by Peggy Sweeney
The Sweeney Alliance
When my dad died suddenly in 1975, my mother, Marguerite Sweeney, was a young 54 years old. Dad and mom had one of those marriages made in heaven. They enjoyed life and being with one another. They were great parents as well.
After dad’s funeral, my mom was lost. I saw her change overnight from a vibrant, energetic, outgoing person into a recluse. She didn’t want to do anything, go anywhere, or interact with her many friends. When she came to my house to spend time with her six month old granddaughter, she cried almost constantly. A terrific cook, she now nibbled her food. She stopped participating in all the fun activities she enjoyed. My efforts to make her feel better failed. I was at a loss as to what to do to heal the pain she was going through. I thought she would never be the mother I once knew.
Most men and women, after a spouse has died, go through change. It is inevitable. Their once normal life has been turned upside down. They wonder if they will ever be happy again. If they are a young mom or dad, they are now faced with raising children alone. If they are in their sixties or older, they miss the comfort of having a companion who shares their day-to-day life and the joys of retirement. Family and friends who have not had the same experience of losing a spouse don’t understand the struggles they face daily. Even in the company of others, they are alone in their grief.
Comfort and Conversation is a monthly support group for bereaved spouses and partners. It is a place where help is available from men and women who understand. Some of our discussions have focused on making the right decisions, eating alone, attending church alone, vacationing, interacting with couples as a single person, and coping in general without a spouse. You’ll find, too, that they also laugh and cry and share funny stories of days gone by with their husband or wife.
If your husband, wife, or domestic partner has died, I’d like to personally invite you to attend our next Comfort and Conversation meeting. We meet the SECOND Thursday evening of every month at 6:00 PM at the Ambulatory Care Center (620 Cully Drive), in Kerrville, TX. Have questions or need directions? Feel free to call me at (830) 377-7389 or send an EMAIL You will be welcomed with open arms and a big HUG.
By the way, my mom did get better and did a great job in reinvesting in life and living. She never remarried. She said she’d never find a man like my dad. She was probably right. But she did have a great life. Some of you may even have known her. She moved to Kerrville in 1977, lived at Tierra Linda, and was very active around town. She always had a smile on her face, loved to entertain, and spent time every day doing her counted cross stitch. She would have loved Comfort and Conversation too!
About the Author: Peggy Sweeney is a bereavement educator and the president of the Sweeney Alliance. She has developed and taught countless workshops for coping with grief and trauma, including How to Understand Grief Seminars (HUGS) and the Grieving Behind the Badge program for emergency response professionals. She has reached out to her community through Halo of Love, a support group for bereaved parents, and Comfort and Conversation for bereaved spouses/partners. She has written numerous award-winning articles and is the editor of the Journeys Through Grief Newsletters. Peggy is currently a member of the Comfort (TX) Volunteer Fire Department and a former mortician and EMT-B. You may contact Peggy through her EMAIL.