …. On the mercy and grace of God’

The Times Newspaper 9th April,2023

   Nothing could and even now could fill the vacuum my husband’s loss created – only something out of me, that was God.

So, I am reminding you today to you the bereft that the absolute comfort required for your recovery is in the Hope the risen Jesus Christ gives us all.

2.Being Accountable and open to good people around you.

They provide you with an active ear to listen to your pain and not judge or influence your thoughts. Making you know that they will be with you supporting, encouraging, and providing you with the practical support required.

These individuals stay the course consistently being fully present and accessible.

So, find and identify at least two people that can support you on this journey, and you will manage despair prevention most effectively.

I found connecting with a surviving widow who was further along her journey of recovery was a life saver. She was a living testimony that convinced me that I will be able to recover, finding a new future. Having positive people acting their hope strengthens your journey. Please do not give up – you being alive means there is a greater purpose for you to find.

3.Complete honesty and transparency in your journey.

This means sharing exactly how you feel and not pretending you are fine, when not. Being true to self and your grief process will enable you to heal gradually.

When grief is locked away and not free to be expressed, it will eventually show up in other expressive emotions. This could be in angry outbursts or uncontrollable tears; these prevent you from making lucid decisions. Buried pain is a ticking time bomb – be aware.

You need to lean into your pain and discomfort, be present. Acknowledge you are hurting and do not judge yourself for expressing the most natural process. We tend to use different things or actions to distract ourselves from the pain.

Whether it is with spending, food, drink, or chores to mention a few. When we address and pay attention to the things that feel uncomfortable, only then are we able to change and come to acceptance.

I spent at least 6 months off work, going on daily works alone and trying to make sense of my loss. How I will be able to picture my future and how to find a new way of life without my late husband. It is not an easy journey as your fears constantly resurface, you consistently fight them with positive and scriptural words that confirm success.

 I had to push in, in solitude and avoid all things negative. I still only listen to edifying music, positive people, and nature. Just walking in green settings gave me greater calm and hope. May you find the strength to confront those fears and you do not have to do this alone.

While hope despite trauma is a feeling of expectation and desire for a particular thing to happen. Being expectant for good things to happen. Despair can steal these positive expectations but replace it with dread, doom, and complete darkness. Sometimes you might need to get medical assistance to lift you out of that dark tunnel you feel you might be slipping through.

Dear friend your life is worth more than you ever know. Trauma and loss refine you into a greater vessel to be a shining light to many and more. This can be the healing balm that leads you to acceptance.

So, keeping despair out of your emotions requires spiritual faith, good people and always being true to yourself.

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