The passing of a spouse can be a trying time for even the strongest of people. Even if your spouse was sick for a long time, their death can trigger many emotions and be difficult to deal with.
Here are a few suggestions on how you can help yourself cope with the loss of a spouse. We hope these ideas help you develop a way of grieving that’s right for you. Remember, there is no right or wrong way to grieve. Everyone navigates difficult times in their own way.
Give Yourself Permission to Grieve
Often as the surviving spouse you must make decisions when your spouse passes. You may find yourself entertaining visitors who are seeking to comfort you during your loss. These stressors can override your ability to grieve effectively.
Sometimes you must consciously give yourself permission to grieve. Try not to give in to the temptation to keep yourself unnecessarily busy to avoid dealing with your emotions. Allowing yourself to breakdown and experience your emotions will help you begin the healing process.
Practice Effective Self-Care
The loss of your spouse can cause you to put everything else on hold, including the way you take care of yourself. Eventually this will catch up with you and your ability to get past their death.
Spending a few minutes each day on your own care can strengthen your outlook and give you the energy you need to deal with this adjustment period.
Make sure to:
- Eat something every day.
- Recognize that sleeping may be difficult, and you may need to rest at different times.
- Exercise daily, even if it is just a walk around the block.
- Engage in conversation with a trusted friend or family member.
These little things can keep you from withdrawing and neglecting your own health. The healthier and stronger you are, the easier it will be to move on in the grieving process.
Delay Big Decisions
When we lose a spouse there can be an urge to make big decisions. It is best to avoid this until you are on a firm emotional foundation. Many surviving spouses pressure themselves to make these potentially life changing decisions just to “get them over with.”
Before doing anything, talk with a friend or family member to force yourself to go through the decision making process out loud. Simply hearing yourself and your reasoning may let you know that you are not thinking as clearly as you’d like.
There will be time to make these decisions, and you do not have to decide immediately to:
- Sell your home
- Change jobs
- Move to a different city
- Decide what to do with your spouse’s belongings
Do not let yourself be pushed into making decisions you’re not comfortable with or ready for.
Don’t Be Afraid to Ask for Help
You may feel more alone than you’ve ever felt before. That is to be expected. If you feel like your emotions are getting the best of you and that you’re stuck, it’s okay to ask for help.
Grief counseling is something that helps many people. It is not a sign of weakness to seek help. There are therapists who specialize in grief counseling. Sometimes a few visits are all it takes to help people move on to the next step in the grieving process.
If you’re not sure where to turn for help, you can ask a hospice worker for support, they are trained in this area and can be a tremendous resource. Also, many people find comfort in talking to their minister, pastor, or church leader.
At Heritage Cremation, we are always available to answer any questions you may have and support you in any way we can. Do not hesitate to reach out.