Tonight I’m sharing a very valuable post found on Band Back Together, a group support site made for sharing stories and getting support. (Check it out, the Band is made up of people who ‘get it’ and are excellent listeners.) Thanks to Jana A. for the original post.
The loss of a partner, spouse or significant other is a painful thing to endure. No matter how long you’ve been together, the loss of a partner elicits many different emotions. You may feel guilty for being the spouse left living. You may feel like you didn’t do enough to keep your partner living, even if there was no chance for healing. You may feel anger for not making him wait a few more minutes to leave for work to avoid an accident. You may feel sadness for not knowing that she was so depressed she took her own life.
No matter how your significant other has died, the grief you feel is real and can be very daunting. There is much to do after this type of loss financially and legally to tidy up his or her estate. If you have children, the distribution of the estate can cause conflict and hurt feelings. This doesn’t make dealing with your lost any easier, and, if anything, causes rifts among the people from whom you need support.
After losing a partner, you may experience:
- Loss of appetite
- Difficulty sleeping
- Shorter attention span
- Fear of the future without him/her
- Depression, anxiety, stress
- The Stages of Grief: Denial, Anger, Bargaining, Depression, Acceptance
- Pressure to date and form a new relationship
- Difficulty making decisions
A few things to remember as you grieve:
- Take care of yourself – rest and eat regular meals.
- Reach out and talk to friends and family.
- Grief support and bereavement groups can aid you in healing from your loss.
- Don’t make major life or financial decisions; you may regret them later when you are thinking more clearly.
- See your doctor and/or therapist for a mental health assessment.
- Discuss the loss with your children and be patient while they are grieving.
- Take your time mourning. Remember you must go through the grief process to get to the other side.
It is normal to feel lonely after losing a partner. You have not only lost a person you love, but also the person with whom you shared your life and hobbies. It will likely be hard for you to imagine how you are going to keep up with the kids, the house, or the bills without your partner. It can take some time to find your footing and remember how to enjoy life again. In the mean time, it helps to get involved in regular activities such as:
- Social groups such as book clubs, hiking groups, or bowling leagues
- Attending classes at the gym
- Adopting and caring for a pet
- Enrolling in an educational course
- Setting up a standing date with a friend for a walk or a meal
It is important to note that if you find that you are plagued with constant feelings of guilt or worthlessness, thoughts of suicide, or have a persistent inability to perform tasks at work or home, you may be experiencing clinical depression. Please contact your physician for an evaluation.
If you are in crisis and/or have thoughts of suicide, there is a national hotline where help is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week: 1-800-273-8255
GriefNet.com offers many support groups for grieving partners.
Legacy.com has support forums for spouses who are grieving.
What to say to a grieving spouse.
Centering.org offers books and literature about grieving.
Caring Connection offers help and information for those who are caring for someone with a terminal illness or grieving a loss.
YoungWidow.org is a site that offers support and forums for young widows and widowers, to “find understanding and validation of their feelings so that they are able to recover their joy for life, reclaim their identities and rebuild their futures.” (taken from their Mission Statement)
Make a Will online – No matter how old you are, you should have a will. Your wishes need to be laid out and your family shouldn’t have to struggle wondering what your plans for your assets would be. Make a will online. They are very inexpensive but are valuable in case of your death.
The Soaring Spirits Loss Foundation offers support to anyone who has suffered the loss of a loved one, with a special emphasis on those who have lost a spouse.