Question: My Spouse has died. I'm at a loss. What do I do now?
Answer: Edmund Burke stated "The true way to mourn the dead is to take care of the living who belong to them."
Bottom line: You must take care of yourself during this difficult time.
Some realities you need to face:
- Don't try to avoid, deny, or postpone grief. It is a natural part of life.
- Accept your wide assortment of feelings. Feeling sad, angry, fearful, uncertain, frustrated, alone, helpless, disappointed, panic, confused, depressed, guilty, numb, relieved, etc. is to be expected. Hopefully, you will have people around you who will listen to you as you share your feelings, thoughts, fears, and hopes.
- Be aware of the physical impact you may experience after the death of your spouse. Tiredness, shock, extreme lack of energy and motivation, lack of appetite or over eating, and crying are common reactions to grief.
- Take care of yourself by eating healthy foods, drinking water and avoiding alcohol, sleeping regular hours, getting exercise, and finding ways to make yourself smile and laugh.
- If you need help, ask for it. Don't expect friends and family to be mind readers.
- Try to not make major decisions about selling a home, moving, etc. until the first year of being alone is over.
- If you have children, talk to them honestly about the death of their mother. Don't give any impression that she has simply gone away. Be on the look out for changes in their behavior and seek counseling quickly if you sense they aren't handling the grief they feel in a healthy way.
- Some families try to find meaning in the senseless death of a loved one by wanting to do something good for others.
- You could Set up a financial trust to fund a scholarship, pay for medical bills, or help a church or community.
- Donate your deceased beloved's organs so that others may live.
- Work on an environmental or political cause that would have been important to your spouse.
- Plant a memorial garden in a park or at a church.
- Find a way to remember your wife that you are comfortable with.
- You don't have to visit the cemetary if that doesn't bring you peace. Do what is right for you.
- Don't try to set a goal for when you won't be feeling sad. Time tables just don't work when it comes to the grieving process.
- Although it may seem impossible to you now, you will adjust to this monumental change in your life. Just because you are readjusting to life without her, you won't forget your wife.
- There will be many times in the future when something will trigger a memory of her, and feelings of sadness may overwhelm you momentarily. This is normal.