Widowed people soon realize that Elisabeth Kubler Ross was right when she described grief as having phases or steps (that don’t always continue in a straight line). As a society, we do not support widowed people like past societies did. I’m not suggesting that we return to the Victorian era, but think about how the Victorians grieved.
I was reminded of this societal recognition of the widowed when I saw an article about a Victorian funeral exhibit. Widows had a clear and simple dress code. People could estimate the stage of grief by the way the widowed dressed.
A mourning dress is a protection against thoughtless or cruel inquiries. It is also in consonance with the feelings of the one bereaved, to whom brightness and merriment seem almost a mockery of the woe into which they have been plunged.
The first stage lasted a year and a day. During this initial “deep grief” period, the widowed wore all black, from head to toe. During the first three months, her face was shielded. For the next nine months, small bits of color were added to the black garb. Even “mourning jewelry” was permitted in this second phase. Then in the final stage, lasting three months, the widowed were eased back into society.
And I suppose that it is no surprise that widowed men had shorter grieving periods. Their mourning periods lasted only three to six months, compared to the two year period observed by widows, although the full period was for one year. The gender gap has been around for a long time.
While the two years of wearing mourning dress may have sufficed for the Victorians, today it does not have to take five to eight years to be restored after losing a spouse. As I’ve talked about before, I am in training to become a certified Heartbreak to Happiness ® coach. If you are widowed and are having difficulty coping with your loss, please contact me for assistance. Brightness and contentment are possible and are only a telephone call away.
And if you are ready to move into action, join me at Camp Widow West 2016 in the San Diego Marriott Friday & Sat, June 17 & 18th. I will be presenting again this year. My Topics are Investing 101 & Managing Investment Risk Amidst Market Volatility. Look for me while you are there. I would love to meet you.