Elephant widowerRemember the old joke
“How do you eat an elephant?”
“One bite at a time.”
Consider grief/mourning like your elephant.

One thing you can’t deny is the presence of an
Elephant. When it stands next to you,
It’s there! “Shoo” won’t make it go away.
It has to be eaten.

You can only eat a bite at a time.
Digestion will depend on your system’s ability
To absorb, and that may depend on
Your stage of grieving.

It would make sense, then, to make your elephant
As small as you can in the beginning.
Get help!
Consider asking your friends, recently widowed,
To have an elephant eating party.

You need help!
You can try to run from your elephant
But the heavy footsteps you will hear
Are your elephant’s…jogging along behind you.

What should your thought process be during your feast?
Future plans!
But seeking a new life won’t be easy!

Hell, in the early stages of your grief
You can’t even think intelligently of what you want.
That damn elephant is too big.

During my first months of grieving I reached out.
When I analyzed my actions I found
I was trying to maintain a status quo.
I was trying to find someone like Hazel
So life would go on as usual. Won’t work!

Don’t beat up on yourself.
You have enough problems without adding
An additional unneeded kick to yourself.
Think good things about yourself.
Our Boy Scout motto was “Be Prepared.”
I wasn’t.

I want to get rid of my elephant now.
But it can’t be blown away. It has to be
Eaten and digested.
The balance sheet is heavy on the debit side right now.
But it will balance it out.

My anchor, keeper, lover, sex partner,
Rudder, friend is gone.
I am alone.
There is a void!

I must build new memories to replace the old.
The old memories, as sweet as they are
Are part of the elephant!

I try to avoid self-pity.
Identifying self-pity can be tough.
Your old friends may think you are wallowing in it.
But only you can distinguish your grieving from

Count your blessings. Very important.
You’ve got a lot. List them.
Are you healthy? Happy? Do you have a good family?
Are you reaching out to new friends for help?

Here’s a strange question regarding blessings.
Has your spouse’s death changed your life
For the better in any way?
If your spouse had cancer or any other long term illness,
Death may have been a welcome relief from the pain.

Following the death you were released from the
Day-to-day care you were giving.
The worry you carried.
The knowing there was no hope
Yet you kept on caring and giving.
In a way, the death, was a blessing.
Don’t feel guilty considering this blessing!

Make a new life.
How fast you are able to get a new life is up to you.
Some do it sooner than others,
But the opportunity is there.
It may not look easy right now. But the opportunity is there.
As you reach out you will make mistakes.
I did. They hurt.

Treat a mistake like a “learning.”
You could fall in love a few times.
Don’t commit until some time has passed!
Let any relationship develop slowly

You will be chewing on your elephant for a while.
But it will get smaller. Keep chewing.
It won’t walk away from you.
But, you won’t have to eat the bones.
You’ll be happy by then.


George Weir, June 1992

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