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How to Handle Grief From Losing Your Husband

by Michelle Blessing

Consider this fact: About 2 million people get married every year. Now consider this fact: Approximately 2.5 million people die each year. This means more people will lose lose a spouse than will get married. Losing your husband is a traumatic life event. The death of your life partner will be accompanied by intense sadness, anger and confusion, even if the death was anticipated. Whether expected or not, the death of your husband can take many years to deal with. Having an adequate support system, as well as taking control of your own life, can help you deal with the difficult time after your loss.

Immediately After Death

The time period immediately following your husband's death is most difficult.

Allow yourself adequate time to grieve. Do not adhere to anyone's grief timetable. Everyone has a different adjustment period. You do not need to feel ashamed about feeling sad, angry, confused or any other feeling for any length of time.

Enlist the help of family and friends. You may feel like taking on the responsibility for your husband's funeral arrangements and other details, but allow others to help with certain tasks. Grieving can be exhausting and you will appreciate the help.

Talk with your husband's doctors or other caretakers. You may find comfort in knowing more about the medical details of his death, particularly if it was sudden and unexpected.

Cry. Yell. Scream. Do what is necessary, but safe, to get your feelings out.

Take care of yourself. It is easy to forget to sleep, eat or shower. Take time to eat a small meal, even if you force yourself, and to get a shower. Talk to your family doctor about medical assistance to sleep if you are unable to get some rest.

Attend your husband's memorial service or funeral. This occasion can start the beginning of finding closure over your husband's death.

After the Funeral or Memorial Service

Finding support can be helpful to moving on.

Join a bereavement or support group for people who have lost a spouse. Listen until you feel comfortable sharing your story. Knowing that other people are experiencing a similar situation and are able to talk about it can provide comfort and support.

Write a letter your spouse. Often, death leaves us feeling cheated because we left something (or many things) unsaid. Have one final "talk" with your spouse in the form of this letter.

Ask a friend to stay with you or stay with family if you are unable to be alone. This could be for a few days or weeks, until you feel comfortable being alone in your home and bed.

Begin your daily routine again. Make your morning coffee, take a walk or read the newspaper. While it may be hard at first, continuing with your daily routine is the first step to moving forward with your life.

Remember the wonderful memories you and your husband created. Look at old photo albums when you feel ready. Watch home movies from your wedding or vacation. You and your spouse created a life worth remembering, and when the time is right, those memories will bring joy rather than sadness.

About the Author

Michelle Blessing has experience in child development, parenting, social relationships and mental health, enhanced by her work as a clinical therapist and parent educator. Blessing's work has appeared in various online publications. She holds a Bachelor of Arts in sociology from Bloomsburg University of Pennsylvania and is pursuing her master's degree in psychology with a specialization in applied behavior analysis.

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