Living Through the Loss of a Spouse

All loss is difficult, but losing a spouse can be overwhelming and one of the most painful experiences in life. Your grief is unique. No one knew your spouse in the same way you did. You may feel alone or incomplete, like you’ve lost your best friend or even a part of yourself. You can get through it, but it’s going to take some time.

  • Allow yourself to feel the enormity of this grief without trying to rush through it. There’s no set time for mourning. It is different for every person, and the pain may never completely go away. You may need to find a concrete way to sort out your feelings, perhaps by writing letters to your lost partner or keeping a memory journal.
  • Respect your own limits, and be gentle with yourself. You may have to learn to do things for yourself that your partner used to handle. You may find yourself speaking to your spouse or looking for him or her in public places.
  • Don’t suffer in silence. Everyone needs someone to talk to. You may find it helpful to talk to a caring friend or family member or to join a grief support group. Talk to others who are going through similar experiences, and remember that grief shared is grief lessened.
  • Refrain from making major life changes right away. Right after your spouse dies is not the time to sell your house, move or make any other big decisions. Give yourself some time to think things through.
  • Take your time deciding what to do with your spouse’s belongings. There are different schools of thought on this, but ultimately you should do what you feel is natural. Some people find it helps to give things away immediately, while others are more comfortable giving some time and thought to where the items need to go.
  • Treasure your memories. As you’re learning to let go, don’t be afraid to hold on to some things. Your memories of your spouse are precious, and it’s important for you to find ways to honor them. From the memorial service to the final resting place to the little ways in which you honored your spouse throughout your life, you can create rituals and spaces that reflect the life you shared and cherish the memories you made.

At Chapel of the Chimes Oakland, we care about the families we serve and the community of which we’ve been a part for more than a century. We know that part of working through grief is creating a life-honoring memorial, and we are experts in helping people find ways to celebrate the unique life their loved ones have lived. Stop by to learn about all we have to offer, or call (510) 379-5200 today.

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