Simonie Levy founded an empowering organization to help others with the grief she struggled with after the death of her young husband.
She came on the blog to share her story and talk about her tools for managing a business with 4 (!!) children, dealing with the dark days, and overcoming her fears to get started.
Grief and I met 9 years ago, when my young husband died, leaving me a widow with 4 young children to raise and changing the course of our lives forever.
I would drive around aimlessly for hours, staring at people going about their daily lives and screaming at them through closed windows: “Do you not understand how different life is?” How could they still be walking their dog or working in their gardens, when life had stopped? On and on I would go, tears flowing freely down my cheeks and my mind would be telling my body to breathe, just breathe, trying to remember it’s simple……in and out.
All the things I had taken for granted, or had never thought about, like eating, became such huge tasks and seemed so daunting. It would have been much easier to curl up under my club duvet and never face the world again: the unattainable grief fantasy.
I would ask myself repeatedly: “Will the darkness enveloping my soul ever see light again or is my world to remain dark forever?”
It was then that my journey with grief and recovery began.
I knew that I had to make myself whole again and face the world and be a supportive, functioning mother who would be able to give her children the best life possible. After much soul searching and many hours in therapy, I was introduced to the Grief Recovery Method.
This method is a step by step program over 8 weeks which gives you the tools to deal with grief and loss. After having read the book, I knew helping myself and helping others deal with their loss was part of my new destiny.
After completing the intense training two years ago, I launched Hope for the Grieving Heart, an organization which teaches people how to live a full and happy life again using this method delivered one on one or in group sessions.
Feeling lonely and isolated is part of the grief journey but after a while I was motivated to reach out to other widows and create a safe space to connect through fun, laughter, tears and sharing. That Wandering Widow, a social club that meets once a month, was born.
Grief did find me, but grief was not going to define the person I was destined to become. I found the courage to share my story and use my grief as a vehicle to helping others learn how to breathe again!
Were you scared starting your new organization?
I was a little nervous to begin my organization, as I was not used to running my own business and without my husband’s guidance, wasn’t sure I could do it.
What tools do you use to combat doubts or fears?
I use a lot of visualization and belief in my own ability to combat any doubts or fears that I may have. I am lucky in that I have a very positive disposition and try as hard as possible not to let the negative influence me.
How did you know for sure that this was the path you were supposed to follow?
I tried to find answers on so many levels as to why my husband had died and after getting no answers, I decided that if I couldn’t find the answer then I needed to find a purpose, and seeing the difference in my life that The Grief Recovery Method made, I knew that helping others was my life’s purpose.
How to you listen in to your inner wisdom?
I have a very strong intuition and usually let that guide me. I often know what will work for me and what won’t. I trust my instincts and seldom go against my inner feelings.
How do you manage the duties of 4 children with a business?
I knew very early on I could not become totally consumed with just raising my children and allowing my life to be defined by my widowhood. I needed to create my own niche in the world and it is important for me to make sure my children learn how to find their purpose in life and act upon it.
I try not to see clients during my children’s time and if I do, they respect what I am doing and don’t demand “mommy time”.
Planning is key. I make sure that I have lists of what needs to be done and follow those. It’s about keeping organized and allowing flexibility in my planning. I’ve learned it’s not the end of the world if things don’t go exactly according to plan. Everyone survives.
My biggest fear always was that I would have to play both parent roles perfectly, but I very soon learned that perfection isn’t reality and that creating a safe, loving environment, and raising self-assured, confident kids was far more important that sticking to schedules.
Where do you go for support and business advice?
I have a close friend and confidante whom I go to for advice and to bounce ideas off of. It is an evolving journey.
What has most surprised you about being in business for yourself?
I was most surprised as to how well I managed everything and how confident I have become in all aspects of my life, including my business. I am not a very figure oriented person, but have learned through trial and error to manage my business successfully. I sometimes think to myself…Wow is this really me living this wonderful life?
What keeps you going through the dark times?
My children keep me going through my dark times. My faith keeps me going. Sometimes it’s not easy and I have days I don’t leave the house.
I have learned it’s ok to have those days and dark days are important in order to enjoy the “light” days. I have so much to be grateful for and I look at all my blessings, including the people that I have been able to help with their grief, and I move on.