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Healing Yourself after the Loss of Your Spouse


Grieving Process

Posted On: Jan 25, 2017

Healing Yourself after the Loss of Your Spouse

Losing a husband or wife is unimaginable. The loss of your best friend, your partner, and your closest support system is more than just devastating. It throws your entire life off balance and out of orbit. Everything is somehow skewed, and it feels like you're missing a limb, like some vital organ is now missing. It's not the type of loss you get over quickly, nor is it entirely predictable. A widow or widower's grief is unique, piercing, and painful. The very idea of standing strong or going on is almost unspeakable. It's hard enough to survive from one minute to the next. You have to give yourself time. Do what you need to do to heal yourself.

Don't Limit Your Mourning

If there was ever a time to mourn, this is it. You've lost your partner, your companion, the person with whom you pledged to spend the rest of your life. You shared a home with your spouse, a family, a past, a present, and the promise of a future, and now it's gone. Most of us cannot even fathom that kind of grief. Just the thought of it is all-consuming. So do not rush yourself. You may have children or other loved ones to care for, but you suffered a tragic loss. Mourn your love.

Allow Yourself to Feel Every Emotion

You're going to feel a lot of things. Most of them will center around grief, which will touch every part of your life. Don't be alarmed, ashamed, or worried if they aren't all positive. You may feel angry at your partner for leaving. If your spouse suffered a terminal illness or a traumatic injury, you might feel relief at her or his passing, and then your relief might make you feel guilty. Those emotions are all normal. So are confusion, fear, lethargy, depression, and resentment. On top of that, always, you will miss your love intensely. You will long for her or his presence and be acutely aware of her or his absence.

Surround Yourself with Support

This is essential. You may want people around you as often as possible, or you may prefer being alone a good deal of the time. How you grieve is personal and unique to you. However, you must have a support system. Parents, children, other family members, friends, a support group—find a person or a group that makes you feel comfortable. You need an outlet.

Don't Rush

Don't rush to empty your spouse's side of the closet. Don't empty the dresser drawers before you're ready, either. Don't box up your spouse's things until you can cope with seeing all those precious possessions. You also need to know your limits. If you need help with those finer details, or if you want someone else to do it for you, that's fine. Just ask.

Talking to other widows and widowers is important. Because losing a spouse is such a unique loss, it's vital to seek comfort and aid from people who know what you're experiencing.