Independent Living

9/24/2021 | By Seniors Guide Staff

Coping with the loss of a spouse is a severe life change. Losing a spouse unexpectedly or expectedly is traumatic in every aspect of daily life – but, fortunately, there are ways to get through it. Though it may seem like it at first, finding happiness after the death of a spouse, in fact, is not impossible.

Losing a loved one can be devastating for those left behind, but the surviving spouse most keenly feels it. Whether the death is sudden or expected, it requires a huge lifestyle adjustment that some experts claim can take three years or more to accept.

Your spouse was a part of your daily life, and losing them is usually felt instantly and longer. Suddenly, you go from being married to being alone and grieving. No matter how long you were together, you made plans and chose to spend your entire life with this person. You loved their humor, kindness, or strength, and now you are facing a future without them.

Although it might not seem possible right now, your grief will subside, and you will eventually carve out a new life for yourself. Here are some suggestions to help in coping with the loss of a spouse.

Allow yourself to mourn

Your partner has died, leaving you alone and confused. Grieving is a way of expressing your feelings, and it is an essential part of healing. Remember that your grief is unique, influenced by factors such as the circumstances surrounding the death, your faith, any losses you experienced in the past, and your support system. Other aspects include how long and happy your marriage was, how old your children are, and how dependent you were on your partner.

How you feel and grieve is also uniquely yours. You might feel shocked and brokenhearted. You may experience survivor’s guilt or be comforted that your partner is no longer suffering. You could even feel anger because your spouse left you.

There are no right or wrong feelings with grief.

Take care of your physical health

Of course, grief is emotionally draining, but it can also take a heavy toll on your body. Many people lose their appetite and have trouble sleeping. Try to take care of yourself by eating well, exercising, and getting enough sleep. Turning to alcohol to drown your sorrows is a mistake since excessive drinking can worsen your pain.

Return to the activities you enjoy, like reading, walking, movies, or your favorite hobby. If friends or loved ones offer you companionship, take them up on it. It can help you and them to heal.

Grief counseling can help

Some grieving people work through their sorrow with the help of counseling. Healing often starts when you share your pain with someone else. Regular talk therapy sessions with a professional counselor or therapist often help people accept a spouse’s death and eventually begin a new life.

Support groups are also available for grieving people to help one another. The groups can be specialized for those who have lost spouses or set up for anyone learning to manage grief. Religious groups, hospitals, nursing homes, funeral homes, and doctors can refer you to a local support group.

Seniors often face unique challenges when coping with the loss of a spouse

The death of a spouse could require a change in your living situation. While you should not make any major decisions during the early months of grief, the loss of a spouse could eventually result in the end of independent living.

Perhaps you have physical limitations and depended on your spouse’s support. The shift from independence could give you another reason to grieve. If you are in this situation, find someone to talk to who has had a similar experience. If you are moving to an assisted living community, peers and professionals will help you work through this period of adjustment.

Suggestions for coping with your loss

Coming to terms with the loss of a loved one can be a lengthy process. Be patient with yourself, and don’t hurry through your grieving period. Talk about your loss with friends, family, or a professional, and accept your feelings as they appear. Spending time with people who care makes grieving much easier to endure.

Related: When to Start Dating Again as a Widow or Widower

Seniors Guide Staff

Seniors Guide has been addressing traditional topics and upcoming trends in the senior living industry since 1999. We strive to educate seniors and their loved ones in an approachable manner, and aim to provide them with the right information to make the best decisions possible.

Seniors Guide Staff