Elizabeth Postle shares her years of experience in coping with the loss of a husband or wife or the loss of your life’s partner. After a 45 year career in nursing helping the bereaved, Elizabeth lost her own husband, and coped by following her own advice.
People who have lost loved ones after many years of marriage or shared lives find it very difficult to cope. It’s like losing a limb or a whole way of life. They have also lost the warmth of physical intimacy. Many people feel that they have lost their identity or their purpose in life. You may have spent many years committed to providing for or caring for your husband, wife or partner and possibly their family.
There may be many worries, how will I cope, mentally, physically, financially? Will I have to move? These are just some of the challenges you may have to face and which I will help you with in the pages of my site.
But say to yourself “I am fine, I can cope, it is my time now”.
You are learning to cope without your loved one, this is an essential task for you. No-one else can do it for you. Yes, you must ask for support from friends and families during difficult periods, but in the end it’s all up to you.
Don’t worry if tears are not far away, or you feel as if you are on autopilot most of the time. It will all help you get through the loss and pain. It will get easier. And you are not going to forget your loved one. Read about the effects of shock here.
Remember you are still important. You may have lived quite happily for 20 years or more before meeting your partner. That person is still you. The fact that you might have chosen to spend a lot of your life feeding, clothing and financing the family means you should be very proud and now able to spoil yourself. Do all the things you put off doing for the families needs. Go back to some of your early dreams and fulfill them. There are many mature university students who are back getting the degree they missed in their early years.
What were your dreams?
There will be setbacks, there will be many challenges. You can cope, you can be positive. Give yourself permission to laugh with friends and enjoy a night out at the movies. It’s your time now. Make the most of it. Enjoy your children and grandchildren.
When friends ask how are you, say “Fine thanks”. It’s good for you, as
after a while you believe it too. It’s no use pouring out your troubles
to everyone you meet. They have their own problems too. Eventually
people will start to avoid you, stop talking to you if you are miserable
all the time. My father always used to say “no-one wants to know you
if you’re miserable!”. Keep your in-depth concerns and worries for
your chosen special people who have empathy or for your counseling
sessions. Try to be positive as much as possible. Remember, a smile
and “I’m fine thanks” is all it takes. The power of positive thinking
will surprise you. Try it!
If you do find it impossible, don’t feel bad about it, you may need help. Go and see your doctor or a professional counselor. I have written some advice about how to find some grief support.
Companion Through the Darkness by Stephanie Ericsson is one of the best books we have found for those who have lost a spouse. Stephanie has a wonderfully uplifting way with words. Read more about her book and others that we recommend here.
A good friend, who had a long career and was also a wife, mother and
grandmother lost her beloved husband after many years of happy marriage.
She mourned, she grieved, she cried. But after a while, she said,
“This is now my time to do what I like when I like.” After being at the
beck and call of family all her life, this was her special time and she
intended to enjoy it.
For lots more help and comfort if you are dealing with the loss of your husband, wife or life's partner, click on one of the following links:
Coping with Change from Coupledom to Single Status - our guest writer Wendy shares her experiences after her husband died.Grief and Sympathy Home page
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