This blog is written by Lee Gale Gruen to help retirees, those soon to retire, baby boomers, and seniors reinvent themselves in this new stage of their lives called retirement. Her blog, public lecture, and new self-help book on senior reinvention are titled: Reinventing Yourself in Your Retirement Years: Find Joy Excitement, and Purpose After You Retire. Her memoir is: Adventures with Dad: A Father and Daughter’s Journey Through a Senior Acting Class. Book descriptions follow her blog below. Both books are available at Amazon.com by clicking here and here. Her website is: LeeGaleGruen.com
Now, on to my blog:
I have a friend who was widowed some years ago. She and her husband had been married for several decades when he died. She felt intense grief after his passing and was depressed for a long time. She couldn’t escape the emptiness in their home with signs of him everywhere: the furniture they bought together; his aftershave lotion on the counter next to the bathroom sink; his slippers in the closet. She could barely function for well over a year.
We are all felled by a close death whether it be a spouse, parent, child, friend, other significant person, or even a pet. Grieving is a necessary first step in the healing process.
My aforementioned friend eventually started to venture out–slowly at first. When she found herself forgetting about her husband briefly while enjoying herself in the company of others, she felt guilty. So, she isolated again for many months.
Victorian era custom had widows dressing in all black “widow’s weeds” for long periods of time, even the rest of their lives, after the demise of their husbands. It was probably due to the influence of Queen Victoria who did so for the forty years she lived after the passing of her husband, Prince Albert, in 1861.
Is that custom life affirming or pathological? Is it a betrayal of a deceased spouse or significant other to want to go on with your life? What about dating? Is it okay to want to partner up again?
There are no rules here, even though some individuals or institutions attempt to impose them. That is only a power grab on their part over vulnerable people gripped by anguish. After the sorrow dissipates, a normal occurrence which may take months or years, humans eventually get tired of self-imposed isolation. It is natural, healthy and imperative to reach out to others; to begin to spread your wings; to craft a positive, joyous life for yourself.
If you are in such a situation, you must consider an important question: Do you want to live? You are not a bad person to choose life no matter which route you take: socializing, dating, remarrying, seeking a job or returning to a career, exploring new pursuits… You can still do so in conjunction with remembering and missing your departed one. The two are not mutually exclusive.
Photo credit: Matt From London on VisualHunt.com
BOOKS BY: LEE GALE GRUEN
Reinventing Yourself in Your Retirement Years: Find Joy, Excitement, and Purpose After You Retire (self-help): Not a one-size-fits-all approach, this self-help book for retirees, those soon to retire, baby boomers, and seniors offers an individualized, detailed guide to assist readers in discovering activities and pursuits in this new stage of their lives called retirement, based on their own likes and comfort level. I learned the secret the hard way transitioning from retired probation officer to actress, author, public speaker, and blogger. Audience members at my lectures on senior reinvention requested a book on the subject. This is the result, and it contains the content of those talks and six years of posts from this blog. CLICK here TO PURCHASE FROM AMAZON.COM.
Adventures with Dad: A Father and Daughter’s Journey Through a Senior Acting Class (memoir): After retiring at age 60 from my 37-year career as a probation officer, I mistakenly enrolled in an acting class for seniors. A few weeks later, my mother died, and I invited my grieving, 85-year-old father to come to class with me. This is the true story of our magical journey attending that class together for three years, bonding more than ever. I wrote the comedy scenes we performed onstage twice a year in the acting class showcases, and all six scenes are included in the book. I eventually transitioned into the world of professional acting. As my fledgling, second career started going uphill, my dad’s health started going downhill. I would recount to him each of my new experiences while I sat beside his bed at the nursing home where he resided in his final years. CLICK here TO PURCHASE FROM AMAZON.COM.
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