Last Tuesday my colleague said to me, “My husband is now in Memory Care. I feel like I am grieving.”

As I listened and stayed in the moment with her, she continued, “I can’t believe he’s not home. I get up in the night and tiptoe to the bathroom, so I won’t wake him. Then I remember after 35 years of marriage, he’s not there. I feel like a widow.”

Yes, it’s true. My aching friend is experiencing Anticipatory Grief. She’s feeling the shock of “he’s not there” – very much like a widow.

Can you relate to these same feelings?

Identity Shift

Along with the grief comes the realization that your identity has shifted. The role that identified you as caregiver, loving wife, committed partner is gone. It feels confusing. Others may not understand the void you’ve entered. They want you to “just move on,” fill the void with another role.

And, like my colleague, you’re probably wondering, Who am I now?

Who am I now?

Ask yourself, if all my labels and roles were stripped away, who would I be? Let’s find out.

  • First, grab a pen and paper. With your dominant hand write down all your labels and roles. They could include: loving spouse, caregiver, committed partner, female/male, mother, sister, aunt, grandparent, friend, successful, accomplished…, etc.
  • Then write, Who Am I Now?
  • Next, switch your pen to your non-dominant hand and write the answers that come to you. Don’t censor yourself. Use curiosity, trusting that you truly are aligned with the Infinite Intelligence that created you. Allow answers to flow through you.

Perhaps you’ll write something like: creative, curious, loving, truthful, compassionate, empathetic, intelligent, powerful, and free. There’s no wrong answer.

These are your core qualities; I call them God qualities. They’re the core attributes of who you are. They don’t change with your roles or imposed identities. These characteristics set you apart as an individual – your unique you.

For More Helpful Tips

 Tune in to KKPZ radio program, Aging in Portland.

Mark Turnbull and I explore the question: How’s Your Grief?

Wednesday, February 6th at 5:30 p.m. and

Saturday, February 9th at 11:00 a.m.

Also, if you’re local, I invite you to join a Unique Grief Support Group.

  • Discover how to honor yourself in your grief journey.
  • Get information about grief and helpful coping tips.
  • Experience YINN – Yoga specifically designed to release grief from your body. Taught by Vincent Eggleston, a sought-after Portland yoga teacher. Vincent can relate to those who’ve lost a sibling, grandparent, and other significant relationships.

REPLY in the comments below and I’ll send you the information.


Love all around, above, below, to the left and to the right, before you and behind you,