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How to Survive After the Death of Your Wife

by Becky Swain

The death of your wife is an emotionally shattering event because it instantly changes every aspect of your current life, as well as your plans for your future life, reports Mental Health America in the article, “Coping With Bereavement.” You can survive the devastating loss of your wife by understanding that everyone grieves differently, and by taking steps to process your sorrow and grief.

Myriad of Emotions

Grieving for your wife requires acknowledging the painful feelings and giving yourself adequate time to process those feelings, according to Helen Fitzgerald, writing for American Hospice in the article, “Helping Yourself Through Grief.” Your emotions and moods may frequently shift, and vary in duration and intensity. It’s okay to experience anger, tears, laughter, guilt, despair and disbelief in response to your loss, and how you process these emotions, and how long it takes you to process them, is an individualized event. Spending time with family and friends, or speaking with a trained therapist, may help you work through some of your emotions and fears as you grieve, and it is important to continue to take care of yourself, too.

How Did She Do This?

It’s common for married couples to divide the household chores, car maintenance, paying bills, grocery shopping and cooking. It’s okay to initially feel overwhelmed by the new responsibility of handling the duties that your wife performed. The National Institute on Aging reports that learning to master new tasks such as balancing the check book or doing the laundry may seem daunting at first, but you can do it. Take it slowly, one chore at a time, and ask for help from family and friends if you need it.

Plan for Triggers

Plan ahead of time how you wish to recognize and celebrate special events like your wife’s birthday, your wedding anniversary and other holidays. Expect these milestones to be painfully challenging for you, perhaps for years, so don’t attempt to ignore them. The website Helpguide.org refers to these occasions as “grief triggers,” that may renew many precious memories and emotions. Consider spending these special days with family members and friends who loved your wife, and openly discuss your preferences for celebrating her memory.

Pack Your Bags

Whether you and your wife were married for many years or several, the experience of being alone, and doing things on your own, can be disconcerting. Take steps to explore and plan activities. It’s okay if you enjoy some activities on your own, and invite friends or family to join you for others. For example, you may enjoy planning a vacation trip on your own, or you may rather invite a friend to join you in taking a class at a local college. Remember to give yourself time to grieve before making any major life changes, however, because you need time to adjust to your life as it is now.

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