1. Patricia, what major loss did you suffer and when did it occur?
I’ve suffered through a few significant life events, but the most recent was the death of my husband eighteen months ago. One Sunday night he went to bed to read, and his heart failed him. We had been together 13 years. I lost my best friend, the president of my fan club, my beagle daddy, and my future as I thought it might be.
2. What thoughts and feelings overwhelmed you or caused you the most stress?
I was most stressed by the feeling of being lost wandering through the fog, insecure about what my life was about, who I was without being a Mrs. I was confused about whether I should stay in Virginia or go back to South Dakota or Minnesota where we had come from.
3. How did you end up in Virginia?
We came here for a job change for me. We moved into our house at the end of December 2013, and he passed away November 2014. We left behind wicked winters and dry prairie and were excited to have the ocean and the mountains of Virginia as our new playground.
4. How has your life changed?
I have come to better understand my own ideas about life and death and to be more compassionate with those who have dealt with losses from any kind of significant life event. I have become more confident about my beliefs and more focused on my priorities. I’ve learned that grief is a gift, a gift of time to take notice of what’s truly important in our lives and a gift of acceptance of ourselves.
5. Which activities have enriched your life and how?
Taking time for myself and taking care of myself have been beneficial. I go on walks, take naps, read, and listen to music. I stay connected to my family and friends who don’t live here, and I have reached out to make new friends here. They let me be the person I am now instead of who I used to be.
6. Based on your personal experience, what advice would you give to the woman who has recently lost her husband?
I would tell that person to be kind to herself, to know that love doesn’t die because he did and that grief is a process, not an event. I would tell her it won’t last forever as it is now. I would also emphasize that she is still here and not to give up on life. I would encourage her to take all the time she needs to feel her feelings rather than bottle them up or try to hide them, but not to let them run her life. She can acknowledge those feelings and honor them, and then take a baby step to move forward.
7. Thank you, Pat, for sharing your journey through grief and for giving hope to the readers. I wish you the best on your new life.
Patrician Duggan’s Bio: Pat works daily to be the best version of herself. She reads, maintains a bucket list, writes, rides a motorcycle, camps, and shares her life with two beagles. She owns her own business, The Duggan Difference LLC, as a way to contribute to her bank account and to the world by developing leaders. Her personal motto is “Help me help myself so that I can help others help themselves.”
Pat’s business website is www.patriciaduggan.com She has a blog on that site and a separate blog related to her life in transformation during the grieving process at www.solowingnow.com
You can find Patricia Duggan on Linkedin and Facebook at: https://www.linkedin.com/in/patriciaduggan1