How do I heal after the death of a spouse/ life partner?

Nothing is comparable to the emotional pain and mental duress of losing someone who has been with you for many years. Physical pain may even seem forgiving and more tolerable than the pain you suffer at the death of your spouse or life partner. At times, the pain is so palpable that it manifests in your body like hair loss, high blood pressure, or even a heart attack. When you’re faced with the death of a husband, wife, or life partner, you become overwhelmed by the tragic loss. 

You may even feel very unsure how you will survive the rest of your life without this ever-present and constant human being. You may even question yourself and doubt if you have the energy and desire to keep going. It may take time for you to heal from such a devastating setback. But remember that it would be a huge disservice to your loved one’s memory to give up on life because they’re no longer around. Here are some practical ways that can help you with your healing process.


Don’t stop yourself from mourning

Grieving should not be hindered. Make sure you allow yourself to grieve. Feeling confused after any loss is completely normal. It’s okay to feel like a fish out of water since you have lost one of the most important people in your life. Keep in mind that grief is a healthy way for you to express your thoughts and feelings openly. It is an important part of your healing process. You cannot heal and find a new normal without giving yourself time to mourn your loss. 


Grief is unique so set your own pace

Each person has a unique personality and life circumstance, so it’s understandable that everyone has a different healing process. Grief has no timetable and there are no rules, so make sure that you grieve in a way that feels cathartic. Your experiences are influenced by different situations which include death, other losses, your culture, faith, and your emotional support system. Since you differ from everyone else, you should not compare your healing process with others. Be patient, take it day by day, and grieve at your own pace. 


Express your thoughts and feelings

Expressing your thoughts and feelings is an important part of the healing journey. Even the most introverted personalities must find time to talk about their thoughts and feelings. Finding bereavement support is crucial because bottling pent-up emotions could result in anxiety and depression. You can only start to heal when you share what you feel with others. Talk about your grief, loneliness, and even memories with your deceased partner. If you can do that, you are starting to heal because it means you’re slowly accepting their demise.


Don’t be afraid to feel a mixture of emotions

When you experience the death of a life partner, you will feel an onslaught of emotions. It will affect not only your heart but will affect your mind and spirit as well. You might feel confused, disoriented, scared, guilty, relieved, or angry. Those are some of the emotions you may experience and feel. If you do feel them, you should not be overwhelmed by the emotions or attempt to suppress them. Instead, make sure you allow yourself to learn from the turbulent emotions you’re feeling as processing them will help you with your healing process.


Look for a true support system

Finding your support system is extremely important so you won’t feel alone during these trying times. Go and reach out to the people who genuinely care about you and whom you can talk to about your feelings and thoughts. You can also try to find a support group that shares the same experience as you. Examples are support groups for partners who lost their loved ones to cancer or counseling groups for widowers. Look around your community for caring and supportive people who have fought to find their footing after the loss of a spouse. When finding people to talk to about your grief, avoid those who are judgmental, critical, or those who give unsolicited advice. Choose ones who are willing to listen. Always remember that you have the right to express and share your grief but also the right to not share.


Accept that it will not be an easy process

Grief is not easy and necessitates inner work for you to feel okay. This feeling is so powerful that it can affect every aspect of a person whether emotional, physical, mental, or spiritual. You need to stay attuned and listen to what your body is telling you. Respect these cues so you won’t crash and burn. A good rule of thumb is: how you would treat a good friend of yours during times like this is how you should also treat yourself.


Take your time and do things at the right timing

There are some things you need to do right away such as decide on the final disposition or prepare the funeral program. However, some aspects can wait, like sorting your partner’s clothes or fixing paperwork. You can postpone those things for a bit and do them when you’re ready. What’s important to remember is that you must not feel pressured into making decisions. 


Celebrate and commemorate your memories

It will help you a lot to be with a good friend or a very close family member on special days that you and your partner celebrated before. Examples of these are wedding anniversaries, birthdays, death anniversaries, etc. You will especially miss your life partner during those days so it’s important to be with someone who can support you. If you want, you can share your memories with friends and family members. Make sure you continue to commemorate and honor the life both you and your spouse shared by cherishing the memories you have together.