Tips on understanding grief and coping with the loss of a partner.
When we say “Till death do us part”, I don’t think many people take into consideration that death can happen at any time, even a minute after you read this sentence. An eternal goodbye can be right around the corner and it is one of the most heartbreaking experiences a person can go through in this lifetime. Imagine one day being married or in a relationship with the love of your life and the next day he or she is gone with no return, leaving you in a world of drastic change, intense emotional turmoil and loneliness.
It can happen to any of us and although it’s a scary thought, it is a dose of reality which we all have to accept. If your partner has passed away, keep in mind that there is no “right” way to move forward. Every person deals with grief differently because every relationship is unique. There are multiple factors that will contribute to the way you react to the loss of a loved one. How happy were you in the relationship? How many years did you spend together? How did your spouse die? Was it the end of a long period of suffering or a quick occurrence? How dependent were you on your partner? How old are your children ( if any)? There are literally a million questions I can ask which will show that everyone is facing truly incomparable situations. However, healing in grief has some core steps that can benefit everyone and allow clarity to glimmer within your life.
Firstly, you must accept the reality of death. This may take time and make you question life as you know it. You may feel like life is unfair, your faith may get shaken and the sadness can be overbearing, but with time things will improve. It’s unimaginable to think about the life you built with someone and the fact that they are not around to share it with you. However, you need to be strong and imagine what your spouse would want for you. Would he/she want you to be happy and rebuild yourself? Would he/she want you to remember the good times and release the bitterness of loss? If the answer is yes, dig deep and day by day you will see that the good memories will stay with you, beaming positive rays of inspiration to the journey of reimagining your goals and purpose.
Please acknowledge that YOU MATTER and you deserve to experience joy even if your partner has passed on. You do not need to forget the person and you do not need to start a new life excluding memories of him or her. On the flip side, some individuals may get obsessed with staying in the past and only focus on what used to be. Both tactics of completely trying to forget and trying to fixate are not healthy. Balance is key. Seek the help of a therapist or speak to loved ones about what you are feeling. There are various bereavement groups online that also allow you to meet others in similar situations. Know that you are not alone.
After the first few months of your ordeal, if you are uncomfortable going out with friends that are couples, then be frank and tell them how you feel. Grief is not a matter that is openly discussed in society and it is known that many of us don’t know how to address it. Communication can go a long way when compared to placing yourself in uncomfortable situations and making the people that love you and want to support you feel awkward and secluded. Also, pay attention to your health, when the mind is uneasy and the heart is hurting, it takes a toll on the body. Try your best to eat healthily, exercising and observing your sleeping pattern daily. When these aspects are in check, then you can function better as time goes by.
Take things slow, be patient with your heart and the feelings that you may be experiencing. You are only human and your grief is simply a sign that love exists even after loss. You can create a new and beautiful life, filled with happy memories of the past while fostering a new vision for your future. Have faith.