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How to Cope with the Loss of a Spouse or Partner

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The relationship we have with a spouse or partner is unlike any other. That person is who we oftentimes raise a family with, who we spend our mealtimes next to, the one who we cross off bucket list wishes alongside and the one person who knows us the best.

That said, it’s no surprise the loss of a spouse or partner is rated as one of the most distressing events in life.

Between the intense emotions, lifestyle changes and the several decisions that accompany the death of a partner, it’s likely you feel overwhelmed and anxious about your future—and that’s okay.  

When you lose your partner, your entire world is changed—you may be uncertain how you will move on without them. In this post, we walk you through the common feelings surviving partners go through after the loss of their significant other and offer tips on how to move forward with grief.

Common Feelings After a Spouse or Partner Loss

There is no textbook way to feel after losing your partner. You may feel numb, shocked or brokenhearted. You might feel some guilt for being the one who is still alive or a sense of relief that your partner is no longer suffering. There’s a chance you may cry a lot—or not at all. Below are some of the most common feelings you may experience: 

  • Loneliness. You may feel lonely after losing your partner because that was someone you spent most of your time with and shared the most of your life with. Loneliness can strike during everyday tasks like eating dinner alone, or big milestones like anniversaries and birthdays.
  • Shock. Sometimes it’s hard to fully comprehend the loss of a partner, whether their death was sudden or because you hadn’t prepared for this day to come.
  • Guilt. It’s common to feel guilty after the loss of a partner because you may feel like you should’ve gone first or that it wasn’t their time.
  • Regret. Depending on the situation, you may feel regretful if your partner passes and the last time you spoke wasn’t on the best terms. Or perhaps you didn’t get the chance to tell them how much you loved them as often as you’d hoped.
  • Anger. You may feel angry toward them for leaving you in this world alone. Or that anger may be directed at the situation in general.
  • Fear. It’s common to be fearful of what comes next—your spouse may have been all you’ve ever known for the past several years.

 All of these feelings are normal. There is no right or wrong way to mourn and there is certainly no timeline for grieving. As you venture through your journey with grief, use the four tips to help you cope.

1. Find a Support System

If you continue to feel overwhelmed or saddened by the loss of your partner, finding a support system can help. Family and friends can be a great support because they may be grieving your loved one’s loss, too.  

You may find community and support in your partner or spouse’s family, friends and connections. These are the people they likely spent time with, so keeping in touch with them can help keep your loved one’s legacy alive.

It’s important to notice when you begin feeling overwhelming emotions. Instead of turning inward and isolating, consider the support of the people around you. Nurturing our relationships is a key component of coping with grief.

2. Consider Grief Counseling

It may be easier for you to work through your pain and grief with professional counseling or support groups. Talking with a grief counselor or therapist can help people learn to accept a death and, in time, have a new outlook on life.

There are many free support groups across Northeast Ohio dedicated to helping those who are grieving. These groups can be specialized—people who have lost partners, for example—or they can be for anyone learning to manage grief. Click here to find a grief support group near you.

3. Practice Self Care

It’s extremely important to take good care of yourself when grieving. While it can be difficult to do so, keeping your mental, physical and emotional health at the forefront of your self-care routine can be a step in the right direction to making the loss of your loved one less overwhelming.

Make sure you are eating well, exercising, getting enough sleep and getting back to doing things you used to enjoy—like going to the movies, walking or reading. Other forms of self care can include:

  • Traveling
  • Listening to music or podcasts.
  • Reading books.
  • Journaling.
  • Pampering yourself (i.e. getting a massage or facial).

4. Celebrate Their Memory

Although your partner may have passed away, that doesn’t mean they have to disappear from your life completely. There are things you can do to make sure their memory stays alive:

  • Try out their favorite activities.
  • Make a donation to their favorite cause.
  • Create a memorial in their honor.
  • Hold onto something of theirs to remember them by.

 Finding unique ways to memorialize someone you cared for shows others just how much they meant to you and will allow their memory to live on for generations to come.

Find Additional Ways to Cope with Grief

It’s important to remember the grieving process has no set timeline. Whether you’re grieving the loss of a partner or any other close loved one, we encourage you to subscribe to our grief support newsletter to receive the best ways to cope in your inbox each week.

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Jim Busch
Jim Busch
Owner and president of our firm. Fourth generation funeral director and certified crematory operator, Jim is guided by his principles in faith, family and friends. He loves to hear feedback from our families. Proudly serving Busch families since 1986.

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