1. Dating & Relationships
You can opt-out at any time. Please refer to our privacy policy for contact information.

Discuss in our forum

How To Cope After the Death of Your Spouse


The death of a spouse is one of the most difficult things you will ever have to accept in life.
Difficulty: Hard
Time Required: Varies

Here's How:

  1. Be good to yourself.

  2. Eat right and avoid too much alcohol, drugs, caffeine, sugars or tobacco.

  3. Exercise regularly, but take time to just sit and to breathe deeply.

  4. Maintain a regular schedule and get out of the house now and then.

  5. Cry.

  6. Answer the mail and condolence letters. It's part of the healing process.

  7. Start a personal journal.

  8. Join a support group.

  9. Ask the funeral home for 6-8 copies of the death certificate.

  10. Keep Social Security, bank account and insurance numbers handy.

  11. Set up a file for copies of everything that has to do with the estate, including notes from telephone conversations.

  12. Deal with emptying drawers and closets. Don't let someone else do this for you. It is a necessary part of the grieving process. It may be helpful to have someone with you who is understanding and can share your memories and stories.

  13. Change bank accounts. File insurance claims. Check on mortgage, credit or work-related policies, as well.

  14. Notify Social Security, business associates, employees, organizations, banks, auto registration, credit cards, bond and stock titles, real estate titles and review auto, home and personal insurance needs.

  15. Stay in charge of your own life. Don't let the kids take over.


  1. Avoid hasty decisions ... wait a year before selling the house, moving, or making any major purchases. It is important to let go and move on with your life, but give yourself time.

  2. Allow yourself time to get some of these things done. If it is hard to do, or a decision is difficult to make, then wait. You will know when the time is right.

  3. Don't pay any bills you are unsure of until you verify their authenticity. Hold off on paying medical bills until they are all in.

What You Need

  • Belief in yourself.
  • Time.

©2014 About.com. All rights reserved.