Losing a spouse can be devastating, whether it is a sudden death or a long-term illness. One day you got married; the next day you were single, lonely, and sad. Between the strong emotions that accompany the death of your spouse, lifestyle changes, and many practical considerations, you may feel overwhelmed and anxious about your future.
Over time, the sadness may subside and you will build a new life for yourself. In the meantime, here are some tips to help you cope.
After losing a spouse, there is no right feeling. Many variables affect your response, including how long your marriage lasts and how happy you are, how your spouse died, how old your children (if any) are, and how dependent you are on each other.
You may feel numb, shocked, heartbroken, or anxious. You may feel guilty because you are still alive or because your spouse is no longer suffering. You may even be angry because your spouse left you. You may cry a lot, or you may not. Your way of grief is unique to you.
Be prepared for friends and family who may not know what to say, avoid you, or try to use clichés (such as “he is in a better place”) to comfort your friends and family. Generally, well-meaning people are uncomfortable talking about death, but that doesn’t mean they don’t care.
If you can, tell people around you what you need (or don’t need). For example, if people avoid mentioning your spouse and you actually want to talk about them, please let them know. Remember, your friends and family are also sad, and you may find it comforting to share memories of your spouse.
Take care of your health
Grief can hurt your body and emotions. You may have no appetite or have trouble falling asleep. Easier said than done, but try to take care of yourself through a good diet, exercise and adequate sleep. Try to avoid excessive drinking to drown out your grief, as this will actually exacerbate your pain.
A study found that the risk of death for surviving spouses increased, especially during the first three months of bereavement.It is very important to take care of your health in the months after your loss.
If you encounter problems in daily activities, such as dressing or cooking your own meals, be sure to let your healthcare provider know.
Coping with the sequelae of loss is often extremely lonely and confused, and it is not uncommon to feel depressed. Losing a spouse is also associated with an increased risk of many different mental illnesses.
Studies have shown that lack of social support after accidental loss is a key predictor of depression.Therefore, it is very important to seek help from other people in your life. You may tend to be introverted, but if you seek support from family, friends, your religious group (if you have one), or counselor, you may have a better life.
Joining a support group with other sad people can also be very comforting. Your healthcare provider, therapist, or local hospital can usually provide information about targeting such groups. Many bereavement groups can also be accessed online.
Adjust your social life
The social life of singles can be complicated. If you and your spouse often associate with other couples, you may not know how to adapt now. You may feel embarrassed when attending parties and other events alone. Tell your friends how you feel and explain that you may need to avoid “couple” dinners and gatherings for a while, and instead meet with friends one-on-one.
However, being single can also provide a good opportunity to find new friends. Consider participating in volunteer activities or classes to motivate you to get out of the house and pursue meaningful things.
Seek help for complex grief
Losing a spouse will change your life, and deep grief is a normal response. But sometimes, sadness is so deep that it interferes with your ability to continue your own life. This is called “complex grief” and it affects approximately 7% of people who have lost a loved one. Signs include:
- It feels like you have no goal
- Difficulty in daily activities
- Experience constant guilt or blame yourself for the death of a loved one
- Also hope you are dead
- Lost the desire to socialize
If you cannot overcome these feelings, please consult your doctor or therapist, who can recommend treatment options.
Very good sentence
It is very difficult to lose a spouse. Grief takes time, and everyone is different. However, you can create a new and fulfilling life for yourself while still cherishing the memories of your relationships and loved ones.