Marriage is for life.
'Til death do us part means just that — two people taking a vow to support each other until the end.
Of course, death is inevitable.
But it’s not something you normally think about. How are you supposed to prepare for something like that?
Dealing with the early loss of husband or wife is no easy task. Luckily, there are resources available to help you. Read on to explore those options and learn how you can manage.
Preparing for the Early Loss of a Husband or Wife
For the most part, it is not possible to be completely prepared for the loss of husband or wife. You can know what is coming, but still have no idea how it will affect you.
That being said, there are certain things you can do to plan for this incredibly painful time.
Have the Talk
You certainly won’t feel “lucky” that you are facing the impending death of your partner. However, the fact that you know beforehand about the death means that you have the chance to set the record straight.
Talk about your feelings with your spouse. Resolve whatever issues you feel need to be resolved. Come to terms with arguments and major life events that have affected your relationship.
Spend Time with Your Spouse
Say the things you appreciate about your spouse. Make them feel as loved as possible during their final months. Go to their favorite places. Prepare their favorite food. Share memories, laughter and love during the time you have left.
Have a Support System in Place
Reach out to family and friends, letting them know what’s going on. Tell your boss you’ll need time off, and don’t be afraid to explain why.
Send out feelers, maybe joining a support group beforehand. Oftentimes you can find solace in other people who are going through the same thing.
Take care of yourself both physically and mentally. Having a strong body is paramount to having a strong spirit.
Prepare Legal Documentation
Although it’s incredibly painful to do so, line up the paperwork.
Preparing legal documentation beforehand is much easier than trying to prepare it after the death, when the pain is fresh. You won’t want to be bothered with it then.
Mourning the Loss of a Husband or Wife
When your spouse dies, you will feel that loss more deeply than you ever could have imagined.
The death will resonate inside you, filling up every corner of your being with raw, unadulterated emotion.
Mourning your spouse is the system through which you process this emotion. It’s perfectly healthy and normal to grieve. There is no set period of time which you have to “get over it”.
You’ll never get over it.
And that’s ok.
However, mourning your spouse is an important thing to do. There are certain goals that mourning accomplishes, which help you work your way through the process of grief.
William Wordon came up with four “tasks” of mourning which may help you in the process:
- Acceptance: Accepting the death of a spouse is counterintuitive to everything about marriage and life, especially if the death has come particularly early. Acceptance comes at different times and stages. It doesn’t mean your grief stops. It only means that you come to terms with it.
- Experience: Experiencing your own pain isn’t something you want to do. Many people find themselves pushing their sadness aside. It’s imperative that you allow yourself to feel it.
- Adjusting: Adjusting to life without your spouse is done little by little, day by day. It does not come easily or naturally. It comes only with time.
- Moving on: This doesn’t mean letting go of your memories. It simply means allowing yourself to feel emotions other than sadness and pain. Laughing again and spending time with friends are both parts of moving on.
Moving on from the Loss of a Husband or Wife
It can be incredibly difficult to move on from the loss of husband or wife.
What even is moving on?
The action can perhaps be best characterized as pouring energy into living relationships as opposed to the one with the deceased.
That isn’t to say that the deceased should no longer have a part in your life. You will always remember them, and a part of your heart will always be devoted to them.
But the death doesn’t mean your life stops as well. You don’t have to date right away, but make sure you aren’t isolating yourself. Don’t put pressure on yourself to move on too quickly, but allow it to happen naturally.
Dealing with the Loss of a Husband or Wife
There is only one way to truly deal with the loss of husband or wife: by loving yourself.
Take time for yourself. Recognize your own strength. Eventually, you will be able to move on. Remember, your life isn’t over.