Are you newly widowed and having a difficult time with the loss of your spouse? Does it seem challenging to participate in your regular daily routine? What you are experiencing is normal and grief recovery does take time. To help understand grief recovery and what you can do to recover, I have interviewed therapist Frieda Ferrick.
Tell me a little bit about yourself.
“In 1980, I was with my father when he died and I knew somehow I would use that experience in my life. In 1990 when I was a counseling intern, I became an intern for hospice for 20 months. I did individual counseling as well as led different groups for grieving folks. I feel a special affinity for grief and loss, because it is so real, so intense and everyone in their lifetime will have some type of loss. In 1994 after I had been licensed for a few months, I started doing groups for hospice again for another 6 years. The loss that is the most raw for people are when they have a child die or lose a loved one to suicide. Currently I have a 3 widows on my caseload.”
What type of impact can a loss of a spouse have on a newly widowed?
“When some one loses a spouse especially after being together for many years, there is a loss of that person and a loss of the life that those two have built together. There can be a period of fuzziness, not really getting the full impact of the loss and just getting through the funeral. At first people will be there for the individual but as they go back to their own life, the grieving spouse is now finally alone with the rest of their life. It can be quite dramatic and very intense.”
What are some things a newly widowed can do to recover from grief?
“It depends on the individual. Some people are very private and after a period of time might do well talking to a counselor or a religious leader, minister, rabbi or priest about their loss. Some do well in a group for widow and widowers. These are the people who understand their loss.”
What type of professional help is available for a newly widowed who is grieving?
“I can only talk about my community as far as resources. In Sonoma County there are two valuable places for the newly widowed. The first one is hospices, which has a bereavement department that facilitates groups. The second one is an agency in town that has groups for grieving widows and widowers.”
What last advice would you like to give to a newly widowed?
“There is no magic answer, take your time, be patient with yourself as you travel through this unknown way of life. Know that you don’t have to do this alone; there are people willing to talk with you about your grieving process. Time is one of the ways that this pain of loss will become less intense.”
Thank you Frieda for the interview. If you would like more information on Frieda Ferrick then check out her website on www.friedaferrick.com.
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