Coping with the Death of a Spouse
It's not unusual to feel worn out and fatigued when you have lost a loved one. You may find your ability to think clearly and make decisions greatly impaired. You may even find that a low energy level slows you down a bit. Pay attention to what your body and mind are telling you. Get daily rest. Eat balanced meals, and don't feel guilty about lightening your schedule as much as possible.
Take the Time You Need With Your Spouse's Personal Belongings
Only you can decide what needs to be done (and when), with your spouse's clothes and personal belongings. Don't force yourself to go through these things until you are ready. You may not have the energy or desire to do anything with them for quite some time. Some people may try to measure your healing by how quickly they can get you to do something with these belongings. Don't let them make decisions for you. There is no harm in leaving your spouse's belongings right where they are for the time being.
Holidays, Anniversaries and Special Occasions Can Be Very Difficult
You will probably find that some days make you miss your spouse more than others. Days and events that held special meaning for you as a couple, such as your birthday, your spouse's birthday, your wedding anniversary or holidays, may be more difficult to go through by yourself. These events make the absence of a loved one much more noticeable. If you belong to a support group, this would be a good time to have a special friend stay in close contact with you during these naturally difficult days.
Hold Your Memories Close to Your Heart
Memories are one of the best legacies a spouse leaves when they die. Treasure the memories that comfort you, and explore those that may trouble you. Even difficult memories can help us to heal. Share memories with those who listen well and support you. Recognize that your memories may make you laugh or cry. In either case, they are a lasting part of the relationship you had with your spouse. You may also find comfort in finding a way to commemorate your husband or wife's life. It's important to remember that healing doesn't mean forgetting.
Honor and Acknowledge Your Spirituality
If faith is part of your life, express it in ways that seem appropriate to you. Allow yourself to be around people who understand and support your belief system. You may feel angry at God for taking your spouse, this is a very normal part of grieving. Locate someone to talk to who isn't critical of any thoughts and feelings you need to explore.
Grieving and Healing Go Hand in Hand
To restore your capacity to love, you must grieve when your spouse dies. There is no time clock to indicate the completion of your grieving process. We don't actually get over grief; we learn to live with it, just as we choose to go on living. Grieving is a process, not an event. Give yourself time and compassion, just as you would a friend. When you allow yourself to grieve, you are moving toward a renewed sense of meaning and purpose in your life.