Loss of a Spouse

Today I reflect again on the death of my husband, you see today marks the third anniversary of his death. And this year the date falls on Father’s Day which seems particularly sad because not only was he my husband, but he was a father.
I decided to honor his memory today by reflecting back on the great times, the times that I grin with joy about.

Grieving a spouse creates a different complexity to your grief, because of the intimate connection as husband and wife – you feel like apart of you like a limb has been ripped off. Things you shared with the one person who knew you better than anyone is now gone…whom do you now confide?   Who understands me?  And who will tell me everything is going to be OK?  Depending on your age, you might ask, Will I ever find someone else to love?

I’ve worked through these questions and many more, but I admit I shed a few tears today anyway because I miss the man who loved me so.

Here are a few tips from Author, Educator and grief counselor Dr. Alan Wolfelt;

1.  Start each day with a meditation or prayer – because for many widows waking up in the morning is the hardest part of the day because you confront this new day with the realization that your mate has died. When you begin to have the power to start the day with a prayer or meditation or simple affirmation such as “Thank you God for giving me this day, help me to appreciate it and make it count”

2.  Reach out to others for help – this connects you to other people and strengthens the bonds of love that make life seem worth living again.

3.  Always remember your pain is normal, it is in embracing your grief that you will learn to reconcile yourself to it.

4.  When your spouse dies, they live on in us through memory, to heal you need to actively remember your spouse and commemorate the life that was lived.  Remembering the past makes hoping for the future possible.

5.  A large part of your self-identity was formed by the relationship you had with your partner who died, now that you are single your other half is gone. Remember you can and will exist alone, it is just a different reality. You are special and find a new way of developing a new self-identity.

6.  Recognize that your friendships will probably change, the best way for you to respond in the face of faltering friendships is to be proactive and honest, tell friends how you feel and ask for what you need. Pick up the phone and keep in touch even if its you who has to make the first call.

7.  Keep it real with the kids – sometimes your own grief will have to take precedence. If your grief has left you with little energy for the kids, ask you family to step in and help. Remember it takes a village to raise a child!

8.  Be mindful of anniversaries, of the death, life events, birthdays can be especially hard.  These are times you need to plan ahead, take the day off work, visit the cemetery and most importantly reach out to others on these difficult days, talk about your feelings.

9.  Take good care of yourself is nurturing and necessary yet it is most often overlooked.  It may sound trivial but try hard to eat well and get adequate sleep.  Don’t overlook exercise, it is good both physically and mentally.  Now more than ever you need to allow time for you.

10.  Learn something new.  Sometimes mourners get stuck, feeling depressed and the new daily routine can be joyless.  This is the best time to learn something new. Think about one thing you always wanted to do and do it – art class – french lessons – cooking class – travel?  start with one thing and just do it.

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