LIFESTYLE Relationships  >  Life After the Death of a Spouse

Life After the Death of a Spouse

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BY KATHY FOUST

Whether you’ve been married for a month, 50 years, or even if you just considered yourself married without all the paperwork, the death of a spouse can be a crushing blow. People are going to talk to you about the stages of death, how your spouse is in a better place, and all the other things that people tend to say when it comes to death, but no one is really going to know your pain in the intimate way that you do. And sometimes you just want answers to the simple questions, like how you’re supposed to just get up and have your coffee every day like nothing has changed.

Use your own timeline. The stages of grief are real, but they aren’t based on any kind of timeline. Grief is a personal thing that each individual experiences in a different way. The anger may last for years or dissipate within days, as with every other stage. Don’t try to rush yourself, or you won’t actually deal with it.

Stop looking for them. Sure you are going to experience some loneliness, but you aren’t going to find that person or same relationship with anyone, and even if you did, do you think they want to be just a replacement? That time has passed. Live your life as you are. When it’s time for you to meet someone, it won’t be a repeat experience. It will be an entirely new adventure.

Change your patterns. You may have relished morning walks with your loved one, but you don’t need to keep to the same pattern if it’s painful for you.  Sometimes just changing one small detail, like the time or place, can make a huge difference for you. This is a new chapter in your life. Write it the way you want to live it.

Let yourself grieve. No matter how nice you are, you’re eventually going to get tired of hearing people tell you that it’s going to be okay. You know life goes on. You don’t need to be told that, but most people just don’t know what else to say. You’re not a child. It’s fine for you to let people know that you appreciate the thought and you realize life goes on, but you are entitled to this grieving time.

Handle your affairs. Some of the ugliest sides of people come out when loved ones die, especially if there is any money involved. Don’t allow relatives and friends overtake your life. If need be, hire a trusted attorney to help you sort out affairs. Do what you think is best, even if no one else does.

This is not the time for loved ones to practice tough love. You need people around you who are going to help you through the grieving process, not people who treat you as a burden to be pushed through the cycle. Surround yourself with people who care for you and who have nothing to gain from your loved one’s estate.

Kathy Foust is a freelance writer exploring the intricacies of life. From the delicate emotions of birth to the grueling agony of death, she seeks to provide helpful insight to those that need it.

 

 

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