Losing a spouse, or someone you’ve been in a long-term relationship with can be devastating. The grief may vary depending on the condition of the death, like how long you were together, whether they were sick or not, whether the death was sudden or a slow painful one. But one common thing is that it still hurts.
Grief normally has to run a natural course. This will assure a deep and thorough healing. Any artificial recovery will be countered by serious relapses. But, that’s not to say there is nothing you can do to manage your mourning period, which, you should know, you will never just wake up and find gone one day. It may take two years, three years, maybe more.
Here are ten things you can do to make the grieving process more bearable.
1. Know That Grieving Is Part of Your Healing
Although it hurts, you have to know that the pain has to flow if you are to ever get healing. There are several ways you can dodge the whole process: for example, you could get busy, filling your daily schedule with frantic task after frantic task. But this only delays the pain, bottling it up for later. The pain must be acknowledged – you have to go the distance.
2. Respond to the Emotional and Physical change Appropriately
The death of your spouse will harm your emotional landscape and this will definitely take a toll on your physical body. You may find yourself with no appetite, no sleep, fatigued, disinterested in some of life’s everyday activities, and generally not able to perform as highly as you previously could. It’s important to note that this is inevitable. Make room for these changes. Do not overly fight your body’s natural response to the shock of death. Make room for it and watch things revert back to normal slowly.
3. Your Situation Is Unique. Don’t Compare it With Anyone’s
You are the only one who was in the relationship, you are the one who has lost and are now alone. It is possible to compare your grieving process with this person from work, or that other person from your neighbourhood. But your grief if unique. Just because someone quickly jumped into a new relationship after the death of their partner does not mean you should too. Just because someone took to the bottle and seems to have coped with the death better doesn’t mean you should drink as well.
4. Surround Yourself With People You Love, those that Love You
Although the relationship you shared with your late partner was like no other, your other social connections are still important and they may help your grieving. Chances are, you will find yourself isolated from time to time as you grieve. But it’s important to spend time with other loved ones. Talk about your feelings with them, have some light moments about some of your memories with your partner. Slowly, you will find yourself able to remember your spouse and manage to smile.
But, the caveat here is to not become dependent on others to feel whole. This will have the same negative effect as keeping yourself busy to escape your grief, albeit only temporarily.
5. Be Careful With Triggers
You will probably find your emotions stirred by certain things. It’s important to know what these are and manage your interaction with them. It’s not about running from them as that will mean you are not free. You should aim to find your bearings and be able to live your life as normally as possible. However, acknowledging these triggers will help you decide when to subject yourself to them and be prepared.
Some of these triggers include:
- Certain songs that your spouse loved or that meant something to your relationship.
- Certain movies that you mutually enjoyed with your partner.
- Days like your spouse’s birthday, your anniversaries, the holidays.
- And one of the biggest triggers of them all: your spouse’s belongings.
6. Deciding When to Deal With Your Spouse’s Belongings
Going through your spouse’s belongings can be heart-breaking. This time, it’s not just some song you both loved; It’s their clothes, their books, their jewellery; this time it’s physical. This can open wide floodgates of overwhelming emotions. It’s important to take your time with your partner’s belongings. Let them be for a while until you are ready to deal with them.
7. Make Sure You Have Fully Healed Before Getting into a New Relationship
Eventually, you will find yourself ready to date again, ready for a new partner. The problem, however, comes if you rush into this, perhaps as a coping mechanism. Every human longs to love and be loved. So long you wait until the grieving has taken its course, you can have another wholesome relationship.