How do you rebuild a life when you experience the death of a spouse – speaking for everyone, any loss that would be least of all excruciating? You first have to remember that you’re alive and are expected to continue with a life.
The suggestion often heard is that anticipating the event makes it “easier.” That’s not true. It is true that when it’s unexpected, it’s gut-wrenching, sucking all the air from your breath and the only sound manageable are cries to whomever you pray to for answers.
Often you get advice from others who haven’t experienced a loss of this magnitude. There are claims you will get through this; time heals; eventually, you’ll forget.
Fortunately, you never forget the people you lose. They stay forever in your memories and your heart regardless of how much time passed, almost as if they were just here.
Time does not heal the heart that was broken from this sort of magnificent loss. Such an impact changes who you are forever. It would help if you learned how to cope as a new person in a world that’s different for you now.
You might ultimately move forward with your life in a much different capacity. Let’s look at a few steps that can help navigate the grief stages.
Restart your life after the death of your partner
Rebuilding a life after the death of a spouse or any loss of exceptional magnitude will seem impossible in the moments, days, or even weeks following the loss. While time can’t cure the ill, it does dull the searing agony and wears the emotions down to where they become less acute.
With this grief, the ultimate acceptance is learning to embrace what will be a new degree of “normalcy.”
There is no healthy alternative except to find a way to progress forward on some path. It doesn’t have to resemble the old. You might need to move, change jobs, or alter things about yourself in order to start again.
That’s coping, and that’s the way to begin to rebuild. What are some steps to get you to this stage? Let’s learn together.
Emotions need to be felt
Some people attempt to be strong and control their feelings when they experience a loss. That’s highly unhealthy and can lead to mental unwellness, poor judgment calls when coping, general health concerns, and eventual worsening of the pain and upset.
It’s vital to face the pain and sadness, the hurt, and deal with it entirely. Feel the feelings and react in any way your body, mind, or spirit needs to release, whether it be crying, shouting, or talking for countless hours to a support system or even a counselor.
You will start to feel relief from some of the intense emotions and be able to think about what you need to do to take care of yourself moving forward. You won’t be ready to make drastic moves, but the thought process will begin.
Let people know they need to back off
Centuries ago, when people would lose the ones they loved, the family would dress in an entire wardrobe of black. That would include a black veil for the women who lost their husbands.
They would remain in this attire often for months at a time. The idea behind this concept was to let the people around them know that they were mourning an incredible loss and they needed to be given some space, so to speak.
People today don’t necessarily dress the part when losing someone. Still, the concept of being given a degree of latitude for however long the person feels it necessary should still hold true even in our modern world.
Unfortunately, the times, as they are, have grown so – I’m not sure of the word here, “corporate” perhaps “cold.” Leaders don’t even want to provide adequate bereavement leave when someone loses a mate.
The idea is that you “pick yourself up by your bootstraps and carry on with your day.” We must take a lesson of humanity from the “times of old.”
Self-care will include other people and a medical provider
Self-soothing will be the call of the day in the very early stages to the point that you’ll likely want to wallow in bed for the first few days, maybe a week, or try for even longer if you can get away with it.
The suggestion is not to allow it to go on for a significant period of time. Isolation is exceptionally unhealthy when experiencing sadness and pain. It’s critical to let people in, especially supportive friends, spiritual leaders, perhaps a counselor, and most certainly a medical provider.
The doctor will make sure that you’re taking adequate care of yourself. Instead of indulging in too much wine or other substances, the provider will ensure you’re attempting daily fitness, wholesome nutrition, and mental wellness behaviors like journaling.
A priority is ensuring you rest peacefully for a full night’s slumber with a regimented bedtime and time to rise.
It’s okay to take the time you need and grieve in your own personal way
You might find that time will not heal the loss for you. You will miss your spouse until the end of time, and that bit of hurt and pain will always sting at your heart, leaving an empty space where the individual used to fill.
No one can tell you that you need to move on or that you should be attempting to find someone who can fill that void for you.
When you lose someone, no one will ever take that place nor fill the empty spot they left. Another person will enhance a life and add a different layer to your life, but it will be an addition, not a replacement or covering over what was. It just doesn’t work that way.
Further, if you break into tears anytime your significant other’s name is mentioned or perhaps when you speak of them, that doesn’t mean you’re not handling it well or grieving too long.
Don’t let people tell you how you should be grieving or where you should be in your “cycle.” Everyone handles loss in their own way. Some people will cry until the end of time when thinking of the one they loved.
The memories bring that reaction. It doesn’t make you defunct. It just means you love and won’t be stopping.
Numbing the feelings with positive distractions
Sometimes people find it necessary to numb the pain because it’s too raw and “red-hot” for them to bear. That can often lead to substance abuse with either alcohol or prescription medication abuses from drugs doctors give to actually help with the grief.
If you find that you have any notions toward this thought process, it’s essential to reach out to your medical provider. The professional can help you get referred to a mental health practitioner.
That expert can provide adequate coping tools and put you into a support group where you can speak with others in a similar situation. Communicating with others going through the same grief process can be eye-opening and genuinely beneficial.
Further, the mental health provider will encourage that you also look for distractions, including the possibility of taking classes that will inspire you spiritually, mindfully, like meditation, yoga, or anything meant to keep you in the present moment and offer a sense of calm and relaxation.
An ideal way to approach classes is with a member of the support classes. You can develop a connection or a bond leading to a friendship that will be the beginnings of rebuilding a life that doesn’t involve anything from the life you shared with your spouse, a fresh start.
Rebuilding a life after losing a spouse is much easier said than done. A magnificent loss leaves a mark that most people will carry with them until the end of time. It’s not something that will heal.
In fact, it’s simply something you eventually grow to accept that it will be a part of you that you now need to live with. It’s a matter of finding a way to do so that is healthiest for you mentally, physically, and spiritually.
A death of this sort impacts a life so much so that it changes who you are and what you’re about. People will try to tell you that you need to move on and let it go.
They will advise you to find someone to fill your empty space so you can let go. These people haven’t experienced a substantial loss of someone beloved, and hopefully, they won’t any time soon.
When they do, they’ll recognize no one will fill that void where the love of your life sits. That’s solely for them. While another person might come along, they will create a different space and add a separate component to a new life you’ve managed to build, bit by bit, because the old life died with your mate. There was nothing to rebuild.