Regaining Balance and Hope (bereaved spouse)

by Janice Beetle

Bug mug BeetleSomehow, I managed to get through 47 years without losing someone I loved through death, so it took me that long to learn that death isn’t just sad. It can unbalance you.

After my husband, Ed Godleski, died only four months after being diagnosed with metastatic lung cancer, I learned that loss makes you question reality.

I was aware of the stages of grief, and I had assumed I would travel through these stages neatly, one by one; but I learned that you cope with each phase over and over again, and sometimes all at once.

In a five-minute span, you can weep incessantly, rage at the world and maybe even cackle at your lack of control. All this before you stop and wonder, “Die Ed actually die?”

Time was the best healer for me, but there were many other aids in my grief process that I highly recommend, such as:

Stability and distraction. My friends and family were crucial after the loss. They wanted to help, and I let them. Let your friends help you. Don’t try to go it alone.

Grieving well. I spent intentional time, sitting and crying, stewing, wallowing in pity, and remembering and honoring Ed. It was good for me.

Therapy and support. I saw a therapist every week for the first year to 18 months after Ed died. She was an excellent guiding force. I also joined a bereavement group sponsored by a local nonprofit about six months after Ed died. (I tried a bereavement group several weeks after Ed died, but it was too soon; I wasn’t able to be articulate.)

Writing. I am a writer by profession, so it was very cathartic for me to put my story down on paper. My goal was to process my own grief and to create something that would give others hope as they traveled through theirs. I ended up with a book I have published. It’s a love story, memoir and a journey of hope. It’s called Divine Renovations: A Carpenter, His Soul Mate and Their Story of Love and Loss.

beetle and husband

It has now been almost four years since Ed passed away, and I am doing very well. I miss Ed every day, but I feel I still have a relationship with him; he is very much a part of my life and always will be.

About the Author: Janice Beetle is a long-time writer and editor in the Pioneer Valley of Massachusetts, where she is the principal of a public relations and communications firm called Beetle Press. Janice has creative writing experience as well as a nose for news. Her areas of expertise are healthcare, education and nonprofits, and she also specializes in helping clients gain visibility through the media. Janice lives in Easthampton, Massachusetts, has two grown daughters and a grandson and loves to run, hike and boat on the Connecticut River. She is at work on her second book, a novel.

You may connect with Janice or purchase her book through these websites:

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